Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet Sisters

Aren't they sweet!?

Mike's aunt from Virginia shipped us a big box of hand-me downs that included these cute little dresses. Tali's wearing the 3-6 month sized dress and Christiana is wearing 6-9 months. The box also incuded the perfect long-sleeve outfits for Christiana and footed-sleepers for Talitha. It was such a blessing. Now, if it would only warm up a bit more so we can enjoy all the adorable summer clothes the girls have received. It was so cool last summer that the only time Amanda wore her cute summer dresses was when we were in Florida.

Bring on the the sunshine!

Our Special Friend

We first spotted this little guy in May of 2008 and then again in November 2008. When I first saw him climbing around in the trees I couldn't figure out what kind of animal he was because he is missing a tail. He looked like a rabbit climbing a tree and with short ears.

It has been said that animals with a deformity or injury don't tend to live very long but this little guy seems to be doing alright for himself and pretty content to stay in the neighborhood.

Chicken Pox

We just might have chicken pox at our house. Amanda has a few spots that started on her inner thighs, belly and back. The next day there were some on her shoulder and neck. I didn't notice a fever or cold type symtoms because we were already recovering from a cold. So far, she doesn't seem too bothered by them and only scratches occasionally. I wonder how this will develop.

I posted some more of Tyler's art work on our school blog.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Story Time

After watching some little boys reading books on another blog, Amanda asked me to video tape her "reading" books. Here she is reading "Jesus is with Me" by Debbie Anderson.

This one is "Jesus Loves Me" by Debbie Anderson. She starts out by singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" but then goes along with the rest of the book.

And finally, this is a book of Mother Goose rhymes. She always has to count the old woman's children.

Thanks for the inspiration, Davene!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nine Months

At nine months old, Christiana weighs 16 lbs 13 ozs and she's 27 in. tall. She's in the 32 % for weight and 17 % for height. She's actually up on her percentile for weight and when you look at her graph you can see that her weigh growth was slower during the time when she's drinking only soy formula.

We've started solid foods and she definitely has a preference for sweet foods like applesauce and bananas. She's tried peas, yams, carrots, avocados, bananas, applesauce, oatmeal and ground beans, rice puffs, broccoli. She's still getting the hang of eating and will slup stuff off the spoon but if she happens to have her mouth open and I shove a bite in, she pushes it right out with her tongue. She doesn't self feed yet and I am reluctant to try because the thought of having more cereal falling to the floor to be ground underfoot is not appealing. However, I think I may just put her on a sheet on the floor and give her some cereal that way if she gives a wild swat with her arm, her food won't all go flying out of reach.

She's very happy and spunky and loves her sister. She is very vocal and smiles big when we begin to sing "Jesus Love Me." She takes two naps during the day around 9 am and 1 pm. She goes to bed between 6 and 7 pm and sleeps until 7 or 8 am.

She is rolling and sitting well by herself. I will put her on her hands and knees to show her how to crawl but she doesn't go anywhere yet. That's probably a good thing.

Two Months

At two months, Talitha weighs 12 lb. 13 oz. and is 22 3/4 in. tall. She is in the 93rd % for her weight and 67th % for her height. She nurses every three to four hours during the day and often goes six or seven hours at night. Our schedule has developed into a more predictable routine and I finally quit writing down when everybody ate and I pumped. I had kept a log since I came home from the hospital in order to keep track of everyone.
In the last week, she has become so much more smiley and responsive the everyone and began to coo. I have a hard time putting her to bed in the late evening and middle of the night because I really enjoy that quiet time with her when nobody else is needing my attention. She is getting much better at falling asleep on her own. She'll fuss for a little bit when I first put her down, but she usually falls right asleep unless she has a burp or a dirty diaper.
She no longer cries the minute we put her in her carseat and that's a huge blessing.
When I was talking to my cousin about how I keep forgetting that Tali not adopted she mentioned that Tali is probably going to be confused about that, too. She going to have this shocking moment of revelation, "What do you mean I'm NOT adopted?" Oh well, we all have our own trauma that we need to overcome.

Monday, April 19, 2010

So Happy!

Talitha has begun to really make eye contact and smile more frequently these days. Night or day, whenever she catches my eye, she immediately smiles. She even does a little bit of cooing. It's so nice to have her make noise that isn't crying.

With both my other girls, having them smile and coo at me like this was so significant because I felt like it was a sign that they were really bonding well. So, when Tali started smiling more often at me, I had the same thought, "Oh, good! She's really bonding to me." Have I mentioned I often forget that she's not adopted?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Woodpecker Jam

Lest you think we don't do anything besides wash dishes and do photo shoots at our house...

