Thursday, January 23, 2014

Well hello, there.

For the last two months, I've been sharing my experience with GD with you, but I swear - I didn't plan on that being the only thing you heard from me for the end of the year. As it turns out - three kids is no joke!

Since newborns are pretty sleepy, I'm usually doing a lot of the slow down & enjoy things in life - like reading, watching movies, and blogging. And I've gotten some of that done, but for the most part - life has been crazy. That's the thing about having a third newborn - it means there are two other kids! Despite my husband being on paternity leave for 8 weeks, it was still very difficult to care for and please everyone involved, and a lot of things just had to give!

The baby is 12 weeks old now (I promise, a formal introduction is in the works), and he's really not coming out of his newborn-ness very much. He's a bit refluxy and all around needy - you know how some babies are just sort of on autopilot? Not this one. I've tried my best to just relish that. There's got to be a lesson somewhere in there, right? And there's a very real chance that he's the last of my newborns, so why would I squander a single moment of that? But it makes every day life, and my involvement in anything, more difficult to handle. Once in a while, I miss the ease of life when my first two kept a loose schedule and napped at the same time and played together while I got something done. But some form of that will be my reality again, probably before I'm ready to say goodbye to this squishy baby stage of life, so I do my best.

While I was busy healing and taking care of my babe, so much has happened!

#1. I had a baby!
I'm sorry, but I'm going to be stingy and withhold details. He deserves his own post. Trust me, it would be too adorable, and you'd be so distracted you wouldn't read anything else! But, you'll get to see other glimpses of him. So...compromise! ;)

#2. Halloween happened.
It happened 6 days after our little guy was born, actually. My cuties donned their Avengers-themed costumes, and looked crazy adorable doing so (Lukas was Iron Man, Henry was Captain America, and the baby was The Hulk). Since I was 6 days out of surgery, I stayed at home with my little guy and my mom. Our plan was to hand out candy, but NOT ONE child came to my house! It was raining, but it was very warm out (like almost 70!), so I was surprised we didn't get a single trick or treater. Meanwhile, Matt took the kids to trick or treat around his parents' neighborhood, and they had a blast. Apparently, they shared their first "dump their buckets and trade candy" experience, and I totally missed it. I was so sad about that - but I expect 2014's Halloween to be even better!

#3. Then came Thanksgiving.
Oye, holidays with a tiny baby are rough. Thanksgiving dinner is always held at my mom's house, thankfully, which means there's not a whole lot of cleaning for us to do - but I cook a large share of dinner, and I still had to make my contribution! The night before, the boys helped me make a chocolate peanut butter pie (YUM!), and I had one of those surreal Mommy moments. I was wearing the baby in the carrier while the other two helped and asked to lick spoons and bowls and I just thought - this is what I'm thankful for. I still smile when I think about it!

The next morning, we spent some time watching the parade, doing a heafty bit of early Black Friday shopping online, and then I got to work cooking apple sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, cream cheese stuffed celery, and the chocolate ganache needed to top my peanut butter pie. Dinner was delicious and fabulous - my kids basically ate turkey and cranberry sauce, the kind that slides out of the can in a solid block and still looks like a can, followed by too much dessert - but that's what the holidays are for, right? The tryptophan made it to my breastmilk in record time, and the baby slept through most of the evening. My mom gifted the boys with their Christmas pj's, and after some yummy decaf coffee and visiting with family, we came home bearing delicious leftovers. They're the best part of Thanksgiving - amiright?!

