Thursday, October 1, 2015

Decisions, Decisions.

Being an adult is a tough gig. I've never been great at making big decisions. Sure I make them, but more times than not, the days and months leading up to them are filled with stress, worry and agony.
Living life via the military has it's advantages and disadvantages. For me, not knowing where the road may lead was an advantage. All I had to do was hang on for the ride. Sure, Chris and I went back and forth weighing each possible place we'd call home as if we really had a say in where we landed, but truth be told, we went wherever "they" wanted/needed us. Massachusetts, S. Korea and Germany. Now, 9 years later, retired from that life, here we are. Planted temporarily. We know that Germany is not our forever home. Only this time, we don't have a "they" in terms of the government to direct us. To be the grown up. To tell us where to land. Instead, we have little people. Little people who desperately want to land near their Grammy, Papa, cousins and the aunts and uncles who treat them like princesses. It's tough growing up. It's tough to make decisions knowing one poor one is enough to jostle the lives of so many others. No one wants rocks in their road, bumps in their journey. Chris and I have been pretty darn lucky. We have an ongoing joke about there being a dark cloud above him, but truth be told, we've mitigated risks to the point that all onlookers would think we've had an easy life. One without financial stress. One without worry. Pain. Heartache. Sleepless nights. Sure, we've been blessed in many, many ways. Someone looks out for us in all we do. Opens doors that need to be opened, leads us through the fog when we are lost. He has bigger plans for us all. He is once again, itching for us to walk. This time, 3 little people are doing his work. Pushing Chris and I to question our future "landing" spot. Urging us to look down the road and focus on the journey ahead. Such uncertainty in decisions. Such stress. In the end, we look back and everything is so clear. I pray for clarity. I pray for his plan and guidance. I pray for our little family, that we find happiness and constant love.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mallorca, Spain

Two of our best vacations were spent at all inclusive resorts in Guam and Thailand. We attempted to recreate them, European style with an extended holiday weekend at the island of Mallorca. We stayed at the Cala Mandia resort about an hour from Mallorca's major city, Palma. It was definitely a resort catered to Germans, Spanish, or Europeans in general, but we made the most of our time and the beautiful weather. Prior to leaving, the weather forecast included 40-60% chance of rain each day with temps in the upper 70's. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. The temperature held steady at 78-80ish the first 3 days with bouts of full sun.

We lounged at each pool--kids splash pad, family pool, and water park, rotating among them. Each pool had appeal to each of our children. Thankfully, Gavin was able to access the pools independently with Chris & I with an arms reach.

The resort had beach front access as well. It was perfect. Mya discovered sand gets EVERYWHERE, while Gavin learned that sand is not tasty. Both were tough lessons ;) Claire loved jumping the waves. Interestingly, Mya, who is typically the risk taker, was a bit more timid, requiring some coaxing from Chris. She too enjoyed all the ocean had to offer.

We took a snorkeling excursion on Saturday. Gavin and I stayed in the boat, while Chris and the girls snorkeled around the cove. They loved it.

The girls had their hair braided with string woven in. Each was so excited to choose the design and color combinations.

On Sunday, we took a taxi to Porto Cristo where there was a market. I bought some football (aka soccer) jerseys for our soccer loving nieces and nephew, a jewelry dish and the kids picked a beanie boo. Gavin clutched that doggie the entire day, despite not feeling well. The poor guy was conjested and simply wanted to snuggle. Sadly, I didn't bring the Tula, so we were stuck lugging him all around that market. Our arms were tired, but we soaked up the snuggles. In Korea, there were nail salons offering Dr. Fish. I did it a few times, with our girls sticking in their hands. They thought it was so funny. We found a little place in Mallorca too. Chris and I decided to let them relive the fun. The girls giggled and giggled, thinking the fish sucking off the dead skin was so crazy. It was.

All around the resort are stores selling already blown up, inflatable rafts. Mya was especially convinced that we should buy one, but for the hefty price tag of 7+ Euros each, Chris and I refused. We held strong. While at the pool, a little boy from England came up to us with two of his rafts and asked if the girls would like to have them as he was leaving the following morning. The girls were elated. Mya swam for hours with that thing, despite dropping temperatures. She was in heaven.We even allowed them to bring one home. You would have thought we had just hung the moon, they were so excited.

The flight home was not so easy. Gavin was extremely fussy. He was difficult to console and Chris and I wanted nothing more than to get off that airplane. Thankfully, it was only a 2 hour flight. Painful, but brief.

Our Labor Day weekend was lovely, filled with great memories with our littles. Looking back at all the things we did this trip that were replications of previous experiences, it is bittersweet--knowing full well that they are not, in fact, so little any more. We are trying desperately to savor each day, expression, smile. We love, love, love our littles.

**My camera was stolen a few days after writing the post, therefore most pictures are gone. I am heartbroken. So many snapshots of memories were stolen. I did manage to capture a few pics on my phone, so will include those. Far from perfect, but better than none.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Seventeen Months

Gavin is officially seventeen months. He seems like such a little boy and no longer a baby! I took the kiddos to the States for 5 weeks alone. Thankfully, each did great on the plane. Gavin arrived in the States with only 6 teeth and returned with 7 and one more pushing through. It was a summer of growth. He loves to run/jump on the trampoline with the girls, ride the plasma car and play in the pretend kitchen. He roars at any animal, pretends to be a dog crawling around on all fours and gives hugs/kisses when someone is hurt. He has finally taken a deep interest in books. He loves to bring books to read, sits and looks at a few pages, then gets up to retrieve more. Gavin still has a good appetite. He eats pretty much anything, although isn't a huge fan of meat, he tolerates a few bites. Gavin's vocabulary has grown! In June he had 2 solid words--ball and mama. We returned to Germany in July and he began talking. Gavin now says--Dadda, Mama, ball, bike, ride, bye bye, hi, Claire, Mya, milk, book, more, dog, baby,nigh nigh, and cookie. He opens and shuts his hand to show you what he wants, waves, blows kisses and covers his eyes to hide. He is a decent sleeper, typically sleeping 12 hours at a time. He has had two haircuts. The blonde hair and blue eyes seem to be sticking around, but he looks 100% like his Daddy. Gavin drinks from a straw, follows directions, attempts to assist changing his own diaper, and loves to snuggle. I am head over heels in love with this boy. Each day is so much fun to see what he knows/does. He is so loved.

