One Month

Dear Alice,

Oh sweet girl, we made it through the first month of your life. Can you believe it? Nope. We can’t either.

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It’s been a whirlwind of activity. It’s definitely true that by your third child, things just move quicker and there is no time for blinking or you’ll miss something.

Our first week was pretty laid back–you slept or ate or pooped.  That was really it. So I slept a lot too since part of the time we were in the hospital and part we were home with daddy. You and I spent about 10 days just recuperating from your moving day from womb to outside world.

Then it got real, as they say.

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At your appointment five days after birth, you had already gained back to your birth weight (you left the hospital a dainty 7lbs 10oz) plus a couple ounces. By your two week appointment you were rocking over nine and a half pounds. Still our tiniest baby, even at a month, you are still in newborn size for jammies and some pants. You’ve pretty much grown too long for newborn onsies, though and are graduating to 3-month size.

You are eating like a champ; already averaging almost 4 oz per feeding. Daddy just bumped you to the #2 nipples so you would stop falling asleep after an ounce in the middle of the night.  He likes to go back to bed, you know.

So I have already packed some things away as DONE: newborn onsies and #1 nipples. The door has closed on those things.

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Your sleeping/eating patterns are starting to become, well, patterns.  Your last feeding for each night is between 10pm and 11:30pm and then you will go about four hours, but that seems to be increasing too. Then you sleep for about three hours before your first morning feeding. I can usually get one or two good “naps” out of you where you sleep by yourself in your bed. The rest of the time you prefer to snooze on me.

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Which brings me to your sleep preferences. You took a turn that made me give you side-eye, my dear. For about a week and a half you suddenly would ONLY sleep on me or daddy. That gave me a nervous twitch because Eddie did that for about a YEAR or more. It was awful.

Daddy thought maybe you got cold in the night and we were also reminded that Charlie always liked to be tightly swaddled, so we busted out a fleece baby wrap and tried it out. It was, as they say, a GAME CHANGER.  You are now a lovely sleeper…in your own bed.

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In your first month you have also had your baptism and celebrated both Charlie and my birthdays. You’ve already been to daycare for a few hours while I took Eddie to a movie this week. You also celebrated your first Easter. Well, you didn’t do a lot of celebrating; you really just were there. But it sure was fun to dress you up in a pretty dress.

Ok, enough stat talk.

Alice, my love, you have changed my life.

Before you, my life revolved around raising good, kind men. I was a boy mom and I took great responsibility in that. I am still a boy mom, and my job with Eddie and Charlie is still very important, but now I am also a girl mom.

Looking into your eyes as I feed you does something to my heart. The way you stare into my eyes looking for comfort and love with your nourishment fills my heart with a determination to be a better woman. To be someone you can look up to with pride. To be a good role model for you.

And to get Starbucks and pedicures with you.

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One minute I will be getting all teary-eyed at how much I love you and how I will live up to be being the best mom possible for you, the next you are tooting in my hand and giving me side-eye.

You SO fit into this family, my Alice Beans.

Let’s keep up the fun!

I love you,

Momma

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Don’t forget that Charlie has a giveaway going on right now! Go enter!

Hippity Hoppity Easter Memories

The minute my crocus poke their heads out of the ground signaling the start of spring, I start thinking about my Grandma.  I have warm memories of my Grandma from every season and holiday, but somehow Christmas and Easter are the most powerful.

When I was very little–probably Eddie’s age–my mom and I would go with my Grandma to our town’s sunrise service on Easter. The more vivid memory, though, is the Easter egg hunt at her house. We didn’t really hunt eggs; Grandma hid candy–lots of candy–throughout her house for me and my brothers and cousins to find. She hid so much, she couldn’t always remember if we had found it all, so inevitably, one of us would find a stale malted egg in the middle of October.

My brothers and I didn’t get elaborate Easter baskets or gifts. We got a boatload of candy from Grandma’s house.

