Sunday, May 30, 2010

I totally forgot ...

... how absolutely exhausting little ones are once they start moving. Wow. I can't take my eyes off Chloe for one second before she is pulling everything off the tall shelves or smacking a cup into the TV or eating ants off the kitchen floor. It is so exhausting!

How could I forget this?? Carter is only 3 1/2, it's not like it's been THAT long.

It doesn't help that the kids now go outside to play pretty much every day. Now don't get me wrong, I love taking them outside. More playing outside = less mess inside, not to mention less crabby moods for everyone. (And a chance for me to talk with grown-ups.) But it also means 2 mommy eyes CONSTANTLY scanning the horizon to make sure everyone is safe, kind, and in the general vicinity. Boy, it wears me out. Maybe it isn't so much Chloe getting around as it is dealing with 3 kids who all seem to run in opposite directions. And all have a habit of talking (or squawking) at once. And now summer is coming and that means all three will be home with me all. day. long.

So ... now that I am mostly sleeping through the night, I am just as tired as ever.

But hey, let's look at the bright side. If I was NOT sleeping through the night .... imagine how tired I would be then!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Girls Gone Wild

Now just for fun ... a little video of Chloe & Audrey. Please do not call family services on me for allowing Audrey to do this ... all I can say is that my prediction is Chloe is going to be a rollercoaster girl.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Changes, Chapter 2, 3, 4, et al.

See this cute little boy?

Notice anything different about him? No?

He is officially potty trained.
Just call him Captain Underpants!
Good bye diapers!

(Well, good bye Carter diapers ... we still have little Chloe size ones :) )

Speaking of Chloe ...

Align Center
Notice anything different about this little cutie?

Well, it seems to me like every day I can notice something different about her. Today she discovered pulling up to the TV and using the shelf as a teether ... Daddy will not be happy ....

...AND, as far as changes go
... here is a box of toys and clothes that Chloe will never use again.
In fact, these are things that none of our children will ever use again ... (sniff sniff)

Moving right along lest I start bawling like a baby...

See this pile of dirt?
(Now known as our garden ...)

Well, tonight we ate the following with our dinner - all from this pile of dirt ...


And lettuce for our salad!

And - some freshly picked flowers from a special little girl!

One more very important change:

See this tired Mama?

She is now getting a full night's sleep!

See? Sometimes change IS a good thing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Notice anything different about this girl?


How about now?

She got her ears pierced yesterday.

Riding around on two wheels, finishing up kindergarten, getting her ears pierced...these last few weeks are full of changes!

My little girl is not so little anymore. :/

[Although tonight she was upset because a cat in a book illustration looked sad.
So maybe she is still kinda little ... maybe? ]

Monday, May 17, 2010

10 months old

The months continue to fly by... and our little girl is just 2 months shy of her first birthday already.

So what is she up to these days?

Crawling at lightning speed...

Playing under chairs ...

Climbing up on everything ...

... and sometimes having trouble getting back down again ...

Wrestling with her brother - already!

Seriously, she tries to tackle him!

Playing and exploring ...

... and a little dancing :) well, kind of.

Going to her first Dogwood Parade - an annual event in Phoenixville
(I think she's wondering what on earth those Mummers string band people are wearing ...)

All that parade business is pretty tiring though. Sometimes a girl just needs her nap! :)

Chloe continues to be a very happy and smiley little girl. Fortunately, she is also very laid back and easy to take anywhere. She has also been sleeping through the night for us for a little while now, which is so nice. [Understatement of the year there.]

She loves to play with Carter & Audrey. It is funny to see how she already interacts differently with each of her siblings. She loves to laugh out loud at Audrey's shenanigans; then with Carter she is much more physical and as I said above, tries to tackle him. Carter & Audrey both just love Chloe, and she loves them too. It is a beautiful sight for a mother to behold. :)

We love you Chlo-Chlo!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two Wheeler

And ... she's off. On two wheels!

All the kids seem to be making big developmental leaps these days! So fun. And a little bittersweet. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A new way to get children to eat their dinner

The other night Audrey gave Chad a piece of bubble gum. After he finished his dinner, he popped it in his mouth, and was blowing bubbles. The kids (especially Carter) thought this was hysterical. Chad can blow some pretty big bubbles! Carter kept saying "blow another bubble!" so Chad said "take a bite of your dinner, and I'll blow another bubble."

I've never seen a kid put down his dinner so quickly. Chad blew a lot of bubbles, Carter ate every bite of his dinner (for once!), and we all had a lot of laughs. I think I may put a piece of bubble gum at Chad's place setting every night ...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

3 reasons to smile

My Audrey Grace, my Carter Jacob & my Chloe Elizabeth.

