Monday, December 5, 2016

Rosalie's baptism

Last month the kids and I took a trip to South Bend for my niece Rosalie's baptism.  David was on clinic call, so he had to work and could not leave the city.  We actually had a very uneventful four hour drive to South Bend, with Laney sleeping the entire way.  I was really worried about the drive, but it turned out to not be that bad.  God must have taken pity on me because Laney had stayed up until 3am the night before (aka the morning of...) our trip!  Saturday evening was spent with family, then Sunday was the actual baptism. 

Rebecca and Ben with their daughter Rosalie

That's the gown that I was baptized in!  As were all of the girls in my family, including Eliana.

Rosalie with her Godparents.

Look at this crazy group!  Everyone on my side of the family except for David.  Poor guy, he always misses out on the fun because of work!  Mike, Abby's husband, suggested that we get a cardboard cutout of David to bring with us to such events so that he can be in the pictures.  Ha!

Welcome to the church little one!

My grandma holding Laney with Ben's grandma (I think??) holding Rosie.  Grandma's are good for putting babies to sleep!  And Eliana insisted on hopping in the picture and showing off her gift she had gotten that day.

Magdalena and Rosalie.  These cousins are just 19 days apart! Laney was 5 1/2 weeks old and Rosie was just over 8 weeks old.  While they are fairly close in weight, Rosie is much longer than Laney!

OSU attack

Last week there was an attack on OSU's campus.  Basically, a man drove his car into a crowd of people, and when the car became disabled, he jumped out and started slashing people with a knife.  A police officer was near by and quickly ended the situation.  In total, 11 people were taken to the hospital with non-fatal injuries.  However, for several hours there was a lot of confusion about what was going on and the media reported that there was a shooter on campus.  David works in the medical center which is located on OSU's campus, so I was very worried.  When I heard about the shooter, I immediately texted David to make sure he was ok.  He quickly texted back that he was fine, and no where near what was going on.  Then I found out that several schools in our neighborhood, including Eliana's preschool, were on lockdown.  Our neighborhood is fairly close to OSU, so the schools closest to the major roads leading out of OSU's campus decided to be as precautions as possible.  Of course, it turns out that wasn't necessary and the children were never in any real danger.  But it is still so scary to think the school might need to do that.  At pickup from preschool, all of the doors were locked and adults were being let in one by one after checking with the preschool director.  While the children had no idea that anything unusual was going on, the adults were all very somber.  I admit I shed a few tears in the car just thinking about the possibility of something happening to David or Eliana. 

Praise the Lord, we are all safe and no one was ever in any danger.  But it makes my heart ache to think such violence is in the world and it could come so close to my family.  How much we take for granted every day.  This event has once again reminded me that my husband and my children are not my own.  They belong to Christ.  While we live in a very, very safe neighborhood, and I keep a close eye on the kids at home and when we are out and about, I cannot control everything that happens around them.  As much as I want to, I cannot protect them from everything.  I have to entrust them to God.  Nothing has made me lean so much on God as becoming a mother.

I pray for those injured during this terrible act of violence, I pray for the family of the attacker, and I pray for the safety of my family.  I sure am hugging my kids close these days.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Photography trials

Pictures can be deceiving.  Sometimes I take 20 photos of my kids crying before I can finally get a good one where they look happy.  But you wouldn't know that based on what I post in the blog.  So here's an example of what our pictures really look like most of the time.

Screaming during tummy time.  This was from a couple of weeks ago.  She is much better at tummy time now and much happier.

Really not enjoying this photo session

Making a face at me

What are you doing Mom? She looks very bulky in this picture.

Twenty pictures later, I finally get a decent shot:

There's my beautiful girl!  Still not smiling but I'll take it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Halloween 2016

This year for Halloween, after much consideration, Eliana was a cat ... again (3rd year in a row).  At first she had said she wanted to be a dog (which I was excited for the change).  Then a mommy dog.  Then a rainbow kitty.  Finally she settled on a pink kitty with a purple belly and purple ears.  Her outfit was pretty easy to make.  I just used a pink sweatsuit as a base, then with hot glue added purple "fur" along the bottom of the pants and sleeves, a purple fur tail, foam ears with purple fur, and a big purple belly (attached with velcro so the zipper still worked on the jacket). 

As for William, he decided to be a dog like Eliana, except he stuck with it even after Eliana switched to a cat.  He was a yellow dog - a combination of Spot the dog and T-bone, a dog from Clifford. At the last minute, William told me he wanted to be a pumpkin, which is what he was last year, but I wouldn't let him.  I had worked to hard on his costume.  I wanted to do an outfit like Eliana's - use a yellow sweatsuit as a base and just add spots and a tail, but I could not find a solid yellow outfit.  So I ended up just sewing one myself, using velcro to fasten it in the back.  I wish I had taken a picture of William from the back (David was actually in charge of pictures Halloween night because I was nursing Laney, so I blame him).  I added three spots and a tail with hot glue.  It was so cute!

