Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Ramblings of a Tired Mama. . .

I feel a bit like rambling today which is actually the way that I feel everyday. Only today I actually have time to sit down and write my rambling thoughts as they come. . .

We are beginning to get into some sort of normal flow around here. I am feeling somewhat productive once again, and this life is beginning to once again feel like my life. It takes me several months after having a baby to get back into a good groove again. And, I love it when I finally get here because I appreciate "normal" life so much more!

We are getting out and going places again! This morning for the 3rd time I took my 3 youngest to Super Wal-mart for our big weekly grocery shopping trip (Which I cannot, between dog food, diapers, my favorite organic brands, Erik's 15 different kinds of cereal, etc., get out of that store for under $150. It just never happens, and I hate that!!!) Anyway, I have figured out that the best way to do it is to put Erik Daniel in the Bjorn, Elijah in the front of the cart, and to let JCT walk. We are a fun little bundle of merriment, I assure you! Most people smile at us and say, "How sweet!" Some people stop me and tell me that I remind them of themselves when their children were young. And, a small few give me an annoyed look when JCT accidentally gets in their way. And, when they do, I say a prayer and ask God to never let me forget how precious little ones are ~ even long after mine are grown.

And, there is this lady who works one of the registers up front that checks me out a lot. She had four boys, too, but hers are all in college now. And, she is beautiful to me. Not the kind of beautiful that is flashy or made up. She is the kind of beautiful that I aspire to be. She is natural but well kept, and she exudes a peaceful spirit. I don't even know her name, but I love her, and I will wait in line to get to chit chat with her while she checks out my groceries. The first time she checked me out the boys were fussy, and she understood, and she has occupied a special place in my heart since that day. . .

Anyway, we got home, and I was overwhelmed with all that there was to do in a short little bit of time ~ put groceries away (at least the cold ones), feed too hungry boys lunch ~ nurse another, and get boys down for naps before it is time to pick up Joshua at school, start a load of gentles, take out a patient dog & feed him, feed my own growling tummy, and on and on. . .

It is all about prioritizing and multi-tasking ~ they are the keys to my life right now.

Who needs what most.

So, I put Elijah in the high chair with applesauce and a spoon, then I put away the groceries. Then, I finished feeding Elijah and fed JCT. Then, I cleaned up Elijah and put him down to play while I nursed my sweet, ever patient baby. And, as I nursed him and my head spun with things that needed to be done before I could sit down and relax for a moment, I heard the voice of Elisabeth Elliot saying. . . "Just do the next thing, and when you finish that, then do the next thing." Goodness, I love her! And, I let myself relax for a moment and soak up some sweet baby time. Erik Daniel fell into a deep sleep as he nursed. All was peaceful and still until Elijah came bounding in the room with a huge grin and voice that shook the windows ~ not to mention the foul odor coming from his diaper ~ it alone could have awakened the dead! And, yes, Erik Daniel's peaceful slumber was disturbed! Ohhh, such is life. . .

Now two out of three are asleep, and JCT is water painting at the bar. Erik won't be home until late tonight, and my back already hurts. But, hey, Deana B is bringing me soup for dinner, and I am pumped about that! Thank You, God, for thoughtful friends, not to mention ones that can cook really well!!

I am so content with life right now. I love having little ones. The things that used to be struggles for me ~ the fact that they want to be where I am every second, the fact that they get up so early that I can't have alone time in the morning, the fact that I rarely get to sit still at nap time, the fact that I can't get out and go and do like I want to ~ they just don't bother me much anymore. If I have learned anything this year with Joshua in Kindergarten, it is that time flies, and what my mama used to always tell me is true. These days are only for a period of time, and then they are gone. forever. I'll never be a mom to little boys again once they grow up. And, they are growing. No matter how many times I beg them to quit and threaten to put bricks on their heads and such, they are growing at the speed of life, and there is not a thing I can do about it. So, now when they want me to sit down and watch TV with them, when they want to sit in my lap, or they want me to hold them, I am all over it! Joshua wants me to eat lunch with him at school, and I call a sitter ~ because my sitting with him at the lunch table will not always be the highlight of his day! But, it is now, and I am soaking it up!