Monday, July 13, 2015

8 years

Dearest Claire,
Our first born is eight years old. You have become such a sweet little lady. Daddy and I are so so proud of who you are and what you've become in these short eight years. You are such a talented girl. You conquer pretty much anything you attempt. You love gymnastics, spending the summer mastering cartwheels, round offs, bridges, and handsprings. You live and breath life flying through the air. It is amazing to see your passion build and watch your determination.
We went to Grammy and Papa's again this summer where she taught you several songs on the piano. Each and everyday, several times per day, we listened to these songs. I was able to enroll you in piano lessons, so you can begin a new challenge. You will continue to take violin lessons as well. You are definitely an artsy girl as well as an analytical thinker. You love to draw, create, rearrange and envision. We are doing our best to foster your passions without causing stress by loading your schedule.
Swimming lessons were completed this summer. You've passed all the levels! You were so nervous as you had to tread water for 5 minutes. We approached it as we do with most things for you--giving you specific strategies to succeed and helping you build up the time to make it manageable. You are now able to swim all strokes and do them well! I couldn't be more proud! We've suggested trying out for swim team, but you are a perfectionist. If you can't win, you don't want to attempt. Perhaps with time, this will seem more interesting.
You are a great helper. You love to cook, so you want to help as much as you can. You are able to make eggs, french toast independently. You can bake muffins or follow directions on a box for nearly anything. Needless to say, we love the extra set of hands! You are a great big sister to Gavin. He adores you just the same. You play pretty well with Mya, but she is old enough to not really rely on you too much.
You've taken an interest in choosing your clothes, trying to get a grasp on your own sense of fashion. You love to do your own hair too. I guess it is becoming clearer each day that you are growing up. You no longer need us as you once did. This is bittersweet. I love your hugs and cuddles. Thankfully, you still think we are pretty cool, though I bet that too will soon change.
If only time could stand still. I'd hit rewind time and time again, just to rewatch the past 8 years. You've experienced more in your eight years than most people enjoy in a lifetime. You are loved by people all over the world. Not many can say that. Your green eyes and blonde hair and beautiful face have given us a connection to many. Knowing what an intelligent, kind-hearted and goofy kid lies beneath is what those lucky enough to know you discover. I am so incredibly proud of you, Claire. You are an amazing kid. Love isn't a strong enough word to describe how I feel about you. You really are my everything. You are the best of both your Daddy and I. Although I would love time to slow, I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for you. I pray you find happiness and see beauty in each day, let go of fear and conquer whatever you desire, understand kindness and selflessness are far more important than beauty, and keep God and family centered in your heart. Work hard and you will achieve anything you desire. Happy birthday baby girl. We love you!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bergen, Norway

One adventure I knew we must have was a trip to Norway. My motherland as Chris likes to refer to it. Norway is in fact, where my ancestors are from. We took the leap, booking tickets over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. I initially found a glacier walk, which I thought would be a once in a lifetime type experience, but once details were hammered out, it was not possible. Apparently, Bergen experienced a late spring this year, so trails were not well worn yet, making it less safe for our small children.

I also wanted to do a fjord cruise of some kind. I did not have the time necessary to really plan this trip well. If I were to go again, I'd book the Norway in a Nutshell tour over a 3-4 day spread, traveling to one village, spending the night there then moving on to the next the following day. We had thought we'd do the entire tour in a single day. Thankfully, we wised up when we booked tickets and opted for a shorter tour--3.5 hours at 1500 NOK. The cruise was absolutely beautiful. The waterfalls were plentiful, the fjords were massive. It was an amazing experience. The boat stopped to collect some fresh water from a waterfall. The girls thought spring water was tasty.

A highlight for me was wandering around the village itself. Seeing the little ones wearing their rain gear--rain pants, coat and hat, just like the fisherman wear, was adorable. The fishing market was quaint and exciting. Fisherman go out to catch in the early morning, bringing back their bounty to sell. They'll cook it right there for you. I tried some whale. It was much tougher than I expected, but delicious.

We rode the funicular up to the top of a mountain, hiked through the forest a bit and played on the playground. I believe the ride was 215 NOK for our family. The hike was interesting. Just as our girls were beginning to complain, we spotted a sign someone had posted on a tree. It read that baby dinosaurs still exist in the forest. Chris and I played this up, spotting a den, dinosaur food, hearing footsteps. The girls love the mystery and bought it hook, line and sinker.

The final day was rainy. We opted to take the light rail (70 NOK) each way to the Children's Science Museum--Vilvite. Tickets cost 465 NOK and it was money well spent. The girls had a blast. It was perfect for their ages, while Gavin would have been much too young to enjoy. All descriptions were written in Norwegian and English, so we could fully understand and participate.

Food in Norway was extremely costly. We paid 260 NOK for a pizza, which equals $33.84. I paid $7 for a solo cup full of fresh cherries just to give another example. Chris and I came to the understand that locals must simply not eat out much. Who could afford to? Our saving grace was the hotel I chose included a buffet breakfast in the room price. We loaded up each morning--fish (Claire insisted we try), eggs, sausage, breads, yogurt, etc. A perfect mix of local menu and international cuisine.

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Norge. Our room was $781 for 3 nights and included wifi, breakfast, pool, and was steps away from the airport shuttle stop. It was also located a couple of minutes from the fish market/city center, which was perfect!

All in all our trip was lovely. We found Norway to be clean and well kept. It was picturesque on every measure. The city of Bergen was beautiful, but costly ;) The weather was the one thing I could do without--cold, windy and rainy. The temperature was mid 50's, but it felt much colder with the wind/rain combination. It would be tough to become accustomed to that.

Gavin--14 months

Keeping up with life the past two months has been challenging! I am so sorry, G. I've been terrible at documenting your firsts, funny things you do and of course, our daily joy that exists when you are around! So, here are the highlights--in bullet point:
1. You're one year molars came in--all 4 of them. You were a total champ through it all. Not fussy, but experienced congestion, runny nose, etc.
2. You do not have much to say. You grunt like everything, babble, but refuse to repeat words. There are moments when we "think" you've copied us, but we aren't certain. You like to keep us guessing. In a moment of desperation, I took out some ice cream after dinner a few nights ago and did some therapy with you. I will get you talking!!
3. You love to plop yourself down in hidden, secretive little places. We have a row of evergreens in our backyard. You love to fit yourself between two of them and sit down. It is adorable. There is also a little cement block--maybe 8x8 under our water spigot outside, You back yourself up and plop down right on that little block. This morning before we left for the day, you climbed up one step and sat down, letting your legs hang through the open backside so you could play with your toy that was resting on the next step up. Total cuteness.
4. You sleep so well! 12 hours each night. I love you for that!!
5. You LOVE to play outside. The minute we close the door, you cry. You want to run and play!
6. You love to brush your teeth. You reach for that toothbrush every morning. Hopefully our dental savings begins with you ;)
7. You are constantly carrying around something--a spoon, toothbrush, fork, bat. Again, melts my heart.
8. You are such a curious child. You look at things with such intent as if you are trying to figure them out--cars passing by, noises outside, cracks in between doors. I hope that eagerness to learn and investigate continues forever.
9. You are an active boy. You start moving the minute you wake up and don't stop until you go to bed. You kick balls, run, climb up the steps to the slide. You can do it all. Definitely all boy!
10. We love you more than you'll ever know, G. You are such a bright spot in each of our lives. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the amazing gift of being your Momma. We are blessed.