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People seem surprised when I say we don’t do Easter baskets for our kids, but just like when I was a kid, we leave the Easter magic to the grandparents.  My parents get the kids a basket with some candy treats and a few little toys. This year the boys got tennis balls, bubbles, and another small toy (Eddie got a little Lego set and Charlie got some Hot Wheels). Cortney’s mom does the big egg hunt. This year she had 150 eggs in her yard for the kids–six that were able to hunt plus two babies. She also gives each grandchild a small bag with a few dollar store treasures like stickers, balloons, and pinwheels.

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The kids love it.

This year Charlie got an extra Easter gift from Ragtales: a Bo Bunny.

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I have never been big on stuffed animals. Eddie went through a stuffie phase when he was little. He liked to line them all up and watch TV with them. Or make a “parking lot” out of them (to be fair, all lines of things were called “parking lots” to him).

Charlie, on the other hand, adores stuffed animals. Little dude is actually starting to boarder on hoarder status. I try not to encourage it, but I couldn’t say no to Bo Bunny (who Charlie has renamed Bun Bun).

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And I’m glad I didn’t.  I didn’t tell him it was for Easter, but because it came the week of Easter, he said it was for Easter day and he loved it. Aw.

To be fair, Bo Bunny (aka Bun Bun) is super soft. I sort of wanted to tuck it next to my pillow and keep it for myself. The Ragtales line has all sorts of cute animals and dolls and can be found in department stores like Neiman Marcus and FAO Schwartz, but you can win one here! Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below and one of you may get the gift of Bo Bunny for a little person in your life!
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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was sent Bo Bunny, but have not been compensated for blogging about it. Opinions are my own and the giveaway is for you from Ragtales. Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only. Ends Monday at midnight (so Sunday night, peeps).

The Baptism

Growing up we had lots of traditions, most ridiculous. My family is famous for saying to each other, “come on! It’s tradition!” Any outsider who hears it usually thinks we are crazy people because we are talking about things like Tootsie Pops at the cottage or decorating Christmas cookies as full-grown adults.

I don’t remember my parents ever saying, “Ok, so we are going to start a tradition where we play Uno at the cottage and in accordance with this tradition, we are going to gang up on each other mercilessly.” Nope. It just happened. And if you tried to pass on playing with us? We all started to whine at you, “BUT IT’S TRADITION,” until you cave.

Happily, it seems that the traditions that are being carved out in the Sluiter family are happening the same way: accidentally.

When we had Eddie, for instance, we chose his name based on the fact that A) we both liked the name “Eddie”, B) “Edward” was Cortney’s great grandpa’s name, and C) “Steven”, Eddie’s middle name, was Cortney’s dad’s name. We never then said, “And henceforth all our children will have middle names that are family names.”

It just happened.  Charlie’s middle name is Thomas, my dad’s name. Alice’s middle name is Katherine, my name.

We were also fortunate enough to be able to have Eddie baptized on Cortney’s dad’s birthday (also, his great grandfather Edward’s birthday coincidentally). From that another tradition started.  Charlie was baptized on April 29, the day before my dad’s birthday (whom he is named after).

And so, because Alice’s middle name is also my name, we wanted her to be baptized near my birthday to make the tradition complete.

My birthday was Friday, March 27, so Alice’s baptism was Sunday, March 29.

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It was also Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, so the service was going to be special anyway. The little kids sang (that includes Eddie) and marched around waving palm branches.  Cortney missed this part of the service because the cake we ordered for pick up before church, went missing and they had to quick get us a stand-in. I thought I was going to puke with nerves. I kept imagining the baptism being only me and Eddie standing up there.

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Cortney and Charlie made it just as the little kids were getting ready at the front of church to listen to the children’s message about baptism.

Eddie and Charlie’s baptisms were special, of course, but Alice’s was extra special…at least to me, and I think to Cortney for the same reason. With Eddie we weren’t going to church really at all, and with Charlie we were going only very sporadically.  Now, however, we are very much a part of our church family. In fact, our pastor and his wife are close friends of ours.