Life is good. It is at times fast and furious. But, I am learning to love the chaos, and I feel certain that I will miss it when it is gone. The other night I was talking to my sweet mama, and as I was telling her about a few projects and things I have going on around the house, etc., she sighed and said, "You know, I told your Dad the other day that I miss home-making." And, I heard a little longing in her voice, and I felt it in my heart because we were made from the same mold ~ she and I. And, I, too, I am quite certain will miss loving, doting on, taking care of, spoiling, singing to, cooking for, baking for, and doing projects with my little ones. I am living it to the full, you all, because if one thing is for certain, it will not last forever. Good, bad, hard, easy, chaotic, peaceful, joyful, happy, crazy, wild, busy, fun, it will not last forever! Seize the day!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

5 Months of Pure Sweetness. . .

I do not know what else to say except that you are a joy to us, a pure, sweet, gentle joy.

You are peace to this tired mother's soul. At the end of the day when I am completely spent and have given all that I have to give, I pick you up and hold you in my lap, and your smile fills me up once more. And, sometimes during the day when I have much too much going on around me ~ a scuffle, a few loud voices talking, a meal in the process, a bottom needing wiped, a boo boo needing kissed, crayons scattered and falling to the floor, papers covering the table, a room so full of toys that I cannot even walk, a cell phone ringing, a timer going off (now what was that for?), baskets of laundry waiting by the steps, a dog waiting patiently by the door, a stinky diaper walking around spreading its scent and beckoning me to change it, then in the midst of it all I hear your little cry. And, I think to myself, "This is too much! I can not handle all of this! Can it be time to nurse the baby again??!! I am overstimulated, and in over my head! Help me, dear Lord!"

But, then I walk into the room look down into your crib, your crying stops immediately, and you smile up at me so sweetly, so tenderly that I can't help but relax and smile back. You are happy to see me, and that makes my heart sing! You are peace to me, and I love you more than you'll ever know.

I have taken several pics of you this month that I love. . . Here is one taken after church one Sunday. You are wearing an outfit that your sweet Deana B picked out just for you! Don't you look like a little man in it. . .

All of your brothers adore you, but this one is absolutely wholeheartedly taken with you. He thinks about you all the time, loves to hold you, and he can make you smile and giggle like no one else!! If I am crazy busy and I hear your sweet cry, but there is no way that I can get to you at that moment, then I send JCT in to talk to you and keep you company until I can get there. And, you know what, he loves to do it!! He runs to your crib, stands on the side of it, and talks to you in the sweetest little voice! He loves you. He tells me that you are his baby.

I especially love this one. . .

And, now two more pics of you in my favorite winter tabogon!! You are the fourth little one to wear it, and I think I love it more each time around!!! Look at your sweet little lips!!! I could eat you up!

I am crazy about you little man!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joshua's First Game. . .

The team & their wonderfully talented coaches. . .

I took all three of the younger boys with me to watch the game. All went well, thanks to some family friends who came to watch Joshua play. But, it didn't take me long to realize that I was in over my head~ out numbered 3 to 1 with very little room to spread out. One of my New Years resolutions was to cut back on the amount of sugar that I feed my little men. Well, yeah, that went out the window quickly during this game. I started out feeding Elijah and JCT Goldfish, but when that lost its power and they began to get more restless and more vocally displeased with their situation, I went to my last resort ~ M & Ms. And, let's just say that they had their fill of sugar that morning! You do what you have to do ~ especially when you really want to support your oldest son!! So, we made it, but in less than 24 hours I had arrangements made with a favorite teenage babysitter of ours to come each Saturday for the next 5 weeks and watch the little boys during Joshua's games. I asked her which she liked better ~ sleeping in on Saturday mornings or making money. Her answer without hesitation was: "The latter." And, so we made the deal, and I am so glad that we did!

And now, more pics of the game. . .

It was really very much like t-ball. He had fun, but I think the highlights were getting to drink gatorade and wearing a uniform! Oh, and running out of the tunnel when they called his name ~ that was pretty cool, too!

It just so happens that one of our neighbors refereed Joshua's game. Here they are. . .

Oh, and Princess M was a cheerleader, but she wasn't really all that into it! But, she sure looked cute! At one point I looked over and she was curled up in a ball on the gym floor ~ almost asleep! Kids are so funny!

I love this sweet little playa'. . .

And, here is my handsome husband looking intense and focused!

Can't wait until next Saturday!

SnowBiff. . .

I had planned on starting back on green tea this morning. In fact, I had even consumed one full cup of it when it started snowing. . .

And, I mean, really, who can drink green tea when sweet little snowflakes are floating around outside your windows. No one! Snow calls for hot chocolate or, in my case, Bifferdoodle!!!!

