Saturday, February 28, 2009

I need your organization tips!!

If you've been reading, you know we recently moved. For good. We bought a home and expect to be here for a long time. There are many great things about our home...and also a few challenges. One of the challenges is the size and layout.

We were in a house that was about 1500 square feet. We had two living areas, one of which we actually lived in (TV, couches etc) and the other was the girls' toys and other stuff (i.e. junk and clutter). The bedrooms were decent sized and each girl had their own room.

Our HOME is a little over 1100 square feet. We have one living area--a combined living room and dining room. The bedrooms are on the smaller side and Miss Rose and Gracie are sharing. The third bedroom is under construction and is being used for storage and baby stuff currently. Hopefully by this summer it will be a functional bedroom.

Bean and I are actually excited about the challenge of living in a smaller space. We didn't utilize the larger space too well. We'd rather have less clutter and a peaceful small home, than a large home full of stuff that is unused. Of course as the kids get older, we'll need less baby/toddler stuff and they will be more of a help in keeping it clean as well.

I desparately don't want a home that is full of clutter. I have a tendency to be a bit of a pack-rat. I like to save things and can be too sentimental. I am always worried that the minute I throw something away, I'll need or want it. In our living room we have one bookcase. Currently it's full of books (surprise, surprise). I plan to rearrange it to hold some baskets and nice storage boxes to help with organization.

How do you keep your home clutter free? How do you organize and store your children's toys? I need to get the girls' room to a point where they will go in there and play--but right now there is no organization to their stuff, so they don't spend much time in there.

I'm at a loss as to what to do with paperwork and bills and mail. We had a large counter in our other house that became a catch-all for this sort of thing. It was actually a huge eyesore and I don't miss having it. But as a working mom of three children, with a husband who has 2 jobs...sometimes I have to stack things up before I can go through them and figure out where they belong.

How do you keep your home clean? According to the counter I have on my blog, there are a lot of people reading come out of the woodwork (even anonymously) and give me your ideas!!

What's Your Vice?

We all have vices. Some are harmless, some not so much.

I've blogged before about my diet coke addiction! I definately cut back during my pregnancy, but I didn't cut it out completely. The same holds true right now while I'm breastfeeding. I haven't noticed much of an effect on LC when I drink a soda, so I've been indulging a bit.

However I was recently challenged by my friend Jewels to give it up, once again. Well, she blogged about the potential ill effects of diet soda, and called me out anonymously as a fellow addict--so I offered to give it up if she would. And she's taken me up on the offer! I always do better with this kind of thing with accountability, so I trust we'll be successful.

One of the things she commented on was that there is some research indicating that artificial sweeteners (which diet soda is loaded with) actually make you crave sugar. I must say, I do think its true. I'm hoping that if I give up Diet Coke, I'll crave less sweets! I am pretty sure this is in the You On a Diet book (which my friend here is reading, and I need to read again!)

On the occasions that I have wanted and tried to quit drinking Diet Coke, one of the difficulties was that Bean is an avid drinker as well! When we got married he was a Dr. Pepper addict, but he switched to Diet Coke in an effort to cut back on calories. BUT....a few days ago he decided to quit drinking it for a while too. We think he may have some reflux or digestive stuff going on, and soda definately aggrevates it.

So, what's your vice? Want to give it up with Jewels and I? We're starting Monday. Even if you read this after Monday, you can still pick a start date and join the fun!

And I'll tell you what's not fun...LC has been super colicky the last few nights. It took us almost 2 hours to settle her last night. Just when she would start to fall asleep, her little body would stiffen and she'd cry out in pain. Eventually we'd get her to burp or spit up and she'd be better. So I'm thinking it might be an issue with my diet. Miss Rose was sensitive to dairy, so maybe LC is too. I just bought a yummy pint of Ben and Jerry's last night and haven't tasted it yet. Looks like it's going to have to wait a few days while I cut dairy out of my diet and see if that helps LC. Life is just better with ice cream though!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

LC is 4 Weeks Old!

Can you believe how time flies? Sweet baby girl is already 4 weeks old.

My peanut was 7lbs, 8oz and 20 inches long at her appointment today. Interestingly enough, that was my exact size at birth...and the size Miss Rose was when we brought her home. (Gracie was never quite that small).
She's gained a little more than a pound and grown an that's perfect for a one-month old. She's just small because she was born a bit early and small at birth. I have no complaints though. Makes her easier to carry around and fun to cuddle. And her clothes will fit forever. We're finally wearing newborn sizes, but even those are still big on her.
Going to the dr. today I had Gracie with me and made a mental list of the different carrying/strolling arrangements I could use. Gracie is slow (when she wants to be) and so having her walk is not always easiest. I decided to put her in the umbrella stroller and carry LC in the sling.