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I thought that this baptism would have a little smudge of sadness on it for me since it’s one of the first “lasts” of this being our last baby. The Last Baptism. I didn’t feel that sadness though. I felt joy and blessings as a woman who is quickly becoming my friend, asked us if we will bring our baby girl up in the church.  I felt peace and love as a man who we love took our daughter in his arms and lovingly baptized her in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. I felt a sense of completeness as my family is now all here. My people are all with me. We are all baptized and part of our church family and the Body of Christ.

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My mom pointed out after the service that our pastor does not skimp on the water. He just chuckled because he says he loves to “pile on the grace”. It struck me as he washed the baptismal water over Alice’s head that she has no idea how loved she is. I looked out into the congregation and saw not just our family smiling, but the entire church family. When asked if they will help us teach her the love of Jesus, the “we do” was booming.

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Alice let out only the tiniest of peeps when the water trickled down her forehead. For the most part, she slept comfortably in her gown in the arms of those who love her. After the service, she was surrounded by her church “grannies” as well as her actual grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins.

And then I thought of this space. All you readers.  How much you have loved on Alice since I announced her tiny fetus self was living in my womb.  All the prayers and positive thoughts you’ve all sent her…all of my family, actually.

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We are blessed, indeed.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” ~1 Corinthians 12:13

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Thank you to all who participated in Alice’s special day by either being present in body or spirit. Thank you to all who took pictures and shared them with us (Liz, Nancy, Gretchen). Thank you also to Gretchen for the beautiful gown and to Mary R and Gretchen for the hankie/bonnet that will get saved for Alice’s wedding day. We love you so much.

What’s My Age Again?

Today is my birthday and I am thirty-seven years old.

I have a lot of friends who hate to be reminded of how old they are, avoid telling people their age, and don’t draw attention to their birthdays. But neither my birthday nor my age make me feel old. Only once did I completely freak out about my age and have a “bad” birthday–the kind where you lie on your bed in your jammies staring at the ceiling and petting your cat and planning out your life as the Crazy Cat Lady.

It was my twenty-fifth and I didn’t have a full-time job (I was barely paying the bills by substitute teaching), had just been dumped from a long-term (five years) relationship, and was back living in my small town that I felt was confining and suffocating.  I was sure that my life was screwed. My master plan for my future had been flushed down the toilet and I felt out of control and out of luck. I didn’t even get out of bed that day.

Within six months, I found out how wrong and ridiculous I had been. That fall I was hired in to my current school district, I had been accepted to grad school, I started dating Cortney, and I was seeing the benefits to living in a small, close-knit community.

That was also the last time I freaked out about being “too old” or about it being “too late” for anything. It was the first and last time I ever cared about my age.

So that brings us to now: thirty-seven–an age where I thought I would be a lot more…settled. I think back to when my parents were my age and I was a kid.  From my perspective, late-30’s is when you are an adult. I’m not sure why, other than that is the age when I began to be aware of how old my parents were in relation to me, so by default late-30’s are when you become an adult.

But here’s the problem: I don’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like to be an adult, although I do think I am probably feeling more adultish lately than I have in the past.

In my 20’s, I was technically an adult, but everything I did felt like I was a kid trying to be an adult. Even at my own wedding when I was twenty-seven I remember saying, “OMG! This is such a GROWN UP THING!  Getting married!!!”

When Cortney’s dad died, I felt like an impostor.  I was just a kid posing as an adult who knew how to cope and grieve with the loss of someone so close.

When I got pregnant the very first time I was twenty-nine. I couldn’t even look my dad in the face to tell him. I knew that he would know what Cortney had done to his daughter to make that happen. I felt like a teenager “in trouble”.

Somehow my thirties slowly changed that attitude, and now at age thirty-seven, I find myself feeling like what I guess is what being an adult feels like.  I think I thought it would feel more boring. Like, once you find yourself being an adult, you are now feeling boring and not caring about being fashionable. Being and “adult” probably feels a lot like giving up on immaturity and inappropriateness.

But I’m finding that is not what it is at all…or at least not what it is for me.

It’s hard to explain.There is a feeling of being “in charge” and being more confident, yet I’m still ridiculous and immature–I mean, farts will ALWAYS be funny.  Sorry Mom.