(And, Jill, Bifferdoodle (if you click on the Biff in the post linked to the word Bifferdoodle, it will take you to his website) is simply flavored coffee made by some guy in Arkansas named Biff. It is his version of Snickerdoodle flavored coffee, and it is so yummy! You can literally taste the cinnamon! If you lived a little closer, I'd love to have you over and introduce you to it!!! I have made many of my friends Bifferdoodle converts!) And, in case anyone wonders, Biff and I do not know each other. I am just his biggest fan, and he doesn't know that I exist. I am just promoting good coffee with pure sincerity!)

So, anyway, here I sit with my favorite green mug filled with steaming hot Bifferdoodle and French Vanilla creamer watching little snow flurries chase each other to the ground. The pond is almost completely frozen which just adds to the cold/cozy mood that I am in today!!

The house is warm & calm. Joshua & JCT are at school & preschool. The little boys are watching the Backyardigans, and I am feeling lazy, very, very, very lazy. Which is actually unusual for me because I am usually revved up and ready to go in the mornings! But, this morning I have given myself permission to take it slow. I mean, really what is the joy in being a stay at home mom if I keep myself crazy busy with housework all day!! The only work being done in my home this morning is being done by my beloved dishwasher and washing machine. Ahhhh. . .

Well, I better go top off my cup of coffee and give Erik Daniel a little lovin'! I hope things are cozy and warm in your neck of the woods!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can I just say. . .

that I love you people ~ especially those of you who left comments encouraging me to go ahead and indulge in a cup of coffee.

My father-in-love, a lover of coffee too, came to visit us yesterday. So, in order to be a thoughtful hostess, I felt compelled to make a pot of coffee this morning. . . for him. . . and for me, too, of course!

So, this morning I held in my very own hands a warm green mug (my favorite) filled to the brim with Bifferdoodle decaf and French Vanilla creamer. And, it was, as per usual, heaven on earth for this coffee loving girl. It was especially wonderful this particular morning because of the simple fact that the temperature was in single digits when I woke up! Single digit temperatures and coffee go hand in hand if you ask me! And, in that case I better get another pot a brewin' because as the sun is going down so is the temperature!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Going Green or Trying, Anyway. . .

Some days, like today, it feels like all my worries, all my struggles, all my problems could be solved with one simple remedy. . .

A cup of coffee.

Bifferdoodle Decaf with a spot of International Delights French Vanilla Creamer.

But, instead of that deliciously creamy, heavenly concoction, I am sitting here sipping another concoction ~ one with much less of that "comfort drink" kind of feel. . .

Green Tea.

I read up on it, and I decided that I needed to try to like it. And, since I drink water all day, the morning was the best time for me to drink it. And, I really don't need all that sugar from the Vanilla creamer, etc. It all made perfect sense when I thought about it, but living it out has been a different story.

I tried last week, but broke down and made a pot of coffee during nap time almost every day.

Hi, my name is Erin, and I am addicted to Bifferdoodle.

And, there isn't a thing in the world that I can do about it.

I'm not addicted to the caffeine - it's decaf.

I'm not addicted to the way it makes me feel warm on a cold day - the green tea does that.

I'm seriously addicted to the way it soothes me. It gives me that warm, cozy, life is good, hello sunshine, happy new day, I can do this kind of feeling. It is like being wrapped in a warm blanket even while I am busily getting my little ones ready and out the door with their Daddy.

To make things worse, I decided to pull out some old CDs to listen to in place of my beloved Christmas CDs which have officially been put to rest until next Christmas. Anyway, one of my choices was an old Chris Rice CD. I put that little sucker in, and before I knew it, the music began and Chris was singing about "Smellin' Coffee." I literally stood still in the kitchen and smiled because only God could have orchestrated that! He is so funny sometimes!

But, I held my ground, and poured another cup of tea.

Green tea, I'm sorry, but try as I may, I cannot make you feel cozy. You just make me feel like I am sipping hot water with grass. Even the mint flavor doesn't help. But, I am trying. Really, I am trying. I did discover one thing that I like about you. The sound of the water pouring out of my teapot into an empty tea cup is somewhat enchanting. But, it doesn't hold a candle to the sound of coffee pouring into an empty mug. So, I'm giving you until the weekend to win me over. Good luck.

But, Saturday morning belongs to Biff.