Three different moms of newborns in the dr. office asked me about my sling. If you are mom to an infant and don't have a sling--I highly recommend one! Especially if you have other children. But even if you don't, it can be easier to put the baby in a sling for a quick trip into a store, rather than pull the infant seat out of the car or get out the stroller. I like a pouch sling (although I buy on ebay and saved 50%) but there are also adjustable ring slings and a variety of other babywearing devices.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday's mom photo shoot! I am no photographer and the pic's have some lighting issues--but the perfection was the baby, not the lighting!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trial Run

I return to work in a few weeks. I am blessed to work just 3 days in the office--which gives me two weekdays with my beautiful daughters. Bean leaves for work as the girls are waking up, so I'm pretty much on my own dressing everyone (including myself), breakfasting (including nursing the baby) and getting out of the house.

This week I decided to do a trial run of when my maternity leave is over. Our staff meetings are on Tuesdays, so I figured that was a good day to go into work. Gracie decided to wake up at 5:45am and subsequently wake Miss Rose up...but I made them stay in bed for a while.

We managed to get out of the house on time. And we were dressed. AND I even had some makeup on. Lately I've been enjoying that I can take Miss Rose to school in my jammies and slippers and showering when I get home. So it was quite a feat to get that all done BEFORE we left.

However...I did forget my cell phone in the mad scramble to get everyone and everything out of the house. And I ALMOST left the house completely open. As in the door and the security screen wide open. As I got in the van, I realized the security door was ajar...which meant I hadn't closed or locked anything. Thankfully I realized it before I left. I doubt I would have remembered that once I drove away.

We got Miss Rose to school at 8am, drove Gracie to my mom's house and made it to work with a few minutes to spare. WHOO HOO!

I was tired by the end of the day though. LC was a bit out of sorts being at work with me. She's used to napping in her swing and driving in the car a lot. It's probably a good idea to continue these trial runs to get her accustomed to being at work with mama and sleeping there.

Let me just say also, moms that work 40 hours a week and have 3 or more kids are INSANE! Doing this three days a week seems doable to me. I feel like I might have a nervous breakdown if I had to do it five days a week. You do what you have to do, and you make it work though.

Coming soon: some photos from my homemade photo shoot with LC! I'm not sold on calling her LC for this blog, but a nickname hasn't come to me yet. I use the other girls' middle names here...but we also use those names for them in real life. But for now, I guess that's what I'll call her.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Color of My Children

Do your children have a signature color? Or maybe they did as babies. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has chosen a theme color for her babies. I'm not sure why I did this, it just kind of happened.

When I found out I was expecting my first girl, I was very against getting everything PINK. Not that I had anything against it, I just didn't want our house to look like gallons of peptobismol had spilled out. But so much that's made for baby girls is pink, so it is hard to get away from. Probably the next most popular color, at least in merchandising, is lavendar. I thought this was a great alternative---so a lot of our accent items and clothing for Miss Rose was lavendar.

Here was one of my favorite outfits for her as a baby.

And with her Barefoot Dreams blanket, which she still sleeps with often and wanted to bring for her sharing day in Pre-K (I convinced her a toy would be a better choice!).

However, if you ask Miss Rose today what her favorite color is...she'll say black. My silly anti-girl. She'll grow out of it eventually I'm sure.

When I was searching for a "coming home outfit" for Gracie in the event she was a girl...I found a sweet outfit with blue flowers...and that became here color. Blue happens to be my favorite color as well. Her crib bedding had blue tulips on it.

Here's the hospital outfit (someone actually gave it to me in a larger size as well, so she had the look for months!).

And her 1st Birthday Dress

When I began to think about clothes for baby #3, I thought it would be fun to find something red if it was a girl since baby would be arriving around Valentine's Day. Because of LC's early arrival, I hadn't yet found that perfect outfit. But one of my good friends knew about my red idea and brought a dress for LC to the hospital that she had purchased for one of her girls who was born near V-Day also, but never used.

She also found a Carter's outfit set in red which included this.
I've since bought this blanket and this sling. And if money were no object, I'd buy this diaper bag! The same friend made me an awesome red heart patterned blanket--I will share pic's of that soon.

I may go overboard on the red thing. But heck, LC is probably my last baby, so I want to live it up!!

So, what colors are your kids?
And speaking of color, do you agree with me that LC seems to be quite a mix of the other girls? I think her coloring will be more like Miss Rose, but I see some of Gracie in her too. The other day Bean said--do you think the baby is still jaundiced? She seems yellow. I said no--she's just Mexican! Gracie is so fair that we got used to seeing a very light skinned baby. But I think LC favors Daddy in skin tone.

It's so fun to see them grow and develop just how God created them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things I'm Learning

Here's some stuff I'm learning in my life right now, which will also serve to catch you up with the No Crying Mama.

~Three is a lot different than two. I'm sure once we're in more of a routine and the baby is a few months old it will get a bit easier. But three is a whole new world. (However, if money, space and jobs weren't an issue, I secretly would still want 4!)

~Third babies spend a lot of time in the carseat and swing.

~Third babies also start to protest how much time they spend in these seats by dinnertime and demand to be held. I don't blame her and I wish I had more time to hold her. Once big sisters are in bed, Lily gets a lot of cuddling from mom and dad.

