Saturday, January 30, 2016

Birdie - 5 months

Wasn't I just writing Birdie's 4 month post yesterday? January flew by and my baby is 5 months old now. And those teeth still haven't popped through! Her gums are swollen and bulging and I can see 2 little teeth just ready to make their entrance. Hopefully then she'll start sleeping better again. 

Despite not feeling so well this past month, Birdie is still super smiley and generally pretty content. She sucks on her hands like crazy and I've had to put bibs on her to keep her clothes from getting soaked. I've had to change her clothes multiple times in one day because she was soaking wet from drool! 

Happy 5 months, pretty bird!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bedtime Rewards and Ice Skating

For a few months, we've been doing a reward system with Libby and Piper for bedtime. Every night that they go to bed and STAY THERE, they get to draw a smiley face on their chart. After 7 smiley faces, they earn a reward. The first time we tried this, Jared was feeling pretty desperate and he told them prior to beginning the chart that they could choose ANY toy they wanted! So they were getting all these ideas about dolls that walk and talk. I had to squash that and tell them we would have a price limit.

The next reward was a night eating out at Chick-Fil-A. The most recent one was ice skating. This was Libby's idea and they were both really looking forward to it. They actually completed their charts right before Christmas, but we had a heck of a time finding a day when 1) Jared was off work, 2) we didn't have other obligations and 3) the weather wasn't miserable. As it turns out, it was only in the 20s the day we went, but it wasn't too windy, so we survived.

Jared decided to just sit this one out with Birdie rather than lace up and take turns with me. Birdie slept the whole time (she must have hibernated because it was so cold!) all bundled up in her carseat. I took Libby and Piper out on the ice and it probably took 20 minutes to make our first lap, with them hanging onto the rail for dear life! I was so glad they weren't getting too frustrated, so I didn't mind how slow-going it was! Eventually, Piper wanted to give up, so I asked Jared to go rent one of the "skate-aids" - the walker that kids can hold onto and push in front of them. It was still hard for both girls, but eventually they figured out how to push it. They each had meltdowns at one point or another and had to go take a break with Jared. They did much better when I could be one-on-one with them. Some teenage girls ran into Libby when she was using the skate-aid. She didn't fall, but I think she was startled and embarassed. She turned to me and said "Mommy, I was going so fast!" and then broke down in tears.

Those teenage girls were dangerous; later, I got hit from behind. I had no idea it was coming, and fell hard on my wrist and bottom. My wrist is still bruised and my whole back still hurts. But better me than one of my kids.

I know Piper looks so sad and pathetic in this picture, but she was actually quite happy at this point. Falling didn't really bother her.

Tae Kwon Do

Libby started Tae Kwon Do in October. The YMCA offers a really inexpensive class for kids from 4-7 and I thought it would be a good way to build Libby's confidence. She took a free tumbling class at the Y last year for a few months and it was a good growing experience. It was so hard for her at first - she was really, really nervous. But she got slightly more comfortable as the weeks went by.

Anyway, we decided to try Tae Kwon Do this year. The first day was very hard again. She had tears in her eyes the whole time. But thankfully, one of the teachers took her aside and worked with her one-on-one and that made all the difference. The second week was still difficult, but she's loved it ever since. Now, she looks forward to Tae Kwon Do all week.

She had her first test this week and earned red and blue stripes on her white belt. She also got to break her first board! Libby was toward the end of the line, which I was glad of, because I was hoping she'd see the other kids do it and not be afraid to try. Most kids had to try a few times and some needed the teacher's help (he would put his hands on their foot to give their kick some power). I was shocked when she broke it on her first try, without any help! She kicked it with just the right part of her foot. Jared took a quick 2 second video and we've probably watched it 50 times - we're so proud! I'd be proud no matter what, but it was so wonderful to see Libby succeed because she is still the most timid one in the class. The teachers and other parents were pretty shocked, too.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas and New Year

We had a low-key Christmas at home. Libby had been asking for a "stuffed animal robot that is electric and has a remote control" for months. The exact particulars of her wish did not get fulfilled, but she did get a remote-control robot as well as a small robot toy and she was pretty happy. The first time Piper saw Santa this season, it was at our church Christmas party. She knew that I had brought candy canes for Santa to hand out, so when she sat on Santa's lap, she simply asked for a candy cane. Santa laughed and said that was pretty easy. She saw Santa again when we went to an Iowa Energy basketball game and this time she asked for a monkey. So she got a little monkey that shoots balls from its mouth. The kids also got new dresses, stockings, several drawing books and art supplies, hairbows. They also wrapped lots of random objects from around the house and gifted them to each other. By far the biggest hit for Piper was the pack of gum she got in her stocking. She is always asking for gum, so it was the best day of her life to get her very own pack and chew piece after piece. The pack of gum seriously did not leave her hands for hours.
Santa gave me socks?!
Piper and her beloved gum

Birdie didn't get anything in her stocking except a big pile of love and hugs and kisses

We have a tradition of giving the kids a box of sugared cereal for Christmas, since we try not to eat it year round

Libby has been doing tae kwon do since October and has really loved it, so she got a uniform for Christmas

Remote control robot

We spent New Year's Eve at a friend's house with a few other families and had a great time. We didn't stay late enough to ring in the new year, but the kids still stayed up waaay past their bedtime (I think we left at 10:30) and on the way home, Libby was finishing a little bag of popcorn. She told me she was "sleep-eating." "I'm so tired, I'm sleeping, but I'm still eating."