Friday, May 15, 2015

6 years!

Dearest Mya.
You are officially 6 years old! I was sitting here remembering so clearly the day you were born. How Grammy came to stay with Claire so Daddy and I could be with you at the hospital. Your delivery was so easy. I was in. You were born. I was out. From that moment, everyone thought you looked like me and that hasn't changed. You are definitely my mini me. I love it. You are a spunky kid. One that we needed. You have a beautiful spirit, a heart of gold, a determination. You aren't afraid to try anything, but you know what you like.  We've exposed you to several organized activities. At first you are thrilled, but by the 4th practice, you've had your fill of them. Daddy and I have pushed back a bit, not letting you quit. You commit. You finish. Right now, we are counting the days until gymnastics wraps up so we can stop hearing the complaining ;) You've tried soccer, basketball, ballet/tap, sing/shake club, & gymnastics. Nothing seems to stick. Of course you don't HAVE to have a sport/activity. We just want you to be happy. I found an art camp for 2 days and you loved that. We'll continue to try new things and let you follow your heart.

You are a people person. You've never met a stranger. Daddy and I love it, but hate this quality at the same time. You wave to everyone you know, remember seeing at some point or have never seen before. You are definitely a social girl. Claire depends on you to pave the way in the moments where she can be hesitant to take the leap. You are never afraid. Brave girl. Keep being adventurous.

Mya, you continue to teach Daddy and I more than we can ever teach you. Just when we think we have the parenting thing figured out, you throw us for a loop. We are learning that each child is very different and it is important to guide them accordingly. For you, we are working on boundaries. Giving you guidelines, expectations and then letting you be you. It is working. You are such an emotional/sensitive soul. You perceive guidance as anger. Please don't ever doubt how much your Daddy and I love you. You are our life. We love you more than anything on this Earth. We have such big dreams for you.

You are such a wonderful big sister. Gavin smiles the moment he sees you or hears your voice. You provide great entertainment, doing silly things just to make him laugh. You are a great helper, wanting nothing less than to feed him and dote on his every need.

Kindergarten is wrapping up. It has been a transitional year. You've had to learn to adapt to a different kind of schedule than what you were used to at Montessori Preschool. It has been a year of ups and downs. Daddy and I let go of our academic expectations, knowing that you will progress when you are ready. You began kindergarten knowing your letters, the sounds they made, numbers, basic adding and I'd say you've ended kindergarten a more fluent reader. You are certainly ready for first grade. Letting go of control has been the best parenting technique we've tried with you. When we do this, you are a much happier and compliant child. We have faith that HE will guide each of us as we need.

Mya you are such a spicy girl. I smile just thinking of all the funny, clever things you say and do. You make us laugh on a daily basis. I love how when you play with the German girls across the street, you think any made up sound/word is most certainly German and that they should understand you. So funny.

No matter how much you challenge us, no matter how much you push us, we know that you are challenging us to be better. Better people, better parents. That is a gift. You are a gift, Mya. A beautiful, strong, funny, intelligent, and confident gift. The world is such a better place with you in it. More importantly, our family is blessed to have you in it. We love you, Mya. You will never know how much we do, but know that everything we say, every opportunity we provide, everything we do together is just a small sample of how much we care. You are an amazing daughter. We love you!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Being Good Enough...

It seems life is flying at rapid pace. From the moment we wake, Chris and I are barking out orders to make sure everything gets done, everyone has what they need and all walk out the door with relatively brushed teeth, combed hair and clean clothes. It is a group effort. While our girls do pretty well, they get side tracked--often by their brother's cuteness. It is frustrating. That frustration turns the tides from a pleasant morning to a crabby, hurry-filled panic. Super frustrating.

Work is my calm amidst the storm. I am in control. Of my schedule, of my life. There and only there do I not have 3 other demanding little people's needs to meet as well, knowing full well, their happiness rests on my shoulders. I love my job. That being said, working outside the home, means nothing productive is happening in other areas of my life--no laundry being washed, floors being cleaned, food being scraped off the high chair, boxes being packed.

At 2:35 it begins again. The storm. I pick up Mya from class. She is typically eager to see me, but most often, waving at friends along the way, setting up play dates without my consent and hurriedly rushing to the spot where we wait for Claire. Claire is a different soul. She arrives, greets us, then excitedly tells me about her day, down to every last detail. We walk to the van, where we drive to pick up Gavin, then rush to the afternoon's activity.

I've learned the hard way that something has to give. I can't do it all. I can't have my cake and eat it too. So, in hopes to reclaim some sanity without compromising my children's childhoods, I gave up going to Crossfit. It is a bittersweet sacrifice. It was my outlet. I hated going, felt nauseous before every workout, but felt so good afterwards. I felt like I was improving myself. I felt like I was modeling good health to my children. I felt I was showing my girls that strong is amazing. However, rushing from school to activity to the gym nearly every night, meant that the minutes I was with my children were stressful ones. I was barking orders. Rushing to get the necessaries done. I was constantly thinking about my never ending "to do" list. I was failing--as a mom and as a person. Our schedule was so full. Mya hadn't completed her homework in well over a month. Claire was practicing her violin one night per week which was typically the day before her lesson. Neither of them had time to play or be children.

While quitting the gym was one piece of the puzzle, the other piece was cutting out activities. I stopped violin lessons until next fall. Gymnastics ends the end of May as does their afterschool club. That will mean a wide open schedule. We are going to sign them  up for swimming lessons in June, but that is all.

For me, I am trying to become more organized. I am making weekly goals vs. longer term ones. I am taking it one day at a time. I am trying to savor my children's childhoods. Before long, they will be grown and gone and I will be yearning for those memories. These babies may seem big now, but the truth is that they are forever my babies. Instead of constantly pushing them to be more independent, I need to cherish their littleness. One day they won't need me. That day will come soon enough.I need to let them be little and hold on tightly to every minute. So with that, here are my goals for this week:
1. Make a simple meal plan and stick to it.
2. Organize the file cabinet. Make individual files, shred what is no longer needed.
3. Read to/with Mya & Claire every night.
4. Go on an evening walk as a family.
5. Say "no" less often. Let it go. I know I have good kids. Try to be the Mom who is okay with ice cream before dinner, messiness and all things fun.
6. Know that I am good enough. Not perfect. Good enough.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Life lately...

