First smiles :)
Bumbo (I think the kids wanted to make sure her head was supported)
After a bath
Sleeping like a baby
Put up your dukes
Just like a doll
Most of the time I feel like I do okay, that I am keeping my head above water. But every so often I find myself sinking, like there are just too many demands coming from every direction. Even though my older kids aren't so needy, they have other things that demand attention. Every time I turn around there is something else I am supposed to make sure they are doing: practicing piano, reading out loud to me, learning to type, homework, spelling, reflections, etc. Don't forget teaching them the gospel. And this is all while Connor is hitting Marissa and the baby has pooped out her diaper or needs to be fed. And I keep having to make meals for everyone, like daily--when I just fed them yesterday! Usually, I can handle it all, but sometimes it's just a lot.
Like this week. Sunday, I wasn't feeling too well but was still functional. On Monday, I felt horrible (sore throat, fever, achy, etc.) I slept on the couch all day while Jared took care of everyone. I hate feeling so helpless that I can't take care of my family. I've been feeling a bit better the last few days. Yesterday was kind of an "I'm a bad mother" kind of a day. Marissa and Connor were both on one, and for some reason I felt the need to drag them around with me to four different places (I know, that was stupid. I should not go places with so many kids.) Marissa was particularly whiny and demanding. She has been so hard for me lately. She has so many good qualities, like being social, brave, sensitive, loving and so eager to learn. But she has been angry a lot lately too. I didn't deal with it very well by the end of the day. I know there are probably better ways of addressing her behavior, but it seems like I am either nice and she continues with her bad attitude or I blow up and end up feeling guilty for crushing her spirit. I made her write a note to Santa telling him that she was sorry for crying and that she would be good. I often wonder if she will always be this way or if it's something she will grow out of. I was looking at some pictures of Erin at that age which sparked the memory of Erin acting in a similar way. Erin isn't perfect, but for the most part, she is nothing like that now. It gives me hope for Marissa. We'll try again today.
This year I made the goal to get all my Christmas shopping done by Dec. 1, which really only gave me one week since I didn't start till after Thanksgiving. I wanted to be able to enjoy the Christmas season without having to worry about shopping or fretting over what to get people. I made an advent calendar which I've never done before. It not only has a piece of chocolate for each day but an Christmas activity that we will do that day (I stole your idea Callie--thanks). Some of them are simple, like reading a Christmas book and some of them will take a bit more planning. I am really excited about this Christmas. I've ordered almost everything off of Amazon, so we've been getting packages every day. The UPS guy came at 8:30 last night to drop one off. Already working over time. It's like Christmas for me every time I get a package. Who doesn't love getting packages?
Hallie was two months old on Friday. She is an absolute delight. What a blessing to have her sweet spirit in our family. She sleeps in the car and in her swing for most of her naps. As the fifth child she gets schlepped around a lot and doesn't get a schedule of her own. I don't know if that makes her more easy going and flexible, or if I'm just lucky that she came out that way. Sometimes if nobody gets her when she's crying, she just goes back to sleep. What a good baby! She has been smiling for a few weeks and she is so cute. I love her round little face and calm gaze. I know I'm probably jinxing myself for saying this, but she has been sleeping through the night pretty regularly since about five or six weeks. I'm no good at keeping track. Every so often she has trouble getting to sleep (I think because of being a little congested and having a hard time breathing), but once she gets to sleep she usually doesn't wake up until about 7:00.
We had her baby blessing on Nov. 4th, when she was five weeks old. It was such nice, warm weather (for November). A few days later it snowed; we were so lucky we missed that. We had lots of family come down and be with us, something we are not used to because of living in Florida for so long. She was such a beautiful baby in her fancy (and slippery) white dress. Jared gave a great blessing. He blessed her to be a peacemaker (which will come in handy in our family), to have a testimony of Christ, and to raise her family righteously. Something like that anyway. I don't know why, but I always have this fear that my babies will die in a freakish way, so it was actually a comfort and relief to me that Jared blessed her to make it to adulthood and have children. I literally stopped worrying about it after that.
I wish these pictures were better, but it was such a crazy day and we did what we could. You can kind of see Jared's black eye in this one. He got it two days before playing in a racquetball tournament. Totally worth it since he won second place.
Oh, I went to the doctor for my post-baby check-up at seven weeks and stepped on the scale for the first time since having her. That was not my favorite moment of the year. Apparently, I was only 10 pounds less than when I delivered. Really? Sure, I knew I was frumpy. I mean, what else could be expected after giving birth? But you're telling me I pushed out a 7.5 lb baby, a placenta, amniotic fluid, blood and had spent 7 weeks "shrinking" down to a normal size, and that only added up to 10 pounds??? Dang you, middle age, dang you! I keep trying to reason with myself, I was wearing shoes, and pants (not shorts), and a hoodie, and probably layers (I can't be sure), and I hadn't fed the baby on one side yet--that's like at least 3 oz. right there. So surely, that number wasn't correct by I'd say a good 3 pounds, right? But still. The baby weight just used to magically disappear. Time to P90X again, I suppose.
Our latest project is to add storage to the mudroom in our house. These projects seem to take forever for us to complete! I was planning this project in my head before we even moved in a year ago (unbeknownst to Jared) and it has been evolving for a few months. I basically need a place for each kid to hang their coat, backpack and lunchbox and a place for them to put their homework, take home library books and other papers. Right now we only have six hooks for a family of 7 and the kids can't even reach them. So our mudroom is almost always a huge mess of shoes, jackets, homework, and backpacks. I finally figured out the right solution, got the pieces cut out and am in the process of painting the everything--which is taking forever! I can't wait till this project is done. Good thing I don't have to worry about shopping!