Magdalena was Snow White.  Her costume was a gift from her Aunt Hannah, which was adorable.  She attempted to trick-or-treat with us, but after half of a block in the stroller, she started crying, so I carried her the rest of the way.  She was wrapped up in a blanket in my arms so no one could see her costume any more.  That's ok though, she didn't need any candy anyway. 

To celebrate Halloween, we dressed up at my sister Rebecca's apartment with all of the little cousins the Saturday before Halloween.  The kids just played in their costumes for a bit and posed for pictures.  Trying to get six kids all 4 years old and under to pose for a picture is ridiculous! (I must has had the wrong setting on my camera as everyone is a little blue.)

I couldn't find William's ears.  And Laney didn't really want to participate.

Trying to get everyone arranged.  Hannah the monkey also wasn't so sure about participating.

Oops, there goes the monkey

And there goes Claire the lion... Shortly after this William tried to get up and dump Rosie the caterpillar on the grass.
We did slightly better when we added in the grown ups.
Flanigan Halloween 2016
For Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night, we went with our friends Adele and Hannah again.  Apparently while I was feeding Laney, a group picture was attempted but it was also a failure with 6 kids running in all different directions.   Eliana, William, Adele, and Hannah all had a blast running from house to house.  William was so adorable with his determined little strut up to each door, his little tail wagging behind him.  He definitely like it better this year than last.  I think I like Halloween almost as much as the kids just because I find them so adorable in their costumes.  I hope they never grow up and want to be scary things for Halloween.  Kitties and doggies are the best.

My little doggie - this time with his ears


Best picture of Eliana from the night

William riding with Hannah who was also Snow White!

After trick-or-treating, enjoying their treats. This was the best picture of the two of them from the whole night.

And the most adorable part of Halloween!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

William's 2nd Birthday

Poor Will, the forgotten middle child.  I never got around to posting about his 2nd birthday way back in July, which has been on my list of things to write about for months now.  Better late than never...

To celebrate William's birthday, David's parents and brother came to our house along with my brother Michael, Melissa, and their daughter Claire.  We had cake and ice cream (Will doesn't actually like cake - just the icing on top), played outside in the sandbox, and checked out his new toy truck and soccer goal.  I didn't get many pictures because, like I mentioned above, William is the forgotten middle child.  :)

Singing happy birthday

Blowing out the candles.  Eliana wanted to see if he needed help.

Enjoying some birthday cake!

Hanging with his best friend Claire.  She is the closest in age to him of his cousins, and they play together really well.

William was reading her a book.

At his two year check up, William was 34.5in tall and 28lbs.  I will have to look that up for the percentiles.  He talks a lot for his age!  He says full sentences, which I always find so cute and surprising with his little baby voice.  He can recognize the letter W and knows that is his special letter.  He knows most of his colors and Eliana says his favorite color is green.  He likes riding his "moto" (big wheel tricycle), playing with balls, hitting things with sticks, and playing with dinosaurs.  He understands a lot of Spanish but at this point he mostly talks in English.  Although a few words still hang on - ardilla for squirrel and oso for bear.  He loves watching the garbage men take away the trash and has told me that he wants to be a garbage man when he grows up.  He also likes to walk around carrying books above his head, saying he is a priest, and offering you the "Body of Christ."  So who knows, maybe he will be a garbage truck driving priest.  His favorite food is pizza.  And he wants to go to preschool so bad.  He has his own little backpack that he fills with dinosaurs and says he is going to "pretend preschool."  Sometimes he is so sweet - giving kisses and hugs, while other times he is really aggressive - he loves to pull Eliana's hair.  His latest thing is to give "head bumps" which is like a fist bump, except with your head. 

Here is my latest funny William story:

Eliana was talking about getting a pet, and I said, "If you could have any pet, what would it be?"  Eliana said, "A cat!"
"And what about you, William?" I asked.
"A Dinosaur!" he replied.

I sure love my sweet little boy!

Friday, November 11, 2016

What our days are like

We have been very busy lately!  Every weekend we have been traveling out of state - first to my niece's baptism, then to my brother-in-law's wedding, and this weekend to my parents' anniversary party.  So throw in a fussy baby and I haven't had much time to blog.  I actually started this post a few weeks ago but never finished.  So here goes:

Some of our escapades the past few weeks.
On a wet, dreary day, Eliana asked to go outside to jump in the puddles.  I dressed her and William up in their rain coats and boots, and set them outside.  They quickly found the little pool that I had not put away from this summer and started jumping in it.  They were drenched by the time they came inside!  However, Laney and I stayed warm and dry watching from the doorway.