It has been a while since I've written. We've been busy living each day. No excuses. Simply  speaking the truth. Although we've reduced the number of after school activities, the increased amount of sunshine means more time outside, and less time taking care of business. Chris and I area still going strong with crossfit. We or I  grumpily completed a half murph, which is an 800 m. run, 50 pull ups (ring rows for me), 100 push ups, 150 body squats and another 800 m run. Horrible, painful, miserable, but completed.
The girls are wrapping up their final 8 weeks of second grade and kindergarten. They are looking forward to all things summer and talk at length about all the wonderful things they wish to experience when we travel to the States this summer-camping, water skiing, the lake, etc. I am so happy that they appreciate all the fun they've come to know as summer too.
Gavin is growing and changing faster than we can imagine. He is nodding his head and shaking his head. He LOVES all things nature--playing outside, going for rides in the stroller, water. He takes it all in and hates to retreat to the indoors. Two top molars have pushed through, so his stuffy nose and conjestion have cleared. He is growing like a weed and is quite a happy boy. He has begun to insist on feeding himself. Independent and not even two!
We returned from our second cruise a little over a week ago! We traveled with my mom and her friend, Percy. It was lovely--Rome, Sicily, Sardenia, Mallorca, Valencia, and Marseille. We had blue skies and sunshine for all but Rome. We all had a blast.
Chris and I have finally found a home to purchase. It has been a long search. We were just beginning to think we may need to adjust our "musts," when this one became available. It is only 3 streets over from the home we are currently renting. We are beyond excited, but not looking forward to the packing and moving process.  We will likely move in the end of July.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One Amazing Year

Dearest G,
Life is funny. After we had Claire, we wondered if we were capable of loving anyone else quite as much. Along came Mya and blew all hesitations away,  yet we wondered once again. Finally, came you. Our love for you has surpassed any measure. You are a perfect addition to our family. God certainly knew what he was doing when he blessed our family with your presence. You are the ying to your sisters' yang. You are the balance we needed. You, my sweet boy, are one year old today. It is with such joy and happiness that we've celebrated all this first year has encompassed and look forward to each amazing adventure ahead.
Here are the facts:
You wear size 4 diapers.
12 mo. clothing
Eat anything and everything.
I kid that you are delayed as you think a wave means anything/everything. Perhaps you got it right as that wave is guaranteed to bring smiles to everyone's face.
You say "mama," "dadda," "yumm." I swear you've said "mya" and "claire" too, but only once or twice.
The other day we were getting ready to leave. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when I told you to get your coat so we could go bye-bye. Moments later it was silent in the foyer. I peaked out, only to see you walking over towards the bathroom with your coat in hand. Such a smart kiddo!
You walk like a pro!
You roll the ball and retrieve it too.
You LOVE rides in the stroller and being outside. You cry when it is time to come in.
You love music. We often turn on Vevo just so we can see you dance--shaking your bootie up and down. So darn cute!
You sleep well-6:30 pm to 6:00 am. We snuggle, give you milk, then lay you down. Super easy.
Claire and Mya are your favorites. You search for them when they are not there. You want their attention and they LOVE to dote on you! We have a rotation so each can have equal opportunity to snuggle with you in the morning and bring you downstairs after a nap. They are in love!
You are really a pretty easy kid. You love to be around people, but you are content playing independently. You still love to have something hanging out of your mouth. Claire likes to share that you are part dog-eating off the floor and carrying things around in your mouth. A very cute dog.
You continue to lay down on the floor from time to time. Just taking a break for a minute. Totally adorable.
You have 6 teeth--4 on top, 2 on the bottom.
Your eyes are still blue, hair is blonde.

It has been such a great year, G. You are most certainly a bright spot in our family, a true gift from God. We love watching your personality grow and change. The girls tell anyone who will lend an ear, all about you. You are definitely their pride and joy. We all feel so blessed to be your family. We love you, Gavin.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

11 months

My dearest Gavin,
You have become such a little man! I love it/you with all my heart. Every breath you take, every thing you attempt to say, every step you take, every little thing you put in your mouth. All. Totally. Adorable.

I can't believe you are nearly one year! It seems like yesterday we had just come home from the hospital and were learning to navigate this new life together. It has been a crazy ride, but we are in such a good place right now. You have the best qualities of each of us. It really is an amazing thing.
My biggest worry was that you would be a high maintenance kid. You went through a significantly fussy period and I fretted that this would become the you I would know forever. Thank goodness that has been far from reality.

You are such a mellow kid. You go with the flow--letting the girls lug you around like a sack of potatoes, run with us from activity to activity, eager to see where we go. You are an independent player. You love to explore. I frequently find/hear you moving the stool around in the kitchen so you can get a glimpse of what is on top of the cabinets! You move it to the windows, so you can get a better look outside. You move it next to the intercom, so you can reach the phone. You are a smart one! Climbing has been your thing since 9 months, but it is definitely a highlight of your life right now.

Claire and I often joke that you are part dog. You love and are most often seen carrying something around in your mouth. It started with a teeny tiny car that Grammy and Papa got you for Christmas, but it has moved to doctor's tools, bigger cars, spoons and pretty much anything else that you can find. Our laundry room has a small open area with loose rocks. Why, I'm not sure. Anyway, we have to watch you like a hawk as you often scoot in there and toss a rock or two in your mouth before you make an escape.

You love to play with balls, cars and books. Mya introduced you to her play kitchen, so you now love to cook. The girls frequently bring you in their rooms so they can play with you while Daddy and I catch a few more minutes of sleep. They read you books, play babies and act silly to make you laugh. You love them like no other. Seeing your sisters after a nap or after school, brings a huge smile to your face. Your whole body shakes with excitement. They love you so much too. Each morning, I have to alternate between them for they both want to carry you downstairs. They love to get you out of your crib after naps. You are truly the light within this family, G.

You go by a few different nicknames. Mya started calling you "Gavo" awhile ago and that has seemed to stick. Claire and I call you "Gavi", Daddy sometimes calls you "Buddy." Everyone seems to call you something different. I call you by many--Gavo, Gavi, G, Gavin.

You are walking. You've been walking for a few weeks already, but we've finally moved beyond 4-5 steps! It is so fun to see your face of excitement, pride and panic all at once ;) You are doing so well!

You are a pretty good eater. You eat anything, but lately have been spitting out the outside casing of blueberries. They used to be your fav. You still love mac and cheese, but really will eat anything--spaghetti sauce, chicken, sweet potato, peppers, grapes, applesauce, yogurt, cereal, chips, tomatoes, cheese, strawberries, bananas, etc. You eat it all. When we don't feed you fast enough, you get so mad. You want what you want and you tend to want it now!