Thank you for making me smile every single day.

And thank you God for entrusting these 3 precious little people to me & Chad.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Things I have learned from my Mom

You know, once you become a mother ...well, you look at your own mother in a whole new light.

You realize how hard her job was. You realize why she was frustrated sometimes. You realize why she cried for joy when you succeeded at something. You realize how many times she bit her tongue, and bit it hard. You realize how she knew that you had stolen a cookie from the jar. You realize why she pushed you to do your best. You realize that she sacrificed a whole heck of a lot for you - of her time, her money, her resources, her interests, her sleep ... Mostly you just realize how incredibly much she must love you, because you look at your own kids and can't imagine loving someone so completely when they've done absolutely nothing to earn it. Okay, now I need to go get some tissues because thinking these thoughts makes me feel a bit weepy...

This Mother's Day, I thought I would write out a list of some of the great things I have learned from my Mom, Jeanne Riniker. She was and is a great Mommy! And she is now a great Mom-mom to my kids and loves them to pieces. Some of these are just for fun ... but some are more on a serious note.

"Things I've learned ..."

* Doing household chores "builds character". This is why I am the lovely person I am today - ha! Wow, is my character built!

* Incentives (aka 'bribes') are an effective motivational tool. My mom paid me a penny a page to read Gone with the Wind ... 1000 pages down, $10 in my pocket ... and the experience of reading a great novel.

* My Mom taught me to love books and reading (as referenced in the previous item...). If you could see the number of books she owns ... I think she bought the kindle so that Dad would not have to build yet more shelves to hold all the books. There are only so many places you can put shelves in a house! Anyway - to this day, I LOVE to read .. whenever I can find the time to do so!

* Singing is great fun! And also a great way to embarrass your kids. Only now I get to be the one doing the embarrassing!

* My Mom taught me to cook ... I even cooked meals for an entire week one summer when I was a young teenager! (I think Chad is especially glad that my Mom taught me to cook ...) She also taught me the importance of taking the time to have dinner together as a family.

* Sometimes a hug says more than words could ever say.

* If you see something you want to try ... GO FOR IT! Well, as long as it doesn't involve drugs, alcohol, sex or bungee jumping. :)

* It is important to be loyal and committed. Whether to a spouse, or a friend, or a team, or to practicing piano ... :)

* My Mom taught me how to do things for myself. This is great because once you teach your kids to do stuff ... you don't have to do it for them anymore! But seriously, growing up I had friends who were too afraid to go away to college, too afraid to live on their own, too afraid to try out for things, basically too afraid that they "couldn't" do things. And a big part of it was that they were so dependent on their parents for everything. I think that since my Mom taught me to be independent in the things I was ready to be independent in, I felt more confident in my ability to take care of myself. (Although maybe she was sorry she taught me to be so independent when I moved 10 hours away to go to college, moved to Chicago to go to grad school, stayed in Chicago on my own during my 20's .... but hey, I eventually came back home now, didn't I?)

* My Mom always told me to marry my best friend. Glad I listened to that one!

* My Mom is the one who answered all my questions about Jesus and helped me to accept Christ as a little girl. And I hope I can do the same with my kids!

* Being a mother is about sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice is hard .. but so worth it. How many things did my mom NOT buy or do for herself so that we could have a good education, music lessons, extra clothing? How much time did she spend taking me to the mall, or sewing my clothes, or reading me books, when she would have rather been doing something else? I don't know, but I am starting to understand that now.

I am especially thankful for my Mom this Mother's Day. This past year has included a new baby and an unexpected hospitalization of Chloe, and my Mom came and took care of my older 2 children in each of those situations. I know many people just expect that their parents should do this ... but I don't. I know it is a lot of work to take care of kids 24/7. I find it hard and I am not ... well I won't mention my mom's age, but she is older than I am, and her child rearing years are behind her. :) (She also had to sleep in my basement on the pull-out couch which is not the most deluxe of accommodations ...) My Mom happily came to care for them, and I never worried about them for a second. I know they are in good hands when my Mom (or my dad or my in-laws) is here.

Thank you so much Mom for all you have done, now do, and will continue to do for me. Thank you for loving me when I was less than lovable. Thank you for raising me well and for all the zillion other things you have taught me that are not on this list. And thank you for being a good example of what a mother should be!

I love you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thanks for the ideas ... and the prayers

Well, I have officially decided that I am going to whine more often.

On the night I last posted, Carter and Chloe slept through the night! Well, Carter did wake up once around 11:30 pm ... but that was it. And everyone slept until 7:30 am to boot! (Do they do this to make me look silly? If so ... well, I don't care.) But last night, Carter was up 2 times. He woke up at 1 am, and unfortunately I had a lot on my mind ... and didn't go back to sleep until sometime after 3:30 am. So frustrating!