Hands down.

And, he will have no competition.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A "We Can" Day Flight of Ideas. . .

Yesterday (Friday) morning a sleepy little pj clad boy with long tangled strawberry blond hair looked up at his Daddy and asked. . .

"Daddy, will you and Joshua be home all day tomorrow?"

And, his Daddy smiled and answered, "Yes, we will!"

To which sweet little JCT replied, "I knew it was a holiday tomorrow! I just knew it was! Is tomorrow a 'we can' day, Daddy?"

And, his Daddy smiled and laughed under his breath, "Yes, son, tomorrow is a 'we can' day! And, 'we can' play together all day!"

Don't you just love the "we can!" I know I do! This morning the boys got their hair cut, and by the boys I mean all of the males in our family excluding only Rain and Erik Daniel. And, while they were out I made a big breakfast which is like the highlight of the week for me and Erik. It is the highlight of the week for me because nothing brings me more satisfaction than cooking a huge satisfying meal for my boys, and then sitting down to enjoy it with a large cup of steaming hot coffee! And, it is the highlight of Erik's week because he loves, loves, loves breakfast food! It doesn't matter whether I make pancakes, Belgium waffles, french toast or biscuits as long as he gets scrambled eggs and bacon he is a happy gentleman. Breakfast is his favorite. If I am at a loss for what to cook for dinner, I just make breakfast for dinner because I know that I know that I know that I will see a smile on his sweet face when he walks in the door after a long day at work and smells bacon cooking on the stove. Goodness, I love him. And, this morning he did the dishes, and that was so nice of him!

While the boys were out this morning, I spent some q.t. (quality time) with Erik Daniel. He didn't want to eat, so I lay him across the boppy and talked to him. Actually, I made a little deal with him. The deal went something like this. . .

"If you promise, promise, promise to stop growing, you, cute little fuzzy headed chubby adorable sweet baby, then, I promise to wake up whenever you want in the middle of the night to feed you, and I will change your diapers faithfully, and bathe you religiously, and in general meet all your needs for the rest of our days. So stop growing, okay?"

And, he smiled, giggled, and in baby language that translates, "Okay!" But, something tells me he won't stick to it. But, goodness, he is at such a wonderful stage. We are in some semblence of a routine, and he is cute and chubby and just plain fun. Not to mention the fact that he can now entertain himself by jumping in the jumperoo and standing in his walker!! Fun, fun, fun!! I love the 4-6 month age! Not yet mobile, but old enough to play and interact!

And, last night I had the strangest thing happen. I was standing in the kitchen, and it was very quiet, and I was cleaning the counters off when JCT ran past me from the living room to the powder bath. And, I had this really weird feeling like he was all grown up and I was catching a glimpse of him as a 3 year old again. It was strange, and I can't really explain it, but it made me appreciate his cute little 3 year old person even more than usual.

Slow down, all this growing, please people, please!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Peace to My Ears. . .

There is nothing that I love more than a rainy day, a cup of coffee, and my Alli Rogers CD playing in the background. I first heard Alli when she opened for Shawn McDonald at a local church's coffee house style concert. She walked out on stage with her long hair in a pony tail wearing a t-shirt and jeans. And, it didn't take long for me to see that she had great insight and amazing depth not only as an artist but also as a person ~ a thinking, observing, contemplating kind of person. And, I remember watching her thinking if I could sing or write music that is exactly the way that I would do it. I guess maybe it was just something about her heart that I connected with deep inside myself. So, I bought her CD ~ A Day of Small Things, and I played it over and over for weeks. . . And, I fell in love. . .

Then, I bought 5 more copies and gave them out to friends.

Her music is peace to my soul. You have to listen to each deeply thoughtful word, and I love that. She is beautiful inside and out, and if you've never heard her, you should take a listen.

Her newest CD You and the Evening Sky is amazing, as well. With my personal favorite songs being: Closer To the Moon and I Caught Sight. But, all the songs are so good that it is hard to choose! And, her Christmas CD was incredible!

So, anyway, remember when I said that I gave out her CDs to my friends. Well, Sara, one of the lucky recipients, called me one day this past October and said, "Hey, I'm thinking about having Alli Rogers do a home concert at my house for the Christmas holidays. What do you think?" And, I seriously almost fainted! "Are you kidding? In your home! Alli Rogers! I think it's a splendid idea!" And, so it happened a few weeks ago, and I am pleased to announce that I got to chit chat with Mrs. Alli, and she is just as precious in person as I thought that she would be! She is pregnant with her first little one, and I love pregnancy, babies, and all things related, so we had much to talk about!