I have gotten two degrees and am working on applying for my third, yet I still use the word “turd” regularly.

I can take charge of a classroom of eighth graders, yet I rap to DMX (loudly) in the car (without kids, I’m not that ridiculous).

It’s like by this age I have stepped up my game of responsibility while at the same time embracing the stuff that may be immature, but makes me ME.  Some of my strongest writing is academic, but I promise you that I will never get so scholarly that I am above using words like “crap bag”.

While thirty-seven is all adultish to me, I also know that being an adult doesn’t mean my life is over. There are still lots of things I want to do when I grow up.  Ok, I am grown up…but I know I will grow up even more which means there are so many more possibilities out there.

Thirty-seven is really just the beginning of a whole new era! One where all my children are born and my husband is a part-owner of a business and I get to weigh the possibility of a new degree and even more opportunities. That is the fun of being an adult–you get to pick what to do next. You get to choose your own adventure!

You get to eat from the secret stash of birthday cake Oreos when the kids aren’t looking even though you had dessert with them a few minutes ago!

So yes, I am thirty-seven and an adult.

Let’s eat cake!

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Have you donated a book to the March Book Shower yet?

 

Netflix for Maternity Leave

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I am currently sitting in our big leather chair, a baby snoring quietly on my  lap, a cup of coffee getting cold on the arm rest, and Friends via Netflix on the TV.

I am on maternity leave.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

In preparation for maternity leave, I made a list of shows that I want to binge watch during those long days when I have a baby on me.

  • Friends – I have been looking forward to this since they announced earlier this year that the favorite sitcom was coming to Netflix. I am already on season four after spending the hours of 11am until about 2pm watching it every day.
  • Orange is the New Black – I read the book last summer in preparation for meeting Piper Kerman at Netflix HQ in California, but I was saving the show for maternity leave.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – This is the newest to my list and it’s also new to Netflix. I’ve heard hilarious reviews, so it’s on my list because I like to laugh, yo.
  • Portlandia – Cortney and I started watching this when we first got Netflix, but we never finished. It’s so ridiculous because Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are the king and queen of ridiculous. It also makes me miss Seattle and want to move to Portland. I don’t even think it’s supposed to have that effect.
  • Sherlock – you all tell me it’s great, and I like great. Also I don’t see the hotness of Benedict Cumberbatch (which, by the way, sounds like a totally made up name), but you all tell me if I watch this show, I will.
  • TED Talks – Yes, I am letting my nerd show. I love me some TED Talks.
  • Freaks and Geeks – I have never watched it, yet our sociology teachers show it every year and scoff at me every year because they say it’s amazing. So it’s my goal to determine that.
  • The Wonder Years – This list would not be complete with out the ultimate throwback possible. This was hands down one of my favorite shows growing up, and it’s currently available on Netflix.

I would say this list will keep Alice and me pretty well-occupied for the next three months, don’t you think?  Is there anything we should add? I don’t like scary stuff or stuff that is disturbing–I save that for the books I read. Watching TV should be a little mindless fun, ya know?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, but am not paid for my opinion. I am provided with Netflix and a device to watch it on. All opinions (and To Watch Lists) are my own.

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Dear Alice,

You are seventeen days old today, just over two weeks. Looking back that seems both fast and slow. I can’t believe two weeks has already gone by, yet it seems like you’ve just always been part of the family. Cliche, I know, but I really can’t help it.

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Even though I’ve had two babies before you, it’s somehow all new this time around. For one, you are tiny. Daddy calls you his “dainty girl.” Your birth weight was 8 lbs, 5 oz–our smallest baby. After your first pediatrician appointment at 5 days old, you were down to 7 lbs, 10oz.  We have never ever had such a small baby! In fact, you are still wearing newborn sized clothes, where your brothers grew out of that size within the first couple days of life. In fact, Eddie never fit in newborn! He went straight to 0-3 month clothes–which look like potato sacks on you!