~Drive-thru Starbucks are a mom's best friend. I know where all of them are in a 10 mile vincinty and am often found organizing my errands so that I can drive thru. I'm drinking decaf, but it still perks me up.

~I can easily see how people get in a Starbucks a day habit. Although I limit mine to 2 a week or so.

~All of the exercise during pregnancy was worth it, no matter how exhausted it made me sometimes. I'm bouncing back from my c-section much better and will hopefully have 10lbs or less to work at losing.

~Lily must still miss my womb because she sleeps best at night curled up right next to me

~This sleeping position usually causes me a stiff neck and other various aches and pains.

~Bean is an amazing dad and husband, no matter how high the bar gets raised, he sails over it.

~A full and busy life means a full heart and it's totally worth it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Little Miss Piggy

That's Lily's new nickname! She had a weight check today to make sure she had regained her birthweight. Little Miss Piggy was 6lbs, 10oz --- a 10oz gain in one week! I think the typical weight gain for a newborn is about an ounce a day, so she definately caught up.

She was 6lbs 5oz at birth (well, 6.59 technically, but I guess they never round up) so she's up 4-5oz from her birth weight.

Lily is starting to be awake a little bit more. What's funny is she sounds like a little pig several times a day! She grunts and groans when she's dealing with gas or digestion. It's kind of cute. Except not in the middle of the night!

Baby certainly loves mama. Her favorite place to sleep at night is in the crook of my arm. She spends her days sleeping in the swing, and is resisting sleeping in the co-sleeper. I need to start putting her in the co-sleeper during the day so she gets used to it.

But really, I'm not complaining. She's probably my last baby, so I want to eat all of this up. All my babies have slept with me quite a bit during their first few months and I don't have much problem transitioning them out as they get older.

Little Miss Piggy is turning red in the face and grunting, so I must go rescue her from her gas or whatever issue is going on!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Finally, a down day

The last week has been a whirlwind! With the exception of Saturday, our first full day at home, I've had to leave the house each day. Lily had a bit of jaundice which required 2 dr. appointments and 2 blood tests at the hospital. I developed a major case of stiff neck--I think from stress and hunching over a lot helping the baby nurse and also favoring my incision. So it was off to the chiropractor for me on Wednesday. I am IN LOVE with my chiropractor. In a medical sense. I still have some soreness and when I wake up in the morning it's very stiff, but hopefully a few more days and I'll be back to normal.

Yesterday we spent 4 hours trading in our CRV for a used Odyssey. The auto loan had been in my name, so I needed to go and sign paperwork. We were very sad to bid farewell to the CRV. We have LOVED that car. It was my first brand new car and only had it for 2.5 years. But, the minivan is the way to go for the automatic doors and space for the kids. And the carseats will fit! I'm excited that I'll get to have Miss Rose harnessed until she's 6 now. We were blessed to have them pay off the loan for the CRV and get us the minivan for just slightly more than what we were paying for the CRV for the same terms we had left on the CRV. Miss Rose is thrilled because the Odyssey has a DVD player--although we're making it clear that it's for long trips, not daily driving.

Today is a down day. My goal is to stay in my jammies and spend as much time on the couch as possible. Poor Bean is still running around doing so many errands and "honey-do's" that I want to be a part of. But I know the more I rest now, the faster my recovery will be.

My pain really has been minimal. Not that I haven't used the Vicodin I was sent home with, but mostly I need it after I've moved around a lot. It's almost gone though, so I'm definately rationing it! I just get fatigued quickly. After the long day yesterday I went to bed at 8:30 even though I had to get up at 10pm to feed Lily. I needed it though!

Finally, here are some pictures!

Today...8 days old.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

God is smart, and I am thankful

God is smart. I know that, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded.

Life has not calmed down. We have piles of laundry, piles of baby stuff, a half unpacked kitchen, an extra refridgerator in our kitchen...the list goes on and on.

To add to the long list of things to do, we started having some drain issues yesterday involving the kitchen sink and a shower. Probably very fixable--but just overwhelming when there is already so much going on.

Then this morning Lily went in for a jaundice check...and we were sent over to the hospital for a blood draw...and the possibility of having to check in if her levels were too high.

After we finally got home (Lily and I were pretty exhausted from the few hours it all took), Bean was getting me set up before he took the girls to a birthday party.

It struck me...God is smart that he gave us a third girl. He knew all that we would be experiencing. He also knew that we have lots of girl stuff and I had maybe 2 outfits for a boy and one set of blankets.

That can't be the only reason why God chose a third girl for our family. But the idea of trying to put together clothes, blankets, Boppy covers, bedding etc for a boy--in the midst of everything else--sounds impossible. I think I would have been even more of a wreck.

And for the record...this No Crying Mama...cried about five times yesterday. I like to blame the post-pregnancy hormones raging in my body. But sometimes (for me it's about twice a year) a girl just needs a good cry.

The good news is--although Lily's bilirubin levels came back as borderline, the doctor is willing to give her another day. I just need to keep nursing as often as I can and give her some sun therapy. Hopefully her level tomorrow will be the same or lower.