Thursday, June 30, 2011

2 Weeks Old!

Wow!  Time sure flies by.  Today Clark is 2 weeks old.  He now weighs 9# 5 oz. and is 22 1/4 inches long.  The older kids had a fun day with their Aunt and cousins.  They went out to Chick-fil-a for lunch and play and then they went to Grammy's house to see the puppies.  Felicity and I had a "date", too.  We went to Target and had pizza for lunch.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Juggling and Water Balloons

We went to the library yesterday.  They were having a special summer program.  We had a lot of fun watching David Slick juggle and do a little bit of magic.  He did a great job interacting with the kids in the audience.  He holds a Guinness world record in juggling three objects for twelve hours.

So I went home and filled up water balloons.  Kaomi had fun helping hand me the next balloon for me to fill up.  I thought maybe I would have the kids practice trying to juggle them.  It was too hot, so I decided to wait until later to get the water balloons and kids outside.  We went outside after dinner.  I decided just to have the kids throw them at each other.  First we all threw our balloons at Kent, then Kaomi.  Next we threw them at Felicity, she thought it was funny, until she dropped her water balloon and it broke.  I gave her another.  Then we all threw our water balloons at Katy.  Daddy came outside with cold water in his squirt gun and started squirting us, so we all threw our next water balloons at Daddy.  Then they all threw water balloons at me.  Daddy got the last water balloon and played eenie, meanie, miny, moe to see who he would break it on.  It ended up being Kent, so I threw the water that was left in my dishpan, where I had stored the water balloons, on Katy and Kaomi.  Then Daddy got out the hose and everyone got out some water pistols and ran around having fun.  Even Felicity had fun with Daddy squirting her.  Clark stayed inside missing out on all our fun. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sleep - One of a New Mom's Greatest Challenges

Why do newborns have their days and nights mixed up?  I don't know that there is any scientific reason, but maybe God is giving me a chance to bond with my baby or giving me a lesson about selflessness, etc.  If it's a chance to bond, I fail miserably at this in the middle of the night when I'm so tired I can barely think.

When you have a new baby the doctor or midwife will tell you to sleep when your baby sleeps.  This advice is fine for a first time mom, or even a mom with older children that you can depend on to let you take the nap you need.  As a mom to several young children this advice doesn't work as well, unless of course you have full time help and you can sleep even with the hustle and bustle of everyday life going on around you.

So how do I try get my new baby to sleep during the night, so I can function better during the day and not be extremely exhausted or grumpy with my kids?  Here are my seven ideas on helping my newborns sleep better at night and how they are working for us right now.

1.  For the first week of any of our new baby's lives Jeff has stayed home and helped with the other kids, housework, and cooking.  This has allowed me to rest, take extra naps as I could, and in general save energy that I would need when he returns to work.  At night we have learned that it works best for both of us to get a little sleep if we tag team to stay up with the baby as needed.  That means that I might nurse the new baby and then go to sleep while Jeff stays up with the baby until it is time to nurse again and then he wakes me up and I will stay up with the baby, etc.  Of course if the baby goes to sleep we go to sleep, too.

Last week didn't work as well for tag teaming this time around.  Clark wanted to be awake from 12-3 am or 1-4 am.  Little naps that result in him waking up when you put him down don't count.  One night Jeff was up with Clark and Clark had finally fallen to sleep, when the tornado sirens went off at 2:30 am.  Then it started to get really windy, so we decided that maybe we should get the kids up and go to the closet under our stairs.  There was no tornado, but the possibility of 80 mph gusts.  We'd rather get the kids up, than regret that we hadn't.  So of course Clark got woken up and we didn't get much sleep.  Even though we had all the older children back in bed before 3 am Jeff and I were both pretty much awake until 4 am.  It makes for some tiring days when both Daddy and Mommy didn't sleep much.

2.  The midwife tells us to feed our new babies every 2-3 hours, no matter what.  I try my best for the first few days, but then I switch over to survival mode.  How can I get them to sleep at night, so I can sleep and feel rested to take care of all my children the next day?  I start letting them sleep as long as they will, or as long as I can let them sleep at night.

3.  Snuggling the baby.  Sometimes all it takes for a new baby to sleep is snuggling.  The drawback is you can only snuggle so long before you need to switch positions and often the baby will wake up.  Yes, I can sleep sitting up, but it isn't very comfortable or restful.

4.  Co-sleeping with the baby.  I know that this is a controversial topic.  It is also not my favorite to do, but if it is the only way to keep the baby asleep then it works for me.  Kaomi was the first baby we co-slept with.  She ate so often at night that it wasn't practical for me to get up to feed her, go back to sleep and 30-45 minutes after I fell back asleep she would be up again.  Sometimes just having a hand on the baby while we sleep helps the baby to sleep better.

5.  Using a buzzy chair.  Of course you can only use this when they are very little and it is safe for them to not fall over the edge.  As soon as they start to show signs of beginning to sit up by themselves even a little bit this is not safe any more.

6.  Using the baby's car seat carrier.  This one is my favorite.  So far we have used this method successfully with 3 of our children.  We didn't try it with Kent.  It worked for Katy, Felicity and now Clark.  Kaomi couldn't get comfortable in it and would just scream.  I don't buckle them in, so when they start to get wiggly and wiggle down or out of the car seat this is no longer safe.

I will nurse Clark and then wrap him snugly in a blanket and set him in the car seat.  I place a rolled up blanket next to him to help keep him from flopping over to the side.  He sleeps quite well like this.  I wonder if it makes him feel snug like he felt before he was born.  The last couple of nights he has slept for 3-5 hours at a time.  I've actually gotten him up to nurse him the last two nights and he didn't even really wake up.  He just ate and then went right back into the car seat for 3 more hours.  This is the most restful for me, because I don't put him in his car seat for the night until I am ready to lay down and go to sleep myself.