On New Year's Day, we went sledding. The kids were much braver than I expected. Libby screamed every time she went down the hill, but she loved it. They play on the sleds in our yard and driveway, but this was the first time they've really been sledding. Birdie was asleep, so we kept her in the carseat with lots of blankets and brought her to the hill with us. She woke up while we were still playing, so Jared and I took turns sitting in the car with her. Piper fell off the sled once and scraped her face, so was done after that, but everyone had a great time.

Birdie - 4 months

Birdie feels so huge to me at 4 months old. According to my bathroom scale, she weighs 15 pounds already. And I'm pretty sure she's about to pop a couple teeth. She's been fussier than normal the past week and a half. In fact, she was so upset on Christmas Day, I considered calling the doctor, thinking maybe she had an ear infection or something. But I decided to just comfort her the best I could and wait it out. She got a lot better that evening (I started putting on some homeopathic teething gel...maybe that helped?). And then I decided to check her mouth, and bingo...2 rough white ridges on their way in.

I just love this baby so much. She is so quick to smile lately. And her laughs are adorable. She was cracking up last night at Libby, who was having a solo dance party in the living room.

She has grabbed her toes a couple of times and rolled over twice (from front to back).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Birdie - 3 months

Birdie is so completely loved in our family. At 3 months old, she has gorgeous blue eyes and is getting squishier every day. She seems huge to me now. She is smiling more often and is starting to laugh. Her cousin Sarah got her first real belly laugh out of her while they were visiting for Thanksgiving. Since then, she's given us a few more good laughs and it is thrilling every time.

She sucks on her hands all the time, far more than my other babies did. She'll suck on a pacifier for a few seconds if Piper happens to shove one in her mouth, but she doesn't hold it in on her own and I don't really want to be tethered to one anyway, so I haven't encouraged her to take it.

Piper is as obsessed as ever with Birdie. She is constantly in her face, kissing her hands, hugging her head, reading to her, waking her up, and talking to her. Libby loves her too, of course, and is quick to tell me "mom, Birdie wants you!" whenever she cries. If I need to put Birdie down for any reason, I'll say to the girls "who wants to keep Birdie happy?" and they'll both run over and entertain Birdie.

Birdie has become MUCH more content in the past month. I wouldn't classify her has a fussy baby at all anymore. I can now usually put her in a bouncy seat while I eat or wash the dishes and she doesn't complain. It's wonderful. She doesn't like to nap alone, though, so unless she falls asleep in the carseat, she takes most naps while I'm holding/wearing her. Soon enough, she will start napping on her own and I will miss holding her so much, so I'm grateful for the chance to hold her now.

I just can't imagine loving her any more. I am so thankful she's in our family!

And, I have startlingly few pictures of Birdie this last month, so here are a few we took the day of her blessing with Grandma and Grandpa Benson and Aunt Rachel and family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Birdie - 2 months

I'm already 2 weeks late on this post, but better late than never.

At 7.5 weeks, Birdie weighed 10 lbs 11 oz and was 22.75 inches long and today (10.5 weeks) she is 11 lbs 4 oz. And she is outgrowing her fussiness...hallelujah! It really was never that bad. She slept a lot, so it's not like she was screaming for 12 hours a day; it was just that anytime she was awake, she was fussing. She still wants to be held and bounced like most babies, but she is having longer stretches of content wakefulness. And she's smiling! Some days my cheeks hurt from smiling at her so much. I can't get enough of those baby smiles!

She likes being in the water, so she gets a bath almost every night. That usually buys me 10-20 minutes of fuss-free time. And I love seeing her experience the freedom of the water. She kicks like crazy, sometimes splashing herself in the face. She never moves as much as she does when she's in the bath.

Birdie is settling into a bit of a routine. She goes to bed whenever I do (she sleeps with me), between 9 and 11 and wakes around 3 to eat, then again at 6. As long as the older kids don't come in and wake her up, she will go back to sleep until about 8. In the daytime, she naps whenever I can bounce her to sleep and sleeps until the kids wake her up. Which is to say, there's not much of a routine there. I love how much Libby and Piper love her, but I feel bad for Birdie that she gets woken up so much! Some days I can tell she is just exhausted and I resort to locking the older kids out of the room, but since my room is not sound-proof, it doesn't always help. Oh well. I'm grateful for the love they all have for each other.

I love this baby so much!