Friday, August 31, 2012

More biking. Total coincidence that the middle girls' bikes match their shirts.  Tali is constantly asking to go for a bike ride since upgrading to this two-wheeler.
 The girls dorm. It been working out to have all the girls in the same room. I lay down with them for naps and at bedtime until they fall asleep or I do. ;) I then get up and do chores or go to bed in my own room. We keep rearranging based on who needs what. Amanda used to sleep in the big bed with me but she was driving me bonkers with her wiggling. Tali used to be in a crib but she made so much noise banging the bars. This bed is much quieter. In fact, she managed to sneak out the first night and go play in the bathroom. At that point, I pushed the double bed right up next to her bed so she had to crawl over me to get out. Of course, I forgot to move that stool from the end of her bed so she still was able to get out without climbing on me. Tali has the most sleep trouble. She wakes up crying often. For a while there, she would wake up and stay wake for two hours. Calling out for me about every 1/2 hr with a different need: drink, potty, cover me up, can't find my bunny, etc. One night she even said, "I just want to BE with YOU!" Sweet, but I started making her get up and take care of everything at once.
 For the most part, they don't wake each other up. No, they usually wake up at different times during the night instead of all getting up together. Julia sleeps in the large walk-in closet. I can lay down in the big bed and nurse her if she needs to and then put her down to go to sleep.  When we first move here, she was still needing to be rocked to sleep and it was a two-hour process. Laying down to nurse her was really helpful and shortly after moving here she began sucking her thumb.  Now she usually goes to sleep very quietly. There is a baby monitor in the closet so I can hear her right away if she wakes up and she won't wake the other girls. There is also a noise machine going in the closet and a fan in the big room to help drown out the extra noises.

 Here's we are playing more Pooh Sticks. This is our new favorite park.  It's really close to our house with a playground, paved trails, hiking and this fun bridge which crosses over to another playground near my aunt and uncle's house.

 The bridge is pretty high up from the water so it was a little tricky to see the pine cones. Maybe we'll try sticks next time.
 I still push Julia in the double stroller. I looked into buying a single stroller since the little girls ride their bikes but this stroller has the best sun shades and there's room for extra stuff. Plus I figured out how to get it to fit underneath Julia and Tali's seats in the van so there's room for the bikes in the back.
 Julia is seven months now. She has been rolling all over and is getting up on her hands and knees a little. We've never had room to keep a play yard in the living room so I didn't think of setting one up until just recently. It's nice to keep the baby spit-up off the carpet and I don't have to worry about Julia getting into the little stuff that the girls leave laying around.  Julia is over 22 lbs which means she moved up to a convertible car seat. She is wearing 18 month clothing.  Winter is going to be a little tricky because she has a very long and chubby torso but short arms so the sleeves are too long.  A few times, she's woken me up because she couldn't get to her thumb because the sleeve of her jammies had unrolled.

She is just starting to sit up a little better by herself for brief periods. My babies who are mobile early tend to not like to practicing sitting. They'd rather just roll over and MOVE! She seems really interested in what we are eating but I am SOOOO not ready to deal with that whole mess yet.  We'll keep her on just milk for a little while longer.

I just took Tali to the potty for the third time since about 3:30 am. It's now 5:30 am. I'm going to try to get a bit more sleep but it's likely that Ana will be waking up soon. I usually have her lay on a mat in our room when she gets up so early. One by one, everyone ends up in our room until I decide it's time to get up because there's hope of any one falling back to sleep. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

On Friday, Tali asked to ride the little two-wheeled bike with training wheels that was hanging up in the garage. We were so happy because she was soooooo slow on her trike.  It's nice to have so much tar in the new neighborhood. Just a ways down the street there's a nice loop. Bigger than a cul de sac but hardly any traffic.  We go around and around the loop.  One day, a neighbor girl stopped by offering her baby sitting skills.  I asked her to come in and start right away. Ha, ha! I've found it works best to split the girls up. She can take one or two to the park or stay home with Julia and Amanda while I take the little girls for a ride, etc.  She has taken Amanda down to ride around the loop too.
 Mike's aunt gave the girls a set of Winnie the Pooh pop-up books and one of the books had the story of a game called Pooh Sticks. It started out with Pooh and Piglet dropping pine cones off the bridge on one side and then running to the other to see which one came out first. They eventually switched to using sticks, hence the name, Pooh Sticks. This afternoon we headed out in search of a bridge where we could safely play Pooh Sticks with pine cones since we have so many in our yard.  Of course, collecting a bucketful of pine cones was part of the fun.  Anyways, we ended up at the culvert on the little road we lived on when Tony and Tyler were little.  I'll have to find the picture of Tony and Tyler at the creek shortly before we moved away.
The girls were so silly. They had more fun tossing the pine cones in and then running over to the other side and down the embankment and then back up again. They wouldn't even wait to see the pine cones come through the culvert. It's a miracle nobody ended up in the water.