7.  During the day at least once I try to put them in their actual bed to let them practice sleeping there and get used to it.  It is much easier to deal with a baby who is having trouble sleeping during the day than it is in the middle of the night.  When the above ideas no longer work for us they are usually ready to transition to their bed and continue sleeping well.

If you have any suggestions for helping a baby to sleep better at night, please leave a comment and let us know what you do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Psalm 128

"Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in His ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor,
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel."
Psalm 128                                         

Happy Father's Day, Jeff.
You are the most wonderful Father I could wish for our children to have.
I love you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby Pictures

With Grammy

Proud Daddy

Clark Walter

Yesterday I woke up around 3:30 am having contractions that were definitely real, but had no pattern to them yet.  I went back to sleep and let Jeff know in the morning that he didn't need to go to work as the baby was coming.  All morning the contractions continued, but again didn't really get a regularity.  Jeff kept asking me, "Is it time to go"?  Before lunch we took walk around the block to see if we could help get them going in the seemingly right direction.  After we returned home, I made lunch for everybody.  Then the contractions started to be more regular and more intense.  I sent all the kids for quiet time around two, and laid down for a little while myself.  Around 3 pm the contractions were getting to be 7-10 minutes apart so we knew that we would probably need to go soon.  I called a local friend and asked if they were available to watch the kids in a little while and we made arrangements to drop the kids off at their house on our way to the birth center.  We had been kind of planning on having a home birth, but knew that our midwife wasn't available to do a home birth yesterday and that we would need to go to the birth center.  I called the birth center and let them know that we were leaving shortly and had to drop the kids off first.  We dropped the kids off and continued to the birth center.  Jeff was in a hurry to get me there and I kept telling him, "its okay, slow down, we'll be there in time".  We arrived at the birth center about 3:55 pm and they took us right back.  I was already dilated to 8 cm.  I had no idea, but I knew when the midwife on duty said that, that it wouldn't be much longer.  We went to the birthing room and started to fill the tub with water for a water birth.  After two more contractions I knew I was going to need to push soon.  The tub wasn't full enough to have a water birth yet and I just said okay, lets not have it in the water then.  Clark Walter was born at 4:09 pm.  We spent some time snuggling and after a while they weighed him and did the assessments they needed to do.  He weighed 8# 14 oz. and was 20 3/4 inches long.  We were back at home around 7 pm and Jeff picked the kids up a little later.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our New Baby!

Our baby was born this afternoon at 4:09 CST.  I'll post more details tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2011

40 weeks

Today I am 40 weeks.  This baby is due sometime soon.  We thought it was going to be here by now, but God has other plans.  My husband is great.  He is flexible and was able to take the kids for a little while when I was at the midwife's office today.  He took them to Chick-Fil-A and got them all milkshakes and let them play in the play area until I was done with my appointment. 

Wonderful Weekend - Visiting with Friends

Yesterday some friends invited the kids and Jeff and I over to play.  The kids were excited about going over to go swimming and make ice cream and have fun with their friends.  I love the fact that these friends were all adults.  The parents are in our small group with us and their oldest girl and her husband were visiting and wanted to have our kids over to play.  Their younger daughter is out of college and still lives at home, but she loves children.  Our kids were the only young children there and they had so much fun with everyone.  It was a nice relaxing evening.  Jeff went in the pool with the kids and I sat on the sidelines and watched, wishing that I had brought my swimsuit anyway, as maybe swimming would have helped me go into labor.  When everyone was done swimming our kids joined some of the adults in making homemade peppermint ice cream.  They helped smash the peppermints with hammers, measure ingredients, mix, and taste rock salt.  We then had hot dogs for dinner and yummy peppermint ice cream for dessert while we watched the first half of the Mavericks game.  After we returned home and the kids were all in bed, Jeff and I watched the Mavericks win the Finals.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Walking is Fun

Felicity has finally decided that it is fun to walk.  She is toddling around now to wherever she wants to go.  She gets her favorite toy or book and stands up to bring it to someone to play with her or read to her.  Then when she falls down she says "oohh!"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Working Weekend - Around the House

This weekend we were busy working around the house.  Jeff had a friend come over and help him move the rest of the stuff out of storage and to our new house.  Now I finally have a bookshelf in the school room!  So on Saturday, Jeff brought in and distributed the boxes of books that were stacked in the garage, then while he was rearranging and making the garage space usable for upcoming projects I unpacked several boxes of books.  The kids helped both of us in various ways.  After lunch, we went to Lowe's to get curtain rods for the kitchen and brackets for the living room curtain rods, wood for a projects and other odds and ends.  Then Jeff, Kaomi, and Katy brought home the stuff from Lowe's and Kent, Felicity and I went grocery shopping.  After we returned home and the groceries were put away, Jeff put up the curtain rods and curtains in the kitchen, then he grilled our steak and asparagus for dinner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A New Ride

We sold our car last week.  I really hated to have to get rid of it, but we really needed something a little bigger.  I could have fit one more car seat into our Mazda CX-9, for a total of 5 car/booster seats.  The main problem was that their wasn't much space to put groceries in, much less to take a trip of any length.  Not that we are planning any trips right now, since our baby is due this month.  So now I have a "new to us" truck.  It is a GMC Yukon and it will fit 5 car/booster seats just fine, with one seat to spare.  It also has a nice large area behind that seats for me to put my groceries, stroller and anything else I might want to put back there.  It's a little different to drive.  Isn't any new vehicle?  I'm sure I will adjust quickly.  It's a little different having to climb into the middle seat to fasten Felicity's seat belt.  She thinks its fun for me to get in next to her.