Gavin you are a great sleeper! I am so happy to write this. We have a nice little routine of a bottle, snuggles with me or daddy, then down in your crib around 6:30 pm. You typically sleep until 6:00 am. It is awesome. You occasionally wake during the night, search for a paci, then go right back to sleep. You are much like your sisters. You love to have a paci in your mouth and at least one more in a hand, sometimes two or three. I love remembering these crazy similarities.

You still wear a size 3 diaper, drink similac formula, wear 9 month and 12 month clothing. I frequently carry you around in our Tula baby carrier. You are happy as long as we are moving. You go to Ms. Natalie's every day. Your face lights up when you see her each morning. I had to bring you to the CDC for 4 days this month. It was your first experience of going somewhere new for the day. It broke my heart to leave you crying as you watched me leave. However, I am so thankful that you have Ms. Natalie to love you when I am at work. She is so good to you!

Gavin you are a delight in every way. I love and cherish the time I have with you, trying to take in and lock in each look, noise and experience, knowing they won't be repeated. I love you with all my ability and want nothing more than to be the best Momma, cheerleader and teacher for you. It is with such sweet blessings that we celebrate 11 months together.

Friday, February 13, 2015

what could have been...

We are in such a good place in our lives right now. Chris and I both have rewarding jobs that we enjoy. I'd say love, but I'm not sure if he "loves" his or not. :) We just marked our anniversary of our first date on February 12th, which was 17 years ago! I feel we are closer today than we've ever been. Chris and I chatted about the crossfit/support issue and he finally saw the light. Needless to say, this week has been much better. I feel supported and loved. Our kids are healthy, active, smart and dare I say, happy. All that said, I find it fascinating that we cannot help but feel sad or unsatisfied, held back by the what could have been's.
Chris made the decision to retire from the Air Force. It was a tough decision. One filled with pros and cons. The pros obviously being stability for our family and more time together. The cons being what is bringing us to this bittersweet place. It is this month that we would have found out, along with our other friends, our next duty assignment. Most of our friends are headed to a job at the Pentagon. It is most likely, we would have as well. Although, the Pentagon position is not a life we desired as it means countless hours, sometimes nights, spent at work. It means a long commute. It means a father who is not deployed, but basically is deployed. This month would have also marked Chris' promotion to major. This is the one that makes him most sad. He is hearing the news of his friends who share his year group. While happy for them, he can't help but think what could have been. 
Again, we made the choice to retire together. We love our life. Most would give anything to see the world and experience the things we have. Most would love to have our work schedules, salaries, etc. We've worked hard to get where we are. We've had struggles. We've had roadblocks. We push through. We are finally in a solid, comfortable place, yet we reflect on what could have been. Life is funny like that.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

10 months

I really should have combined your 9 and 10 month updates as I was so late writing the 9 month. So, I am going to do something a bit different. In honor of 10 amazing months with you, I am going to do a top 10 list.
Top 10 Things I LOVE about Gavin.
10. i love the way that you are a perfect mix of all of us. you are easy going, mellow, short tempered,       happy, goofy, fussy, funny, and loving little boy. truly, a perfect fit. that missing piece of our              puzzle.
9.  i love the way you give us a full, uninterrupted night of sleep. just when we need it the most.
8. the way you look at us when we feed you your bottle. i love that time with you, although daddy has     been doing more of those feedings lately.
7. the way you eat anything. you seriously love food and will eat anything we put in front of you.
    thank you!
6. how you love baths. we've moved to baths in our huge bathtub. you move from one side of the tub       to the other, chasing the floating toys as you go. it is hilarious. cracks me up every time!
5. the way you laugh at every goofy thing your sisters do to entertain you. it's as if you know they
    need a laugh as reinforcement.
4. the way your face lights up when you see your sisters, daddy and i after a long day.
3. the way you place your tongue between your lips with that look of determination in your eyes.
2. the way you randomly lay down, resting your head on the carpet, a blanket, whatever. so. stinkin.
1. the way you say "mamama." it melts my heart every. single. time.

You are an incredible boy, G. Soon you will be walking, talking and fighting to keep up with Claire and Mya. Daddy and I have to pinch ourselves that you are really ours. A dream come true. Our amazing little boy, we prayed so long to call our own. We love you more each and every day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

9 months

This post is long overdue, but as with most things lately, I am behind and trying desperately to catch up! My dearest Gavin, you are 9 months old! You have changed so much and have begun doing some amazing things this month.
We've been battling colds and runny noses. Some of which relate to your teething. You have 6 teeth--4 on top and 2 on the bottom. Everyone is constantly commenting on your little chompers as you now have the toothiest grin. It is adorable.
Now that you have some beautiful teeth, we've made the final adjustment to only eating finger foods. You can feed yourself for the most part and eagerly anticipate each meal. You particularly love blueberries, yogurt, fried rice, pancakes, cheerios, and bananas. We've also transitioned to sippy cups. It was a battle at first, but probably because you just weren't ready, but you use one all day at Ms. Natalie's house and we use one at home for meals. I am not quite ready to give up the bottle yet. Perhaps I am desperately trying to hold onto the remaining pieces of babyhood that seem to be slipping through my fingers. You are growing up too quickly and while I love every  moment, I want to savor them.
Gavin, you are wearing size 3 diapers, 9 month clothing, but 12 month jammies. Your growth has slowed down a tad this month. Daddy took you for your 9 month well baby visit and you are growing/developing right on track. Here are your stats: weight--19.4# (25th %ile); height--27.7 in. (25th %ile); head circumference--18.3 in. (78th %ile).
You are cruising everywhere. We've tried to get you walking, but you just aren't confident in taking that leap. You cling to our legs or fingers, but will stand for up to 10 seconds independently. You will likely be an early walker.We will see. You love balls. I guess you get that from your cousin, Jackson :) We roll the ball to you and you push it back. So much fun to have playful interactions with you. You are into exploring and climbing stairs. If we leave the door that separates our living room and foyer open, you take off and head for the stairs. You love to climb them.You also love to get into the trash cans and cupboards. It drives me crazy! You recently discovered the water cooler, so that is also a high interest activity. You move on over there and pull the lever down, watching the water pool below. What a little stinker!
Gavin you are babbling so much! You do say Mama. I LOVE IT! We've been trying to encourage Dada, but it just isn't there yet. In fact, you don't do much on demand. You do as you wish.
Sleep is improving each month. You are able to sleep through the night and do so inconsistently. We lay you down at 6:30-7:00 and sometimes you wake at 4:00 while other times you sleep until 6:30. It is never a certainty, but either way, you do well. We just bring you into our bed and you go right back to sleep. I can't say I mind waking up with you next to me. Napping is another story. While you nap 2 times per day, the length of those naps are highly inconsistent. Oh well. I am okay with that too. Nighttime is what matters to me.
You are pretty laid back. You go with the flow as you are swept away to violin lessons, basketball practice or the gym. You do as you need. Smiling and taking it all in. We laugh as you smile like both Mya & Claire used to--scrunchy nose and all. Ms. Natalie calls you "scrunchy face" every morning when I drop you off and you greet her with a smile. You love Ms. Natalie. You've begun to make strange with others, clinging to Daddy and I, but thankfully, you transition to Ms. Natalie like she's your 2nd Mama. I appreciate that as I know she loves you like her own. We've upgraded to a Tula baby carrier, which has been a lifesaver for me. Europe isn't always conducive to strollers, so wearing you is the way to go. I prefer wearing you most of the time, which is so different than when your sisters were young. We never wore them beyond the first few months. You are totally happy in the stroller or carrier. Again, a perfect fit to our family.
Gavin, you love playing with balls, climbing on the little rocking chair that was mine as a child, reading books, watching and playing with the car ramp, and stacking building blocks onto one other. You are thrilled to see your sisters each day when school is finished. They are your primary source of entertainment as they make you their real live baby. Mya is convinced that you love her kitchen. I think you just love to explore.
Another month has passed. I see other Mama's with their wee little babies and honestly, cannot remember life at that point. It is amazing how quickly I have forgotten. I am just thankful that you are healthy, happy and such a perfect little person. We try to take it all in, savoring every little thing for both Daddy and I know, that in the blink of an eye, you will be seven. You are such an amazing blessing. We couldn't be more in love with you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Chris and I began a new adventure last night--Crossfit. I first learned about Crossfit when we lived in Massachusetts, but I was too busy being pregnant, dealing with life as a new mom and work to take the plunge. It intrigued me. I read blogs documenting the journeys of overweight, stressed Mamas who transformed themselves both mentally and physically through this activity. I love exercise. I love trying new things, but hate feeling incompetent or less than. It's a psychological war that plays out in my head. It's just a matter of if I let the fear paralyze me or not.
Crossfit is popular here. It seems to be the "new thing" in the fitness world. A new gym opened in our little village, which offers crossfit classes. Chris and I took the leap. Our first class was a success. Being a new gym, their membership is low. That meant Chris and I were the only ones in the class. Of course, I didn't desire all the attention, but at the same time, it allowed us to not feel completely foolish in front of others and to learn the proper form needed for the exercises. The workout was tough, but fun. We have committed to attending classes 3 times per week for the month, then we'll re-evaluate our plan. I think once we start seeing results whether it be physically or visually, we'll be hooked. I am glad we took the plunge.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A month of Thanks.

