Saturday, January 31, 2015

Free Date Night!

Friday date night was/still is a non-negotiable part of my parents' schedule. Without fail, they would take off and leave the seven of us at home to eat leftovers and watch a movie. I asked my mom when they started consistently going on dates. My jaw about hit the floor when she nonchalantly explained they had been going out since they joined the church in the 70's.

Paul and I have been married for over 3.5 years and have gone on a handful of dates since tying the knot. Of course we would have movie night at home or play board games, but getting a baby-sitter and hitting the town for the night is a rarity for us.

When I discovered the Y-Ball that BYU was holding for married or engaged couples I was interested. When I discovered the Ball was free, I was sold. Paul's parents were game for watching the kids, so we dressed up, dropped of the kiddos, met three other couples at the complimentary dinner, danced for half a song, and then ditched the scene. Instead, we grabbed some ice cream from the creamery and enjoyed this rare, kid-free time. Odd though, that most of the time apart from our kids was spent talking about them. I guess we just love them, or something.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Kate: 7 months old

The babe hit 7 months and all of the sudden it feels like she is almost a year old. Her rapid development leaves me in awe. How do babies do it? If I were left to my own devices I would just lay on the floor all day. Not these tiny humans, though. Their curiosity, determination, and attitude of pure joy towards life is inspiring. Come to think of it, if I got 2+ naps a day I'd be a little more productive with my awake time. Just saying.

Kate began rocking back and forth on her hands and knees. This is a step that Vincent completely skipped. He didn't do the crawling thing. Seeing her up like that is bizarre. In my mind, she is too little to be mobile. Thankfully, she isn't crawling. She accidentally slides backwards as a result of getting on her hands and knees, but hasn't figured out that she can transport herself across the room via her little appendages.

She finally started bearing weight on her legs!! Previously, we could hardly keep this girl up. The combination of her chunky little body plus the fact that her legs would buckle after 10 seconds made it impossible to hold her up. Paul seemed to have tricked her by standing her up at the ottoman with toys in reach. She began with little bits of weight and will now stand in our laps without any distraction. Woo hoo!!

She is the happiest little girl. When she hears her bedroom door open she immediately stops crying and begins excitedly talking. The only way I can describe it is a happy sounding exhale. "Heehh, Heeehh!"

Speaking of speaking, Kate added "Ba-ba" to her repertoire! I know when she's done taking a nap because the cute baby noises turn into full blown babbling intermixed with shouts and squeals. She rarely cries, except to clue us in to her need for nap. 

She's also a cuddly little bug. While she enjoys a bit of independence, she never pushes away when you squeeze her tight. Frequently, she buries her head into my chest and just leaves it there for a few moments before resurfacing for air. This has been beneficial, as Vince often smashes her into the ground. We're fortunate that she loves all the lovin' he has to offer her. 

As far as feedings go, she still nurses 5x a day (this includes the dream feed) and she is increasing her solid feedings to about three 4 oz purees a day. We also do bananas but haven't done much else as she is still sporting a toothless grin. I remember being in such a rush to move to solids with Vince. This time around we're just happy that she's a good nurser and haven't put much emphasis on the transition. 

Kate continues to sleep partially swaddled for 12 hours at night. We pin her left arm down but allow her right arm to roam free. When she is a bit out of sorts that right arm flaps up and down like a bird trying to take flight. It's on the verge of being dangerous for any parents trying to find her pacifier. And man, that girl loves her pacifiers. She has roughly six in the crib with her. She switches between them all and has a hay day until she passes out in sweet pacifier heaven.

Like Vincent, Kate has rosy cheeks. They are pretty sensitive to the dry winter weather and require buckets of lotion to keep at a dull pink instead of a raging red. Her poor chapped cheeks make me so sad. Most people perceive them as a cute feature, but I've quickly learned that while cute, it's not fun to deal with.

Kathryn Olivia is a blessing in my life. She constantly makes me smile and frequently reminds me that most things don't matter. My kids are healthy and happy, and so am I. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Baby in a Bonnet

Everyone should be jealous. My mother-in-law is one talented lady. She learned to crochet when she was in primary (why don't we learn cool stuff like that anymore?) and is now amazing at a slew of other crafting abilities. Each time I open a handmade gift from her I stare in disbelief at how she could possible make something so intricate and beautiful.