Eliana got a new pair of purple slippers that she has been wearing all the time!  She loves to wear them in bed while she is sleeping.  Silly girl.

Tummy time with big brother.  I told William he should show Laney his trucks while she does tummy time to make her happy.  He brought over so many cars!  He leans over her and says, "Waney, you having fun on the floor?  Good!"

She obviously is very interested in his toys.

Activities while the baby is sleeping: William got to play with shaving cream.  This was a hit!  He drew several pictures or had me draw some like this dog.  After a little bit, we added a dinosaur to play in the shaving cream, which William really liked.  Then he had fun giving the dinosaur a bath in the sink to clean up.  Great indoor activity.  I cover the table in plastic which makes for easy clean up.

We also practiced writing the letter "W"

Playing with playdough

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Juggling the needs of three kids

Well, I guess it had to happen eventually, but it breaks my heart to hear it.  Eliana said this evening that she wished that she didn't have a little sister because Mom and Dad only take care of Magdalena. 

Laney had an especially bad day today.  I am currently typing this while wearing her in my Ergo carrier while bouncing on the computer chair, as this is the only way to keep her calm.  Usually she sleeps pretty well during the day and doesn't hit her fussy period until dinner or after.  Well today she started at 1pm.  She basically ate and slept all morning, but after lunch she would not take a nap.  She would fall asleep for a few minutes in mine or David's arms, but the second you laid her down, she was screaming.  I paced the house with her.  I wore her in the carrier.  We went for a stroller ride around the block.  Nothing would put her to sleep, and she was crying on and off all day.  By 5pm, she was stuck in the "on" mode for crying - there was no off.  William also had a rough day today, as he took a 15 minute car nap after church and decided that was all the sleep he needed for the day instead of his usual 2 hour nap.  So by about 5pm, he was also exhausted, and crying that he was hungry and wanted a granola bar (a constant battle with him - he wants to snack all day and not eat actual meals, but that is a story for a different blog post).  So I am bouncing Laney around, trying to nurse her and keep her calm, while also trying to comfort William and keep him from falling apart until dinner is ready, and trying to play will Eliana.  We are sitting on the couch reading.  First I read the book that William picks out.  Then it's Eliana's turn to pick a book.  We have been reading the chapter book Charlotte's Web together, a few chapters at a time.  Eliana loves the book and doesn't want to put it down, but it is much harder for William to sit still and listen to, since there are just a few pictures and lots and lots of words.  But as I start to read Charlotte's Web, Laney flips out and starts wailing.  Nothing is calming her down.  So I put the book down and start pacing the house with her again, telling Eliana she has to wait a minute while I take care of Laney.  That's all that Eliana has heard the past few days - wait while I take care of Laney ... wait while I take care of your brother... wait while I nurse Laney.  Twice in the past two days Eliana and I were supposed to work on her Halloween costume together but had to abandon the project so I could take care of a crying Laney.  I am acutely aware of how much Eliana has been putting up with the past few weeks.  I know she has had to wait while her siblings needs come before her own.  But I was hoping she hadn't noticed.  Or that maybe she didn't mind.  Or maybe she would forget ...

That's when Eliana started crying.  She said, "I wish I didn't have a baby sister.  You and Dad only take care of Magdalena.  I wish I could only be at school because at least my teachers take care of me."  She said a few more things along these lines and I wanted to join in the crying too.  It breaks my heart to know she feels so neglected.  I never want her to think that I love her sister more than her.  Now I have three crying kids, dinner is in the oven, and David is not home.  So I did the best I could - I put Laney in the baby swing, where she cried very loudly.  I figured she was crying in my arms anyway.  I sat on the couch with my big kids and I wrapped one arm around my crying son and my other arm around my crying daughter.  And I read Charlotte's Web as loud as I could over the tears.  It was a pretty crazy scene.  But I know it made a difference for Eliana.  She stopped crying and snuggled in close.  When David got home a few minutes later, he took William and finished making dinner.  I picked up Laney and nursed her for the 100th time that day.  And I talked with Eliana.  I tried to empathize with her that having a baby sister can be tough.  But I also explained that Laney is only a baby for a little while and that things will get better.  Eventually she will be fun to play with and won't take up quite so much of my time.  I told her how much I appreciated her being a big helper.  We hugged and I kissed her, and then it was time for dinner.  After dinner, I told David what Eliana had said, and he talked to her as well.  They had some special Father/Daughter time playing this cat game on his phone.  He told me that she said the same things to him - that she wished she didn't have a baby sister and that it was just her and William again.  Parenting can be really tough sometimes.  So many needs pull you in so many different directions.  We are doing the best we can, but David and I are definitely being stretched thin right now.  It seems appropriate that the readings for mass today were about prayer and crying out to God.  I just have to lean on God right now to give me the strength to keep going and keep trying.  To show me how to balance the needs of all of my children, my spouse, work around the house, and taking care of myself.  If you would, please say a little prayer for us too.  We could use a little extra help these days.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