I am going to try something different. Many friends are posting something they are thankful for each day through the month of November. I am going to post each day within the same post in hopes that I have a list of 30 items at the end of the month.
November 1: I am thankful for weekends. Time to nap, time to catch up on laundry. Time to chat with my kids.
November 2: I am thankful for lunch delivered to my table. Chinese food has become our Sunday lunch tradition. I love it. Eating at our leisure, chatting with our children, fighting over the rice and chicken, and listening to Gavin fuss when the spoon is taken away from his mouth. The boy likes to eat.
November 3: I am thankful for my job. I essentially make my own schedule, which means quiet days when I am battling a sinus infection. LOVE.
November 4: I am thankful for my family. They tolerate my moodiness, love me despite my flaws and push me to better myself.
November 5: I am thankful for Reading Counts. It is through this program that I am able to interact with Claire and feel her love of reading. She is reading like no other--often a chapter book per night. She reads in her bed at night, in the car, in my office, on the couch, announcing when she finished a chapter and waits for her "way to go" or "good job" from Chris and I. Man I love that. She is flourishing and I am so thankful.
November 6: I am thankful for sweet words. Mya comes up with the best ones. "That is so beautiful." "Oh, I really love that." These words uttered in my kids' little voices warms my heart like nothing else and instantly brings a smile to my face no matter the moment.
November 7: I am thankful for patience. Sometimes I am lacking, but I do appreciate when I have plenty. Patience to keep calm, keep my cool and not flip out at silly Saturday happenings--fights between sisters, not listening to directions, touching things little hands are not supposed to, leaving small pieces of toys on the floor which yearns to Gavin to come.
November 8: I am thankful for new carseats. Gavin just upgraded to his convertible carseat. He loves it. He can actually see out the window in the van, which means a whole new world has opened up before him. Now we ride in silence most of the time as he looks at all that passes by.
November 9: I am thankful for rain. Obviously rain makes everything new again, washes away the old. I am thankful for a more selfish reason. Rain keeps my children inside, close to me. It allows me to be the homebody I desire to be at times.
November 10: I am thankful for morning. A fresh start, a sleep to wash away events from the day before. We wake with happy children, excited to see what the new day will hold.
November 11: I am thankful for the military life we once lead. Today is Veteran's Day. A day we honor those who have protected and continue to protect our freedom. I am thankful.
November 12: I am thankful for my colleagues. Those who push me to do better, support me, and appreciate me.
November 13: I am thankful for online shopping. It is nearly the middle of November and for the first time in maybe forever, I am nearly done Christmas shopping thanks to Amazon, Old Navy, etc.
November 14: I am thankful for big sisters. They are the best babysitters, the best playmates, the most fun, and according to their little brother, they must have hung the moon. They are nothing but love.
November 15: I am thankful for Christmas decorations. We put up Christmas today. I love the beauty of Christmas, the "specialness" of the decor, the ornaments that each have special meaning. I love sharing it all with my children in hopes they one day carry the love to their children.
November 16: I am thankful for my husband. He doesn't give himself nearly enough credit, but he is an amazing father. He is methodical in his explanations, is purposeful in his learning and eager to push our children to better themselves. He is perfect.
November 17:  I am thankful for parent/teacher conference days. These days are relaxed. Easy.
November 18: I am thankful for my children's teachers. Those they have now, those they've had in the past and those they will have in the future. I am thankful for the love of learning they have as a result of these amazing individuals.
November 19: I am thankful for my beautiful family. They are such amazing people. Sure we have our moments of frustration and irritation, but I can't imagine going a day without them. They are my everything. My kids are incredible, loving people. They are the best of friends and such intelligent little souls. They love to help, make things better and make each day brighter.
November 20: I am thankful for Chris. He is my number 1, my everything. I take him for granted so often, but truthfully, he is my person. He makes everything okay. Our relationship has changed so much over the past 7 years, but we always work together on making it better, knowing that we are forever. I can't ever tell him how much I love him. He handles my "dementia" like a champ, listens to my frustration, hears my plea for help, and works his magic to make it all better. I love, love, love this man and know full well how lucky I am.
November 21: I am thankful for my Dad. Today is his birthday. He is 70. It hurts that I am not near to celebrate with him, but this man has taught me more than anyone. When I reflect on myself, I feel like I am alot like him. I know I look alot like him, but I think he taught me to make things okay, settle differences, act as the middle man, be emotional/passionate, most of my singing skill came from him, he taught me how to golf, keep my head in the game and focus, he taught me to keep calm so that I can think clearly. He has bailed me from a number of jams throughout my life. He was the one I could call, knowing he would always do whatever he needed in order to help me. He was my rock. I am only so blessed that my children have come to know him and love him like I do. He is an amazing Dad and I am so thankful that he is mine. I can only hope to pass on such wonderful wisdom, insight and love to my children.
November 22: I am thankful for base resources. Although we live overseas, being affiliated with the military base makes life "normal." I am so thankful that we have a commissary to buy all our "American" needs, a post office, the BX, etc. I can't imagine living overseas without these supports.
November 23: I am thankful for Natalie. She is Gavin's daycare provider. She's watched him since he was 6 weeks old and loves him like he is her son. I am so thankful to have her in our life. Knowing that Gavin is in the best of care, allows me to do my job well and eases my mind that he is safe, loved and having fun.
November 23: I am thankful for traditions. We celebrated Thanksgiving early as we are due to travel, but I am thankful my children know and understand Thanksgiving, that they will appreciate the home cooked meal, the Christmas decorations and the stories that coincide, the routine of celebrating Jesus' birth and the family that is the center of it all. I am thankful to have had these traditions during my childhood and that I may share them with my children who may one day share them with their own.
November 24: I am thankful for opportunities. I never in my life imagined I would live in Europe. I had dreams of living in New York City, but never Europe. I am thankful for the opportunity the military provided. I am thankful for the opportunity to work for DODEA, the opportunity to continue this journey and the opportunities that may arise as we go. The road we walk is an amazing one.
November 25: I am thankful for the telephone. I've called my Mom 4 days in a row. I am so thankful that even though we may be an ocean apart, I am still able to pick up the phone and talk with her like we are next door. It is an incredible invention and one that I am grateful.
November 26: I am thankful for motivation. Chris and I have decided to focus on our health. After talking for sometime about what "I am going to do after I have this baby," I am finally putting a plan into place. We are beginning crossfit next week. I finally have the motivation and focus needed to execute this plan. I am scared. I am nervous and I fear that I may die, BUT I want to be healthy. I want to show my children that they can do anything. I want to show them that I have pride in myself and most importantly, that I love them.
November 27: I am thankful for experiences. Chris and I used to talk about where we saw our lives in 5 years, 10 years, etc. and never did we actually think we'd have the experiences we have. I take them for granted so often, but something about hearing the words, "Czech Republic," "Germany," "Switzerland," etc. out of the mouths of my children makes that reality set in. We are living an amazing life that most only dream of. We've seen more places in this lifetime than most. Our children have set foot on four continents in their short, short lives. We have sooo much to be thankful for.
November 28: We wandered around Prague today, owning it like natives, hopping on a bus, to the subway and taking it all in. We stopped at a few Christmas markets, stood, looking in amazement in the Old Square as a Gothic Church with two ornate spires towered over us. So much beauty and heartache in this gorgeous city. Our little family is attempting to seize each moment.
November 29: As we swam our little hearts out at the AquaPalace waterpark, I found myself thankful for the hours upon hours we've spent at the pool, watching our children go from floundering little beings who couldn't doggie paddle to actual swimmers. Other children their ages were wearing life jackets, floaties, etc., but our children could jump in any pool and swim with no alarm.
November 30: When traveling in new cities, we've become accustomed to taking the "hop on, hop off" bus tour. It is the perfect way to rest our legs, get a feel for what there is to see and hear the history along the ride, history that we'd never learn otherwise. It is this tour that brought much thankfulness into my heart. Due to the history of Communism in the Czech Republic, religion was nearly wiped out. According to the guide, only 30% of the population believe in some form of God, the remaining 70% are atheist. These statistics break my heart. How can one go day in and day out, not knowing that someone is there for them, that something better is to come, that living according to God's word, provides a light in your life and heart. Such sadness, but thankful that neither I nor my family have known such heartache.