I’m finding your temperament is somewhere between Eddie and Charlie’s. Eddie was colicky. You are SO not like that, but Charlie was the most laid back baby in the world. You’re not quite that easy. For instance, middle of the night feedings with Eddie meant spending the night on the couch with him, but with Charlie it meant 15 minutes out of bed, tops. You take your time eating, but you aren’t fussy about it. You like to take breaks, act like you’re sleeping, then get fired up to finish the bottle.

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You are also quite the cuddle bug. You remind me of Charlie in this way. You love to be tucked up under daddy or my chin in a little baby ball of snuggle.

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I’ll admit, during your entire pregnancy I held back in reservation about having a little girl. I told myself it didn’t matter if we bought “girly” things or not since as a baby, you didn’t care. We didn’t change the nursery theme (still jungle theme just like your brothers had) and I didn’t go on any buying sprees. People very generously passed on clothes and things that their little girls no longer fit into, but there wasn’t a connection to them like I made with little man clothes. And besides, babies are babies, right?

Well, yes. Logically and rationally this is true.

But once you got here, everything in my heart changed.  Or it rearranged…or it woke up. Something happened in there.

I really don’t think I fully believed you’d be a girl.

taken by our great friend, Trisha

taken by our great friend, Trisha

At your ultrasound when we found out, I laughed so hard that tears formed. I remember thanking God for such a fun surprise, but something in me didn’t completely accept it.  When they took you from my body and announced, “Yup, she’s a girl! She’s Alice!” Again I laughed. Right there on the operating table. You are REAL. A real girl. A daughter. My daughter. My Alice.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I couldn’t imagine being able to love him as much as I loved Eddie. Yet my heart grew and surprised me with how I totally could love them with equal ferocity.  While pregnant with you, I couldn’t imagine how to love a daughter the way I love my sons. The feeling was valid because I don’t love you the way I love your brothers. I love you differently because you are my daughter and not my son.

I can’t put words to how it’s different; only my heart understands that concept.  I don’t love you more or less, just differently, but with the same passion and fire as I love your big brothers.

Everything that I have been afraid of in terms of having a daughter has faded to the back of my mind. In it’s place I see all the potential joy and good in having a daughter in my life. I have become acutely aware of my relationship with Grandma, and how I call her or email her at least once a week and how I want to share with her all the cute gifts you’ve gotten. How I was so happy to see her after each of the times I had a baby.

That will hopefully be us. We are starting that relationship right now with each snuggle and middle of the night feeding.

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You are magical, Alice.

From each snort and sigh, the way you “face pet” your soft bunny and the way your little legs go straight up when you eat, you make me so happy to be your mommy.

You make our family so happy.

Your brothers fuss over you and your daddy melts when you turn your face in towards his neck.

Our love for you goes on…

Love,
Momma

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Don’t forget Alice’s first giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Enter to win a Cloud B Glow Cuddles Bear!

Also don’t forget about the March Book Shower to celebrate March being reading month, Alice’s birth, Charlie’s 3rd birthday, and my upcoming 37th birthday on Friday!

Five Reasons to Love Cloud B

When Charlie was just two, we were gifted a Tranquil Turtle from cloud b. We were trying to have another baby at the time and we thought if he liked it, we could keep it in the nursery for the new baby.

He liked it so much that it moved downstairs when he did.  Ok then.

Recently, cloud b reached out again, and sent Alice a Glow Cuddles Bear. We were so excited because we have fallen pretty hard for cloud b products. And the great news is that one of YOU will win the cloud b Glow Cuddles Bear too! But why would you want one? Read on for the Top Five reasons to shop cloud b!

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1. Sights and Sounds are Soothers

One of the greatest things as a parent is when your child can finally put him/herself to sleep. Eddie was terrible at it, but Charlie was good. As a baby, he had a glow worm whom he called Glowy, and then he got his Tranquil Turtle. The way the Tranquil Turtle played soothing water sounds and made glowing “waves” on his walls mesmerizes him and helps him to quietly fall asleep without needing someone in the room.