A short while after I announced I was having a girl, Kathryn presented me with a bonnet, dress, and matching booties. I stored it away to pull out for the colder winter months. In the meantime, I forgot about it and went on living life. Recently, I pulled out Kate's 6-9 month clothes and shrieked with delight when I rediscovered this precious ensemble.

It hasn't taken me long to come to the point where I don't save Kate's cutest outfits for special occasions. I love dressing her up even if we spend the entire day in our front room. So thank you, Grandma, for making your grand kiddos the most incredible clothing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"She is the comfort in the chaos"

As a lover of large families, I enjoy reading positive articles about having more kids. It's hard to explain why I want more kids than most, but this blogger was able to express why having more is a good thing. It seems counter intuitive that adding a baby in the midst of the difficult art of raising a toddler brings more peace than stress. This paragraph is the perfect summation of my feelings:

"And so, in these past two weeks, as I treasure every second, one verse keeps coming to my mind: “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah.  So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Gen 24: 67).  Is it busy and hectic and messy having three children?  Of course it is!  Have I gone to bed at 8pm every night this week?  Yes I have!  But this time around, the baby isn’t the exhausting, overwhelming part.  In the midst of all the scheduling, and carpooling, and cleaning, the baby is my Rebekah.  She is the comfort in the chaos."

Read the rest of the blog post here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Embrace the Change

I feel like I'm constantly being told about going with the flow, welcoming change and going on new adventures. The picture I've drawn to visualize the concept of "change" is a beautiful one. It's full of possibilities and new beginnings.

So tell me then, why is it hard to accept the changing of our bodies? This 5' 4" frame has carried and born two precious souls into the world. It is stretched, saggy and becoming more gray and wrinkled with each passing day.

I faced a daily struggle with the scale as I tried to recover from my first pregnancy. I hardly took notice of the positive non-scale victories I was making. As I dressed for the day I would try to squeeze my now larger hips into my former self's jeans. Getting ready was dreadful.

While the struggle is still real after my second baby, I've come to accept and appreciate the vessel I've been given to live in while on this Earth. It is easy to hate and despise, and somehow, I've grown comfortable in my stretched out skin. I put away those too tight jeans and embraced the world of yoga pants. I've invested in clothing that fits my changing body so I can feel both comfortable and stylish. Perhaps it will take an entire year before I pull my skinny clothes back out, but while I'm on my journey to that place, I'm going to love my body every step of the way.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Family First

For those of you who haven't met your match, don't rush it. Choose wisely. The person you marry will alter your life's path in every single way. Find someone who shares the most intimate of values. For me, family has always been a top priority. Some place their career at the forefront of their list, but thankfully, I found someone who places family first too.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Snow Day

I didn't build my first snowman until I was college. I was home for Christmas break and my bro-in-law, Andy, proclaimed he'd never made one. The realization that I'd never done so either dawned on me. Together we went out and made a plethora of snowmen to fill the voids in our childhood.

I tell you this to help paint the picture of how very little I played in the snow growing up. Sure, we had lots of it, but I didn't care much for getting bundled up to roll in the snow for a little while before getting it up my sleeves or down my neck. There is something special about having kids though; they bring to light joy in places, activities, and events that never seemed worthwhile beforehand.

Vincent was itching to get outside to play in the cold fluff. He wanted very badly to build a snowman, but Utah snow is not made for such things. We tried, and failed. Instead we turned to snow soccer. Watching Vince run after the ball was reminiscent of a puppy cantering around the frozen yard. And, since the little man was wearing his father's old snowsuit, I took a few mental pictures of what Paul must have looked like in the same red garb.

Even Daddy took a break from work to watch the joyful wonders of a child in Winter's first snow.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy Day.

Happy New Year! But more importantly, happy birthday to my one and only Mama!

(Ruth & Mom)

I will never be able to express how much I love this woman. She has sacrificed much to bring seven children into the world and raise them as a stay at home mom. She is beautiful, selfless, passionate, understanding and helpful. She is and always will be the best example of what a mom should be. Here's to another year!