Here is a picture of Me, Alli, and Sara. . .

So, in case you've ever wondered what our home sounds like. . .
Now you know.
Well, that and add a little crying, laughing, yelling, and banging things together. . .
And, that is a more accurate description!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Warm Hearts, Cold Weather, and Magic Moments

Autumn is my favorite season. Hands down. The smell of pumpkin spice fills my home. The weather is getting cool and delicious, and the trees are downright beautiful. I love it. After months of the hot summer sun, I love feeling all warm and cozy in a home with the heat on. . .

Then comes Christmas. . .

It is wonderful and has a warmth all its own. The smells of cinnamon and goodies baking in the oven fill my home. It is delightful, and I wish it would last for months on end. But. . .

it doesn't.

And, after Christmas winter is somewhat void of warmth. The house is still warm, and the occasional snowy day makes for a cozy hot chocolaty like feeling. But, other than that January is simply cold. Period. There are no warm colors or smells that go along with January. I think of cool colors like pale blue and white when I think of January.

But, this January I am determined to make the month feel warm and cozy even if it is dreary and freezing cold outside our door.

My sister in law Cecilia suggested that I cut snowflakes out of white paper with the boys, and I think that I will do that. January is snowmen, snowflakes, and ice. And, we will be celebrating it this year. Doing our best to make it warm and cozy until I see those sweet daffodils peak their little heads up out of the ground declaring to all who see them that spring is near!!!

Today is the last day of my big boys' winter break. Tomorrow they go back to school, and I am dreading that. So, I woke up this morning ready to seize the day!! I let them sit around in their pjs and watch tv this morning. It was a relaxing and fun morning. I decided that any work I needed to do could wait until tomorrow. I was going to think of fun things for them to do!

We ended up at the swing set during Erik Daniel's afternoon nap. I had on my wool coat with the baby monitor in one pocket and my cell phone in the other. But, we weren't there long before it began to sprinkle.

My first inclination was to gather Joshua, James Christofer, and Elijah and head back to the house. After all, it was cold, and now it was wet. The sky was dreary white like it could snow or sleet at any moment.

But, instead of running indoors, we climbed up into the fort attached to our swing set. You would have thought I had taken them to Disneyland! They loved the sound of the rain on the roof! We watched the raindrops hit the pond's water while the boys played that they were pirates at sea caught in a storm. I sat back as if watching us from above and smiled.

There is a certain magic that overtakes me when for a brief second. . .

I see things through their eyes.

I hear the roaring waves, and the fort seems to sway as if being tossed back and forth by big waves. For a moment, I get it. I get them. And, something inside of me connects with them, and for a few moments, I am a little girl again with an imagination very much alive and free. It wasn't that long ago, you know. And, it is so funny how that childlike feeling comes over me every now and then, transports me back, and makes me much more fun in the present! Pure magic!

I don't know that they will remember it, but what a fun memory it is - at least for me! After a few minutes of adventure, we heard Erik Daniel cry on the baby monitor, and the deal is always that when we hear him, we all have to go inside! So, Joshua and JCT climbed down the ladder to get out of the fort. But, the only way Elijah can get down is the slide, so I put him on my lap and slid down the slide sacrificing my dry bottom for his safe descent. And, then we all ran like cold, wet, crazy people should run back to our warm safe haven, a.k.a. home sweet home.

The big boys drew pictures while I made coffee for me and hot chocolate for them. And, it was warm and cozy. Even though there wasn't cinnamon or pumpkins or Christmas decor any where in sight, still it felt warm and cozy!

Clink mugs with me and say, "Here's to January!"

I am determined to love you this year, you cold, dreary month, you. . . I mean, you warm, cozy month, you! :-)

P.S. I have two fun surprises for my crew this evening!! The boys and I are surprising Daddy with chocolate ice cream that we made with my new ice cream maker for dessert!! And, I am surprising my sweet sons by making white cheese dip to go along with our little Mexican dinner tonight! I can't wait! I've never made either of these things before, so I pray they turn out right and taste great!!!

The Sleep Study

Sammy asked me to write about how I get my babies to sleep the night. And, I think it is great that she asked me because I am usually the one polling my friends for advice on everything under the sun. I am a perpetual student, always ready to learn a new tid bit of knowledge that might become useful to me at any time in the next 100 years. I ask questions like there is no tomorrow. So, to be asked a question was kind of an honor to me!