2. They have actual Sleep Specialists

It’s true. Cloud b has pediatricians and parents constantly researching and giving input. I am guess that is why Alice already seems to love her Glow Cuddles Bear and it’s heart beat sound.

3. The toys are just cute

I mean…awww!!! And so soft!

glo_cuddle_bear_frnt4. It’s on a timer

Yes, these cuddly lovies turn themselves off.  That may not seem like a big deal because, hey, you aren’t in the room, right? However turning themselves off means saving on batteries AND it means if you sleep in the same room with your child for whatever reason? The light beat of the bear’s “heart beat” or the soothing sounds of the turtle’s sea sounds will not go on and on all night.

5. They make great gifts!

You don’t have a baby? That is fine! Give a Cloud b animal as a gift!  Alice agrees.

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To enter to win a Glow Cuddles Bear, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest closes midnight of March 24 and is open to US shipping addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Cloud b sent us a Glow Cuddles Bear and is providing the spoils for this giveaway. I was in no other way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

The Magic of Three

Dear Charlie,

Today you are THREE!

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I know things have been a little crazy and your birthday has been sort of part of a whole whirlwind of “events” around these parts, but I wanted to make sure you know how special your day is to me. We maybe be focusing a lot on Alice right now and on mommy resting and getting better, but you have been on my heart a lot.

In fact, while recovering in the hospital, my thoughts turned to you often.

I thought of our hospital stay three years ago. Your soft little head that fit so perfectly in the neck space under my chin. Our late evening chats after daddy had gone home to Eddie. The way you were immediately my little Charlie Bird.

You are now “The Middle Child,” but you are still my littlest boy. And your role in this family is very important. Not only did you make Eddie a brother, but you made daddy and I parents of kids, plural.  You taught us that our hearts don’t just make room for more love, but they actually GROW with love.

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As a baby, you were our quiet, serious observant boy. You especially watched Eddie’s crazy shenanigans closely and skeptically.  Eventually, he would be the first to make you do the belly laugh you are now famous for.  You gave Eddie the brother he didn’t know he needed and you even out his bossy, follow-the-rules, cautious personality with a dose of risk, stubbornness, and goof.

You taught us that all babies, toddlers, kids are different–that just because you have had one, does not mean you know what you’re doing with all kids. For instance, Eddie didn’t say strings of words until he was almost three, but you have been talking for a good year now. There have been times when I had to remind myself you were only two because you would say such complete sentences.

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While Alice and I were in the hospital this past weekend, you crawled up on my bed and proceeded to hold up cards and papers you found and tell me about traffic lights and how red means stop and then green is go. Not everything made a ton of sense, but you just lectured on it for about ten minutes–telling me I was in my class. You are so very animated with your big blue eyes and your hand gestures and your facial expressions. YOU know what you’re talking about, and that is what matters.

All of your emotions are big, Charlie. I remember that about Eddie being three, but you’ve had the Big Feelings for a long time now. When you are mad, LOOK OUT. Your immediate reaction is to pick something up and throw it or knock it over. You want to spit and hit and scream NOOOOO!!!! It’s very exhausting.

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But your joy and love are big too, and I’m always trying to remember during your times of anger bombs, that you are also a very happy boy. You are quick to say “thank you!” and “I love you!” without being prompted. You like to sit CLOSE to me or daddy (mostly daddy). You even like to snuggle up to Eddie, who doesn’t always tolerate your cuddles like Dad Dad and I do.

Touch is definitely your love language. Whether you are smooshing your sleepy body next to daddy on the couch before bed, or flopping yourself on Eddie to wrestle, you love to touch and be touched. It’s how you show that you like someone.

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You are no longer the baby in the family, Charlie. But you don’t seem to care as much as I thought you would. You love your sister and want to share with her and kiss her and hug her. You love to hold her. The look on your face when you hold Alice is a new one to me. I’ve not seen that pride in your face before.

You surprise us and make us laugh every single day. Yes, you are probably also the child who is turning my hair gray so rapidly, but you also make me laugh the hardest.  From the time you put your hand on your hip and said, “I not argue with you, Mom Mom,” to just earlier this week when you were dancing around, planted your booty on Eddie and said, “here’s my butt, my big butt,” and then laughed your head off, you keep us guessing what you’ll do and say next.