#4. You guessed it, Christmas time.
We're pretty big on Christmas around here. The celebration starts the day after Thanksgiving, usually around 6am when I get up to do some adventurous Black Friday shopping in the cold. This year it was snowy and chilly and felt so much like the holidays I remembered as a kid. I did my shopping with my sister, and when I got home - it was time to set up the tree and welcome Christmas into our home! We've got a family elf (Snowflake Little Bear), who arrives on Black Friday every year, and every day after is filled with watching Christmas specials, playing in the snow, drinking hot cocoa, and unwrapping advent books to be read around the tree together. I felt very crunched and rushed through our celebrations this year - life with a newborn will do that to ya! I had to hold him through all of his naps (ahem, I still do), so everything from gift wrapping to decorating, baking, and playing with the kids was an enormous, carefully planned chore. And wouldn't ya know it, two days before the big day - the kids and I all came down with a head cold! Figures. I wish that were the worst of it, but we ended up catching the nasty stomach bug that's going around and spent the evening of Christmas Day & the entire following day in bed, horridly nauseous and feverish. BUT, there were still many magical moments, which I'll share with you soon (promise!).

#5. A New Year Started
We didn't have any extravagant plans for NYE - we never really do. Usually we get some steaks to grill and camp out with the kids in the living room until they get crazy. This year, though, everyone was getting over being sick, and we treated it almost like a normal night. We did get our steaks, and we watched a movie before bed and put the kids down like we normally do. At dinner, we all clinked glasses and wished each other a Happy New Year. Matt said to me, "Did you ever picture your New Years Eve celebrations like this? Eating a steak we grilled at home in our pjs, clinking glasses with sippy cups?" I replied, "Actually, yes. This is all I ever wanted. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else!"

The baby was taking a very out of the ordinary nap on his own, which gave Matt and I some time to snuggle up together and admire our pretty Christmas tree once the kids were in bed. We hadn't had any time alone to enjoy the holidays, so I really cherished this moment. On the first day of 2014, I made big plans for all of the various endeavors in my life, and wrote out a daily schedule to help me accomplish them. It's been less than three weeks, but so far everything is looking great, and I'm feeling very positive about this year! Are you? It just seems like such a fresh, happy, strong year. I'm feelin' it!!

#6. We had a Polar Vortex Blizzard!
It wasn't much of a blizzard in terms of accumulation. We weren't locked in our house by snow drifts or anything, but the wind chills were near -30F and the view outside our windows was a total whiteout for hours and hours. Thankfully we knew it was coming, so we stocked up on groceries a few days before, ran through all of our dishes and laundry and pulled out candles in case of a power outage, and we all stayed home - snuggled and warm, just watching nature do its brutal thing outside our windows.

#7. I started WW again.
I always like to wait for my babies to be about 8 weeks old before I work to shed my baby weight to make sure breastfeeding is solid, they're past the most fragile phase of their life, and I'm fully healed. So I let myself sort of do whatever I wanted through the holidays, and a few days later, I started my diet. Weight Watchers has always been very successful for me - I've lost 35 pounds on it twice now, after both of my first babies. I've lost 9 pounds so far (whoo hoo!), and I've got about 29 to go. I tell you all of this to let you know that WW related recipes and posts will be making an appearance here and there, so if you're in the same boat or holding strong to your new year's resolutions and want any insight or have any to share - I'm all in!

#8. I started playing Minecraft!
Why yes I AM going to to turn 30 this year. But you see...I am married to a video game fanatic. In our earlier days, we'd spend whole days playing games (I'd be playing The Sims while he flipped through various games, and sometimes we played Sim City together). As the years have gone on, video games are one of the things I've dropped. Once in a while we'll find something to do as a family. For a while it was Lego Harry Potter. Then Santa brought Minecraft for Luke this year, as well as Disney Infinity - and I've been playing with him ever since. When the baby takes naps in my lap, I can easily hold a controller and get some quality time in with my oldest. He adores it, and it's really fun to watch his mind work. Minecraft is surprisingly addicting - in a repeatedly doing mundane tasks and finding it fulfilling, sort of way. We know a lot of family members that also play Minecraft, so we sometimes join them in virtual Minecraft parties and it becomes a big family affair. I'm not ashamed ;)

The rest of my time has been spent nursing, changing diapers, snuggling my baby, doing my various part time gigs, and struggling to keep up with my house between all of it. But you know what? I am happy, I am fulfilled, I am inspired, and I am surprisingly well-rested. I hope you're the same :)

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