Only, I don't know that I have any great advice to give you, sweet mama, Sammy. I gathered lots of information on this topic before my Joshua was born. I read Babywise and Dr. Sears in order to get both perspectives. I felt that I was somewhere in between the two theories. I didn't want to do the "family bed" thing. And, though I love, love, love routine and schedules, I wasn't up to following babywise to the "t." And, so before I had formulated a plan, he came ~ 2 weeks early ~ perfect and wonderful ~ he came. And, I didn't really follow any particular plan. Three babies later, I am still playing it by ear. If I had to recommend a book that I like, because I am a perpetual student and I love to read nonfiction books, I would recommend Dr. Weisbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Baby.

Anyway, this is what I do from start to finish summed up in however long it takes me to describe it. . .

But, I do have a disclaimer. . . I have never had a baby with colic or reflux or anything like that, so this will probably not help if your baby struggles with tummy issues.

In the hospital I sleep with my babes on my chest. I just think they need to feel my heartbeat! Their little world has been rocked. All that they know has been taken from them. And, the only things familiar to them are the voices of those closest to them and the sound of my heartbeat and the rhythm of my breathing, etc. Besides I want them to be warm and comfortable and feel super loved as they are adjusting to this new phase of life ~ outside the womb!

When we get home, they sleep in a pack and play beside my bed. And, I pretty much let them determine their schedule. I feed them every 2-3 hours during the day. This is one of the few things in life that I am very layed back and relaxed about. I don't watch the clock very closely. If my baby acts hungry after only an hour and a half, then I am going to feed him! And, I rarely wake a sleeping baby unless it cannot be avoided!

At night, the way I do things is pretty routine. I nurse them in bed. So, when I hear the little one begin to stir, I go ahead and get him (I don't want to let the baby cry and wake up Erik). Then, I put the little one in our bed, nurse him, usually he falls asleep, then I slip him back into the pack and play. And, I go back to sleep. Some of my babies stayed asleep when I layed them down, some liked for me to rock them for 5-10 minutes before I lay them down. By 3-4 months I usually don't need to rock anymore, they just go back to sleep on their own. They've learned the routine. And, if they haven't, if they continually wake up and cry when I put them back in the pack and play after feeding them, then I let them cry a bit. Sometimes they just need to work it out on their own, and then they will fall into a peaceful sleep.

With each child, I ask God to give me wisdom to know how to care for this individual child best ~ when to rock them and when to let them cry and for how long. And, you know what? He always pricks my heart and lets me know. I can't explain it, but He always lets me know just what to do.

Eventually all my guys do the same thing. . . First they wake up twice at night ~ once between 12 & 2, and then again one more time between 4 & 6. Then, a few months later they drop one of those feedings and wake up once between 3 & 4. And, eventually they drop that feeding. As long as they go back to sleep easily after I feed them, I don't care how long they draw out the nighttime feedings. Usually it is around 8 to 9 months for us. But, Joshua was done with nighttime feedings by 2 months. So, like I said, each child is different.
As far as nap time/daytime routines go, again I just go with the flow. I let them kind of do their own thing. If they act even halfway sleepy, I put them down. By four months, where I am now with Erik Daniel, he has fallen into a morning nap, an afternoon nap, and an evening nap routine. All my kids have done the same thing. Then, eventually the evening nap goes. And, at around 13-15 months the morning nap goes. But, I let their need for sleep determine when I drop the evening and morning naps. Every child is unique and has unique needs. And, that is why all of this may be of no help to you, Sammy. You have to do what is best for your little man and for you. Every situation is unique.

Babies/kids love routine and if you let them and guide them gently, they will fall into a routine perfect for both of you.

Routines and schedules are awesome, but if you try to be rigid or forceful, well, you will probably end up feeling like you are beating your head up against a wall. Because if there is one thing I have learned in my 5 1/2 years of motherhood, it is that kids are not textbook material. There is no magic formula that works for every child. And, you will never rely on God more than you will as a mother. Period. He is the only one with the answers we need as mothers. No other mother or book or friend or grandparent can tell you how to correctly rear your child. That is between you, your husband, and God. It is a journey, an adventure, that will lead us straight to God's heart if we choose to seek His face as we parent. Because, after all, He is the ultimate parent! And, He created your little one, so He knows his inner workings, and He loves you both very much!