It feels like I haven't posted much from our everyday life on the blog much, but the reality is, we don't do much besides feed babies and clean up after babies. Mike's been really busy at work so the weeks just drag right into the weekend and then start over again. It was nice to have a little time to just hang out with him this weekend.

Last Sunday, we embarked on quite an adventure. I had plans to drop off some more breast milk and needed some personal things; things I just couldn't put on the list for Mike to grab. We also needed all the regular groceries and the boys needed hair cuts. Mike ran to work while we napped after church and told me to call him when we were up and wanted to leave. Nobody napped very long so I called him to come home. As soon as he got home, he started piling kids and stuff in the car. I still needed to nurse Tali and get dressed. He came in and let me know that there were kids sitting in the hot car waiting for me. I realized I failed to communicate that I called him home to help me get the show on the road, not that I was ready to get the show on the road.

I nursed Tali quickly and packed her up. She wasn't happy with the incomplete feeding and cried on and off most of the way to town. The boys chickened out on the hair cuts so I suggested they go out to eat so I could have some time to nurse Tali before shopping. I had planned to do that while they got their hair cut.

We have to take Christiana's car seat out in order for the boys to get out of the back of the van, so I asked Mike to take her inside with him. She would stay happy in her "bucket" if she could be rocked; maybe not so much if she was left sitting in the car with me. I'm sure Mike was quite a sight with his two little girls and teenage boys. By the way, I'm all for women having the right to breastfeed in public but my van was just so much more comfortable and convenient.

After everybody was done eating (Mike brought a salad out to me), we headed off to do the shopping. Mike dropped me off at the bulls-eye store and he headed to wally-world. I had Christiana in my wrap and snapped Tali's car seat into the stroller frame. As we were unpacking, Mike said, "We're not going to do this very often, are we?" No, probably not. I had accounted for how to take care of the girls while shopping but had not accounted for all the stuff I planned to buy. I made it work and at the check-out some one offered to help me.

Meanwhile, I had gotten a call that my breast milk contact had made it to town and was wondering where to connect with me. Mike was just about finished with the shopping so he agreed to meet her. This is where it got a little tricky. Mike's buying groceries for our larger than average family, there's already a cooler full of breast milk in the van and we're supposed to be getting a cooler back from the last time we exchanged milk, plus there is all the stuff I was buying and the stroller frame. All of a sudden our eight passenger van seemed really small. Thankfully, she had forgotten our cooler and the one she had was too small so she needed to take our other cooler.

In the end we survived, but we learned it's definitely worth the extra gas money for us to go separately if that's necessary. And usually it's not.

Mike and the girls and the woodpecker who was playing along.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mama and Manda...

...after playing with Tyler's hair straightener.

I couldn't believe the difference it made in Amanda's hair. It was so much easier to comb through and then put into ponies. However, when I took out the ponies a few days later, it seems like I brushed out a lot more hair than usual. I'm wondering if the iron damaged her hair or if it just looked like more because it was straight and not in a curly little ball.
Here's how Tyler likes to do his hair these days. Do you notice any thing else new with Tyler?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Christiana's New Room

Having Christiana sleep in Amanda's room just didn't work out. She just couldn't nap while being able to hear us in the bathroom or living room. Also, Amanda has been waking up to go potty at night which was just too disturbing for Christiana. However, sleeping in Amanda's closet has been working great.

It was a huge project to clean everything out. Amanda's dresser was in there as well as all the boxes of unsorted clothing. The house was a huge disaster while I worked on that project. I think I have everything sorted and organized now. The only thing left is figuring out where to keep Christiana's socks. And it just dawned on me to move the crib sheets and mattress pads out of the Amanda's dresser and into the bathroom closet. Then I would have one more drawer for the socks, shoes and hats. That would work.
This is Christiana getting ready for bed. She is wiggly, giggly and all around goofy. There is no rocking her sweetly until she snuggles in and yawns like we did with Amanda. I just give her hugs, kisses and snuggles and plop her into bed. She laughs, squirms and twists until I turn out the light and walk out the door. Unless, she sick and crabby like this week. Then she complains loudly! But I can count on her going to bed the most out of all three of the girls.