Friday, November 21, 2014

8 months

Somewhere in between flashes of time, you turned 8 months old! We've had an amazing month. You've become so aware and interested of everything around you. I tease that you are JUST like your sisters--nosey, nosey, nosey. You flash smiles to all that look your way. You are so eager to see what is going on and afraid you may miss something amazing. Needless to say, walking through the BX or some other place in our little community is exciting for you. You sit back and take it all in!
This month you refined your crawl. You are able to actually crawl, but still have convinced yourself that the low, army crawl is where it's at.
You pull yourself up. ALL. THE. TIME. Everything is fair game now as you are reaching and discovering all the wonderful things you can find. Your sisters are beginning to learn the hard way the reprocusions of not putting their things away. I love it!
You walk along the couch, occasionally saunter over to the coffee table, then make your way across to the loveseat. You are all over the place.
Babbling is filling our house. You are saying "dadadada, mammama, babababa." While I wouldn't call any of that your first word, others may argue. I am holding out for that first time you reach for me while saying "mamama." That will be the symphony to my soul, dear boy. I can't wait.
You have been teething like a mad man. Your eye teeth have popped through, following your cousin Luke's pattern of teeth growth. You look like a vampire of sorts, but the middle ones are making their way through as well. It has been a non-stop pattern. You are taking it like a champ though. You fuss a bit more than usual, get a little clingier to your Daddy and I, but all in all, are your happy self.
You still LOVE baths and eating. We've moved to giving you real food vs. puree and you are in heaven! Even if we feed you a puree, you still end up reaching and grabbing our food anyway. You know you are missing out on something fabulous ;) We bathe you in the kitchen sink, more or less for our own convenience, but I am afraid that will be coming to an end soon. You are getting too big!!
You were 9 month clothing, have light brown/dark blonde hair that keeps us guessing and those blue eyes are sticking around. Beautiful, beautiful boy.
We moved you out of your infant carseat and you couldn't be happier.
We love you, sweet boy. You are such a gift to our family. It has been such fun watching you grow and change. We are thankful for each and every day, trying to do our best to relish in every moment for we know how quickly they pass.
Grow slowly,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