I had my camera with but it ran out of batteries so these pictures are from Mike's phone.  It's actually much easier to get photos off his phone than off my camera so I might have him take pictures more often. I should really go catch a couple hours of sleep while I can.  That's all I ever get these days.  It seems to be enough because I'm still keeping everybody alive and well fed. ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Frog, Five and the Fair

 Yes, that's a frog on my kitchen wall. No, it did not get there by itself. Apparently boys never outgrow bringing pets into the house.
 The girls had so much fun getting ready for Tyler's party by blowing up balloons and coloring signs. I thought they would enjoy doing those things for Amanda's birthday just for fun.  She was pretty disappointed to learn that "all those people" weren't going to be coming to her party too. Now that I have a five year old, I'm feeling that "school" pressure.  Like I should be organized and disciplined. The things people assume I am just because I have the desire to homeschool my children. Ha! She is reading and even wrote a sentence by herself. "Amanda Mare can rid with no tran wels."  (Amanda Marie can ride with no training wheels.)
We spent three mornings and one evening enjoying the fair. It's been intensive animal therapy for Ana.  I'm happy to report she no longer screams in terror at the sight of any animal. She even petted a few animals briefly. The first day we were there, I was working at a prolife booth so my mom took the girls two at a time through the barns and buildings. 
 These baby pigs were so cute. Only a few days old.
 Ana stuck pretty close to me when I was with her.

 We got Mike to come with us one night.
 The kids watched as baby chicks broke through their shells and then were moved to the bigger pen.

 Julia was such a good girl in the stroller or wrap. Such a happy baby!

 We found this little guy on our hunt for a cow for Amanda to milk. He is so funny!  We never did find a cow for her to milk but she got to try milking a goat.  She wasn't really satisfied with squeezing out a little bit of milk. I think she really wanted to fill up a bucket and bring some milk home.
We watched our friend show her horse, Gabby, in Lead Line. We were going to try that with my sister's horse but my sister broke her leg at the beginning of the summer and wasn't up for showing this year.
 Amanda got to ride Gabby for a bit after the class.
I haven't been to this fair in years. We lived at the fair as kids. We showed horses, were in 4-H, helped with the food booths and dunk tank and my mom always set up the pro-life booth.  Being there brought back so many good memories.  I'm starting to feel like it's really good to be back home.

Catching up

Water balloons!
Pool time at Tyler's party.

Julia and her buddy Niko

Attacking Tyler with silly string
One more hugs from Tyler before he left

Swimming with cousins
Ana finally enjoying the water

Tali was fearless in the water
Amanda practicing going under water

Getting in some riding

Amanda and Gabby
T-ball for Amanda and cousin Reilly
My sister-in-law made Amanda's shirt

Amanda riding with no training wheels.

We've been very busy enjoying summer and being in our hometown near family and old friends.  Since the girls are all in the same room, I have been laying down with them at bed and naptime which means very little computer time.  I've often considered completely giving up on blogging but here I am. ;)    

Hair Update

Our two favorite protective styles for the girls. Mini twists for Anai using conditioner or shea-aloe. These last for about two weeks. I add conditioner most days and wash once a week. It takes about two hours to do. I don't do them all at once. We have to turn on a video so all the girls are sitting quietly. If the other girls aren't sitting quietly Ana is trying to see what they are doing. 

Spiral banding for Amanda. She doesn't like any of her hair to be loose, flopping or touching her neck. This style is nice and tight to her head and fits under her bike helmet. I start with a section of hair at the crown of her head and band sections in a spiral towards the outside. I use lots of conditioner to detangle as I go. This style can last a week or maybe a little more.  It is a little tricky to wash though so I usually redo it once a week. I think it takes around an hour and she can read or draw or do other things.  I can even read to her over her shoulder sometimes.