Okay, okay, I'm done complaining for now. But thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! for all your ideas and encouragement and empathy. I have a few ideas that don't include benadryl, which has been a tempting option. :)

So I am now going to move on from my sleep disorder to sharing a few fun things that happened last week!

Believe it or not, the school year is beginning to wind down! I really can't believe it. (Although maybe it is because I feel like I have been semi-comatose for the school year! ha! I know, enough about the sleep!!)

Last Thursday, Audrey's kindergarten had their "teddy bear picnic" which includes singing a bunch of teddy bear songs, bringing your favorite teddy to school, watching a silly skit, and inviting your parents for a little "picnic". Very cute.

Getting set to sing!

Audrey's class
You can "bearly" see her (ha) but she's on the top row all the way to the right (next to Pooh Bear)

Last Friday the entire kindergarten center went to the Philadelphia Zoo for the day too!
No pictures for me. This year I just can't go on the field trips :( Hopefully next year.

On Sunday Audrey's Daisy Scout troop went to the Gilbertsville Tea Room for a Mother/Daughter Tea.

Why are sandwiches so cute when cut into little strips? I don't know but they just are!

Hey, check it out! I'm wearing a dress!
For the first time in ... well, since Chad's work holiday party.
And before that? Hmmm....

And one last little tidbit.

My 2 little bike riders. One learning to ride without training wheels (but yelling "HOLD ON!!" the whole time ...) and one learning to ride on 2 wheels (who is doing great but needs to work on that steering!) :)

And the other little cutie of the house? Well, not too many pictures of her lately ... unless you want a picture of her back end as she crawls away from the camera at lightning speed. That girl is into ev-ery-thing these days. Busy, busy, busy. And pulling up on stuff now. Look out world, here she comes. Before I know it, I'll be chasing her down the sidewalk and out of the street! Yikes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I need help.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's been a week since my last post. I'm so frustrated. So many exciting things have happened! And I do have photos and video!

And they remain on my camera.


Anyhow, hopefully I will post some of the fun stuff in the next few days.

The truth is ... I am SO. STINKIN'. TIRED. And the irony is that Chloe is finally sleeping through the night. Oh my.

I haven't posted much of anything about this at all, but we have been having big time sleep issues with Carter. I am so tired of complaining about it that I just haven't even brought it up on my blog. I know I hate when my kids whine, so I'm trying to be an adult and suck it up... but I am going to go ahead and indulge in some whining here. Mostly because I am hoping SOMEONE out there has some advice for me or can shed some light on this.

So ... Carter, who formerly slept through the night with no problem, has been waking up almost every night for the past few months. Usually at least once or twice, but up to 4-5 times a night sometimes. (This is probably not theologically accurate but I think there is a special place in hell for the really bad people where they get to fall asleep, and then are awakened just after they fall asleep ... over and over and over and over again. Ha!)

Sometimes he is awake but often he is just really out of it. Sometimes even dreaming. I really don't think it's night terrors, because he isn't screaming and usually if he says anything it is something to the effect of "I want to go in the car too!" or "I want a turn on Audrey's scooter!" (I don't know, maybe being denied the opportunity to do something fun is terrifying to a 3 year old?) Anyhow, I've done a little reading and I don't think it's night terrors.

I did potty train him in the last few months. But we've tried taking him to the bathroom, and usually he doesn't have to go much at all. And he stays dry in the pull-up too.

He did give up napping for a time a few months back, but when he was having problems sleeping at night, I started insisting that he nap. And most days I can get him to nap now. His night waking does seem to be worse when he is really tired. The problem with his naps is that I often have to wake him from his nap to get to the bus stop for Audrey. But usually he has had at least an hour or so nap at that point.

I have tried letting him cry it out some, but honestly, that is a REALLY hard thing to implement. At best it means that we listen to his very loud and persistent crying, and at worst it means that he wakes up the baby too and then it is bad news all around. It is much easier to just go in, give him a pat and a little reassurance, and have him go right back to sleep. But it has been so bad some nights that I have considered putting a really loud fan in Chloe's room to block the noise, having Audrey sleep in our room on the floor, having Chad & I wear ear plugs, and letting him cry it out.

As I said, some nights he is just fine. But other nights are so bad that it's a wonder I can function the next day. I am SO TIRED of feeling like I am "surviving". I really just want to start feeling normal again!! I feel like I have been semi-human for the past year.

In any case, it is lucky that he is such a pleasant little guy during the day. He wakes up happy and sweet as can be. But at night? Oh boy. I am hoping this phase is over soon.

So. Any advice for me out there?? I groggily await your comments. :)