7 months

You have been on this Earth for 7 amazing months. Each one is better than the last. You are getting so big and interacting so much more than you ever have. Here are some milestones from this month:
-You ate mashed potatoes, banana, refried beans, yogurt, sweet potatoes, squash, & scrambled eggs. You are constantly eyeballing our food, wanting to eat it all!
-We typically give you a small container of fruit/vege combination at lunch and mix a container with oatmeal for dinner.
-You continue to have 24+ oz of milk per day. We've ended our breastfeeding journey this month. My poor supply continued to dwindle despite my best efforts and the added stress made the situation worse. I know you will be a healthy, happy boy regardless.
- You are off of your reflux medication and doing great!
-You sleep through the night in your crib. We put you down around 7 pm and you wake around 5:30 am.
-You went on your first ride in the swing this month and loved it. Seriously. All smiles!
-We took you to the pumpkin patch, soccer games, walks in the park, hikes in the woods, and everywhere else life has taken us. You take each new place in stride, just hanging out and taking it all in. We put you in the Beco carrier quite alot now, although you are happy as can be in the stroller too. The carrier is just easier at times.
-The girls read to you often. You sit contently, looking at the pages and listening to each word.
-We've parted ways with the swing. You are just too big!
-You still love to bounce in the jumper thing and sit in the bumbo while I work in the kitchen.
- You army crawl everywhere! You seem to have no desire to figure out how to coordinate the arm and leg movements for the real crawl. You can do them both, but not together. It is quite the sight, watching you use your arms to pull your body around.
-You have 2 teeth (lower gumline), light brown/blondish hair and blue eyes.
-You wear some 6 mo. clothing, but are quickly moving into 9 mo.
-You are mostly called by name, but I call you "G" frequently. No other nicknames have really been offered yet.
-I am getting too weak to carry you and the infant car seat, so I broke down and ordered a convertible car seat for you. I bet you are going to love having the luxury of sitting up--spying on your sisters will be so much easier!
All in all, you are a pure delight. Claire said to me last night, "Gavin is the cutest baby in this world. I am so glad you had him. I love him so much." Yep. That pretty much sums up how we all feel about you, G. You are our little blessing.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Changes & Progress...

This little blog is my outlet. As a result, I often write my crazy thoughts when they are at the peak of craziness. When I am at my whits end. When life seems as though it is in a hurricane. Needless to say, there are many more blue sky days than dark ones. And that, my friends, is what matters most. Just to assure you that I am not living in a life of chaos or disaster or regrets, I thought I'd update you. This month has been one of transformations and changes. Slowly but surely we are getting there. Sometimes the things you've been searching for come when you stop searching and just live. That's where we are now. Just living. Here's the point by point dealio:
1. I searched for an on call babysitter much of last year that could come watch my kiddos for an hour or so each day so I could workout, run errands, etc. No luck. Well, well, well...I stopped looking and one fell in my lap. Sort of. I've discovered a pretty fabulous friend who hooked me up with the daughter of another friend. She is watching our kiddos (as many days as I'd like) for an hour or so after work so we can work out. A couple of teacher friends are certified fitness instructors, so they offer classes in our school gym. I am in! Until soccer ends at the end of October, I can only do 2 days per week, but that's a start.
2. I am taking some time for me! I enjoyed my first girl's night out last week. We went to a Spanish Wine and Tapas tasting and had such a great time. It was fun visiting with friends, knowing that my kiddos were in great hands.
3. I am intentionally moving. I am walking whenever I can. I park farther away at work, walk/run when the girls are at gymnastics class, walk while Claire is at her violin lesson & Mya is playing on the playground, take the kids on a walk/run after school when we don't have activities, push Gavin in the stroller while the girls play at the playground. Every step makes a difference and is one more calorie burned.
4. I've stopped drinking diet coke. It is my first step towards more healthful nutrition. I am baby wearing, bought Gavin an amber teething necklace, researching essential oils, cutting out sugar and even juiced. I tease my friends that I am trying to become more hippyish, but in truth, I am trying to live more healthfully, relying less on processed foods and chemicals. Things I used to mock, I am now trying to implement. For my health and more importantly, for the health of my kids. I am not sure I'll be 100% hippy, but we'll see. It all started with Norwex, J. It all started with Norwex. :)
5. I am more organized. We lay out clothes the night before, I pack a bag with all the soccer clothes, uniforms, leotards we need for the entire week and keep it in the car. I plan meals. We have a better schedule and routine for Gavin and the girls.
All in all, life is good. I feel we have turned a huge corner this month. Gavin is getting to be such fun, the girls finally know how they can help without having to be asked, and everyone is functioning better now that a routine and predictability is in place. Of course, we sometimes get off course, but right now, things are good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

6 months.

I blinked and all of a sudden, I have a 6 month old baby! Where in the world did time go?! While these past six months haven't been the easiest, they've been amazing. There is nothing like living life through a child. Gavin has grown and changed in so many ways this month. It has been a huge month for him!
He has gotten so much longer. His hair is finally becoming more abundant. His blue eyes seem to be sticking around for awhile longer. He has finally tried out some food, eating oatmeal (loved), sweet potato (loved), a chunk of banana (not quite a fan), some avocado (didn't eat much, mostly played with it) and even some mashed potatoes. I am sort of doing my own thing with feedings, but trying to stick mostly with vegetables  until they are solid successes. Gavin lights up when he sees his sisters. They can make him laugh better than anyone else. They read to him every morning and lug him around every afternoon. He takes it all in,  every squeeze, every tickle, every silly word like he has never heard them before. Claire and Mya have been amazing helpers. They tend to him in the mornings, so Chris and I can get ready for work. They frequently dress him, change his diapers and feed him on the way to school, not because we ask, but because they LOVE to. We couldn't ask for better. Gavin has been sleeping in his own bed for most nights. Sometimes he moves to ours halfway through, but he is adjusting. Two of his bottom teeth popped through this month, which has made him uncomfortable for a couple of nights, but all in all, he's taking it like a champ! G can sit independently for short spurts (couple of minutes) and is determined to crawl soon. He is up on his knees and moves them back and forth, only needing to coordinate his arms, then he will be off. He scoots backwards like no other and sometimes manages to push himself forward too. I think that action even surprises him! He is a doll. Plain and simple. I've really enjoyed this month as he is becoming more alert to his surroundings, more interested in exploring and more content with what is offered. He puts anything and everything in his mouth, studies things as if he is really trying to analyze them, and has figured out what pulling hair is all about. Gavin is content pretty much anywhere. He likes to ride in the stroller as long as he is facing outward, he enjoys the carrier (riding on either the front or on the back--my Beco Butterfly 2 has been a lifesaver as not everywhere in Europe is stroller friendly). We frequently put him in the carrier instead of hauling in the carseat/stroller combo now.
G is wearing size 3 diapers.
He sleeps from 7-12ish, then eats and returns to sleep--sometimes for a couple of hours, sometimes until 5. There really is no pattern there yet.
He drinks 6 oz at a time. I am continuing to pump breast milk, but I am afraid my days are numbered. He does drink formula at night. For whatever reason, breastfeeding/pumping has been a challenge this time around. I had supply galore with the girls, but I am lucky to pump 5 oz. during the workday. Needless to say, we are taking it as it comes. I am happy I've managed to provide for 6 months and I am keeping my fingers crossed for 6 more.