One month old

Our little Laney is one month old!  That means just 11 more months until she is one - that is crazy! She is our little baby.  At her check-up, she weighed 10lbs 7oz (80%) and was 20.75in long (29%).  So if you are paying close attention, you would say that is the same length from birth.  However, her ped office measured her at 19.5in long at her first appointment so either the hospital was a little off or her ped just keeps measuring her small.  But I guess that is showing she has grown.  By comparison, at one month Eliana weighed 11lbs 13 oz and Will was 12lbs!  It's hard to believe we have such a "tiny" baby.  At her appointment, Laney was wide awake, looking around, and smiling.  When Dr. Ferguson entered the room, she asked if I had any concerns.  I said, "Yes, I think she has colic.  What should we do?!"  Which is pretty funny considering how pleasant and sweet she was that morning.  I have said multiple times if she wasn't so cute, I might be tempted to give her back to the hospital (only at 1am though).  Little Laney Lu has a split personality.  She is smiley and so sweet during the day, usually sleeping most of the morning and taking a 3hr nap in the afternoon.  But then after dinner a switch flips and she becomes a different girl.  From about 7 or 8pm to 1am, she is fussy, irritable, constantly nursing, and needs a lot of attention.  It's not that she necessarily is crying nonstop every night.  It is that she cries on and off and needs so much work! We are constantly holding or wearing her and walking around the house.  She likes movement, loud music, and her paci.  She will be asleep in your arms and then out of the blue she just starts wailing. And the hardest part is that she never wants to go to bed before midnight or 1am.  We are exhausted!  David has been amazing through all of this.  Many evenings he will take Laney for a couple of hours so I can get some sleep.  Then in the mornings he gets up with the big kids and lets me sleep in until he has to go to work.  Plus he is making many of the meals, cleaning the kitchen, getting William to bed every night, and picking up my slack in a thousand different ways.  This is on top of his full time job, his research schedule, and the time he is studying for fellowship.  How does he do it??  I am so lucky to be married to this amazing man.
So back to the doctor's appointment.  Dr. Ferguson said Laney was very alert for her age (more like a 2 month old) and that might contribute to the colic/fussiness.  Colic, she said, is believed to be related to over stimulation and an inability to weed out the unnecessary noises and sights.  As babies get more tired, they are less able to handle all that goes on in their environment.  Which is why the crying is worst in the evenings.  So Laney looks healthy and bright and we just have to wait for her to outgrow this.  On the plus side, she really does smile a lot(just not after 8pm)!

They both want to hold her so much.
Picture of Eliana at 9 days old. 
Laney at 11 days old.
 Check it out!! Twins!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pumpkin Patch

On a Friday, Eliana's day off from school, I ventured out of the house with all three kids to a pumpkin patch.  I am still getting used to how long it takes us to do everything!  My goal was to leave the house around 9am but we couldn't make it out the door until a little after 10am.  Hopefully we get a little better at that...

We had  a great time!  This particular farm had just a few things to do - a straw bale maze, a slide, and a corn box.  But that was totally fine with my crew, they enjoyed all of it!  William and Eliana loved running around the straw maze and chasing each other.  They also really liked the corn box and spent a lot of time burying a stuffed kitty cat (Eliana) and filling cars with corn (William).  Magdalena spent all morning sleeping in the carrier.  Laney usually stays up very late at night and then spends most of the morning sleeping.  While that does not let me get a lot of sleep, it does make it a little easier to do things with the big kids.

Sometimes I am so deliriously happy with the three kids that I think I must have lost my mind.  God has blessed us so much, and I can tell the kids, despite their fights and other silliness, really do love each other.  What a fun time this is in our lives.  We get to go to a pumpkin patch together where the kids enjoy just scooping corn and I can snuggle my youngest baby all morning.  The joy my big kids have in these little things brings a huge smile to my face.  This time is so fleeting so I want to soak up every second.

Posing with Grey Stripe the kitty.

scooping corn

Magdalena enjoying the Ergo.

There is a kitty cat buried in that pumpkin head full of corn...

Oh shoot, someone got us with a handful of straw.

Someone woke up to nurse - this is the best she can do for participating in the corn box fun.

William spent a long time picking out his pumpkin.

He finally found the perfect one.

My little pumpkins - love!!

Our pumpkin family.  Sorry David, I couldn't carry another pumpkin so you didn't get one.

William wanted Laney to hold her little pumpkin herself.