You learn a lot about their little personalities as you wade through these sleepy waters. Some babes have great inner strength, and they want what they want when they want it! And, some babes are more layed back, compliant, bending and going with the flow. . .

But, if I could say one thing to you, it would be ~ enjoy. Whatever issues you and your little one face ~ enjoy him. Never again will you have one baby to dote on and get silly over. I long for moments alone with Erik Daniel, moments to hold him and talk softly to him. Those moments are few and far between when there are older siblings. Your baby will fall into a routine. He will mature and grow, and he will eventually sleep all night. So, enjoy the baby days. They go by so fast, and they are so sweet!!!!!! Rub his little fuzzy head, kiss his chubby cheeks, listen quietly to his precious coos and giggles, hold his tiny little feet in the palm of your hand, and tickle his cute little belly!! Babies are the best fun ever!!!!
Best of luck to you and your sweet one!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Merry Christmas, Sweet Rain, Merry Christmas. . .

This year we got you a wonderful, well deserved, extra large, therapeutic dog bed from Orvis, and we even got it monogrammed just for you, our good, good boy.

In your almost 11 years of life you have been our extraordinary companion. You were a part of our family before I was. Erik bought you the year before we were married. He bought you, he says, because I wanted a dog terribly, and I knew that my Dad would not let me have one while I lived at home. But, I believe that Erik had selfish motives in buying you, as well. That is if you call desiring companionship selfish ~ which really that isn't selfish at all. He bought you, and for one year the two of you were bachelors together. And, Erik loved you well ~ and disciplined you well, too, I might add. And, that is why you are the kind hearted, well behaved dog that you are today.

So, a year after Erik brought you home, he married me and brought me home to live with the two of you. You graciously accepted me into the family. Mainly because Erik was in the middle of residency, and I spent the most time with you. We got along well ~ except maybe for the time when you ate my favorite pair of Birkenstocks. I woke up one morning only to find pieces of that cork like substance all over the bedroom floor. And, I remember rolling over the other way thinking to myself, "Well, the honeymoon is over. . ."

But, it didn't take long for the three of us to become inseparable. When we moved to Florida for Erik's fellowship, we specifically looked for a place to rent that would allow us to keep you. We were not about to get rid of our big 75 pound baby! We found a place with a tiny little strip of land the owner called a backyard, but since he was okay with us bringing you along, we took it.

A year later we moved to the small town in the country that we still call home today. I'll never forget the day we moved in! We got you out of the car and set you free to run on our new 7 acre home! I took a picture of you that day as you ran and ran like a crazy dog!! But, as much as you love to run, you are an indoor dog through and through, a big, spoiled baby. You only go out for a few walks a day, and if your paws get the least bit dirty, we clean them for you upon your reentry to our home.
You were our first baby.

But, a year and a half after we moved you to the country, we rocked your world once again. We brought sweet Joshua home to live with us. And, you handled the transition beautifully. You loved our baby, and you still love him and his little brothers, too.
Well, you tolerate them anyway.
Sometimes, I think I see you roll your sweet doggy eyes when they try to climb on your back or pull your long velvety ears. Erik and I laugh each time we bring another little one home to you. We usually say to each other what we think you must be thinking. . .
"Another kid, are you people kidding me? You're killing me. A dog can only take so much."
But, in reality, you have handled each new transition with grace. You have come to realize that if only you will be patient, the babies grow up to be quite generous with their food. You no longer sit by Erik and I during dinner. You position yourself strategically beneath the highchair because you know that this is where the food will fall.
I love you, Rain. I hope you know that. We have spent nearly every waking moment together for years on end. And, because of that, you are sort of a part of me. I know that I get frustrated with you when you bark uncontrollably at a bird flapping her wings across the street during nap time. But, truly, I adore you.
You are to me companionship, security, and comfort. You are companionship because in some sort of strange way you are like having another adult in the house on those long afternoons when I count down the hours until Erik gets home. You are my floppy eared friend. You are security because in as much as I hate your bark when it threatens to wake my little ones, it also gives me peace of mind that you are on guard and ready to protect our family. You are comfort to me at the end of the day when I sit on the couch, talk to my sweet husband, and pet your soft silky fur.
Thanks, Rain, our good, good boy. Thanks for putting up with us all these years.
I hope you love your new bed, sweet boy. Enjoy!

My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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