She's also the first one to bed. She had been falling asleep at 5:30 pm or so and then sleeping through the night if I didn't wake her up around 8 pm for another feeding. That meant she was only have three bottles during the day. That just didn't seem like enough. So, I've been keeping her up until 6 or 7 pm, about three hours after waking up from her afternoon nap, giving her one more bottle and then putting her right to bed. She will often sleep until close to 9 am, but that's not a great schedule for us, so I'm going to try to get her up earlier.

She is eating more food. Bananas mixed with avocados and baby oatmeal seem to be well tolerated. We tried mashed broccoli and she did not like that. We'll try carrots when I get a chance to cook some up. She still prefers to slurp the food off the spoon so it's pretty time consuming. If I try to get her to open her mouth and then give her a mouth full she always pushes it right back out with her tongue. So, it's a slow process, but Amanda appreciates having company at the table again. Amanda had often been eating at the table alone while I was nursing or feeding a baby in the living room. She would have to stand up in her chair to see me over the back of the couch. She will eat more quickly with company.

The plan is to to feed myself, Christiana and Amanda before Tali wakes up. Then when it's nap time and bed time, Christiana goes to bed first, then Amanda, then Tali, then me. At least, that's the plan for now.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Art Show

Last week, Christiana and I got out to go see Tyler's display at the school art show. Mike's brother has lived with us a couple of times and taught the boys how to do comic book drawing. Tyler has spent many hours perfecting his technique. He recently found a book of old drawings and went through and re-drew each picture to show how much he had improved.

It was fun to go out with just Christiana. I wish I had planned for more time, but it just didn't work out. The reaction from my friends that I ran into were: "I can't believe you were able to get out of the house!" and "Where are the rest of them?"
And not to be out done by his brother, here's Tony's recent art work. At least, I'm assuming that's Tony. If I find strange photo's on my camera, he usually deserves the credit.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Litter Picking

Alternately titled: What Mike and the boys did on Easter Sunday.
There were no Easter egg hunts attended by our family this year. That has never been a big part of our Easter celebrations. Mike and the boys did find themselves hunting through the ditches along two miles of state highway looking for litter, however.

My mom came on Friday and took Tony with her for the weekend. She had work and fun planned for him. After church on Sunday, Mike headed up north to go get him and check the beaver traps that had been set on Saturday. The beaver traps had already been checked, so when my mom asked Mike if he would go litter picking with her, he said, "Sure."

Our family has been picking up this stretch of roadway for...

Well, we officially signed up for the Adopt-a-Highway program in 1990. We were involved with two stretches of road; one with our teen pro-life group and one with our church youth group. We used to have litter pick-up days where a large group of teens would do the high way and then go horseback riding and have a bar-b-que. As we grew up and parents became more concerned about safety than virtue, it was harder to get kids out there. So, our family ended up being the ones who picked the stretches.

This was not a big deal because we had been picking up that stretch of roadway long before Adopt-a-Highway. My grandpa had unofficially adopted most of the 15 mile route from "Town" to "the Lake" and the additional 8-10 miles to our house. Every spring, we helped clean up those stretches of roadway after the snow melted and before the grass grew too tall and the mosquitoes came out. We had been doing that for as long as I can remember.

However, my grandpa started the litter pick-up long before I was born. There are pictures from the sixties when his kids were in high-school of Litter Bees. He organized days was when the kids from his science classes all went out to pick up litter.

His work on the county highway that leads to our family's lake cabin was so well-known and appreciated that after his passing, there was talk by some of the residents along the road of renaming the road after him. Even in his declining years when he could no longer drive and it was difficult for him to walk because of his Parkinson's, I would take him out driving along this county road. He would tell me when to pull over and pick up garbage that he saw along the road. Some people take their grandpas out to lunch. Me? I took my grandpa litter picking. It made him happy.

We settled for reassigning the Adopt-a-Highway sign to reflect who was actually picking up the litter. "Teens For Life" wasn't really accurate any more.

So, when Mike came home and told me that he had gone out litter picking with my mom on Sunday afternoon, he knew how much it meant to me but he loved hearing me say it anyways.

I love you, Honey!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Food and Phobias

Updated with labels.

Christiana's reaction to avocados, her first food.
Can you guess which girl has developed a fear of each of the following:
Bugs or Anything That Looks Like a Bug- Amanda
Falling Asleep Alone- Talitha
Balloons- Christiana
The Laundry Room- Christiana
Guitars- Christiana
Being Out of Arms Reach of Mom or Dad- Amanda
Each of the above results in blood-curdling screams from one of the girls. As if things weren't loud enough at our house.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Amanda is 2 1/2, Christiana is 9 months and Talitha is 6 weeks.