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Three years ago, you came into this world and helped me heal from a lot of bad stuff I had gone through after Eddie was born. You taught me that having a baby didn’t have to suck. You softly slept on my chest assuring me it didn’t have to be so hard.

You continue to heal me, son. You are important to this family. You make daddy laugh until he cries, you challenge Eddie and give him a built-in buddy, you give your little sister love, and you are the patches and stitches that healed my broken heart.

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I am so proud to be your mom.

I know Three can be a tough age, but it is also a magical age. You will do a lot of growing up this year, Bird. With that will come growing pains for both of us. You will go from toddler to kid this year. You will probably (hopefully) potty train and give up your pacifier. The last of “baby” will fade away.

I will cry. You will fight it. But we will make it.

There will be loads of joy and celebration in it too, my son.

Here is to Three. Let the magic begin.

Love,

Mom Mom

The First Days

We have been a family of five for five days.

Last night Cortney and I sat close on the couch, holding hands. Alice was snoozing in her rock n play and Eddie and Charlie were lying on the floor with a pile of pillows and blankets watching Curious George before bed. I looked at Cortney and smiled, “Look. Our whole family is here. We are complete and together.”

“It’s awesome,” he said with a smile.

And we both breathed out a happy sigh.

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Just moments before I had been crying uncontrollably. You know how postpartum hormones are. Cortney said, “anything I can do?”  Eddie asked “are you ok, mom?”  Cortney sat down and held my hand; Eddie rubbed my arm. I had been watching the boys and was equally annoyed with their loud, roughness and devastated at how big they both were. How things had changed so much in the six years since Eddie was born.

I had a crushing feeling of overwhelm from looking forward on the calendar at all whether it be for food drop-offs or visitor drop-ins or future plans. I didn’t want to look forward at all. I wanted to look at NOW. Enjoy my NOW because where did all those “nows” go with the boys when they were tiny? When did Eddie start reading and get such big feet? When did Charlie start telling me to “relax” and get such long legs?

Eddie used to be my chubby ball of toddler.

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Charlie used to be my tiny fuzzy baby head that poked out of the top of his Moby wrap.

I’m not saying I wish they were still little. I love their ages right now. Watching them learn and grow and become little man dudes is amazing. But all that change hit me funny last night.

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I’m blaming hormones and other than those weird moments, we are doing great.

The boys are clearly happy to have mommy home and being back in their regular routines of school and daycare. Both go right to Alice when they come home to tell her “hello,” and both are full of things to say to me. I find I am more patient with them than I was before. More willing to calmly talk to them when they are getting upset rather than getting upset myself.

It’s like I want to keep the peace more than ever.

I want this happy, blissful baby haze to last for all of us.

Alice fits in so well, it’s almost hard to believe she hasn’t always just been here.

Having three is a change for sure, but having Alice seems natural if that makes sense. Like she is the one that was supposed to be here the whole time. Because, of course, she IS the one.

My girl has been eating regularly every three-ish hours and sleeping nicely in between feedings. I’ve been able to get 3-4 hours of sleep at a time at night which is pretty awesome this early. The boys love her, but are still learning that they need to find a voice level somewhere between zero and eleven when they are around her…although she hasn’t really minded the noise. But they don’t know that.

Charlie is the biggest surprise of all. I knew Eddie would love his sister madly, and he does. But I had doubts about how Charlie would handle a baby coming into the family. He has surprised us all and adores her. Every day he comes home from daycare and “shares” his woof woof, monkey, and blankie with her–a big deal because no one is allowed to have those but him.

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Both boys kiss and hug her at bedtime. Both boys like to sniff and pet her head. Alice and I have been like cats lazing around the house, recovering, resting, relaxing, and letting the boys take care of us.

Alice had her first pediatrician appointment today and Cortney took her and I stayed home with Eddie and Charlie since it was after school. The report was that Alice was doing great and that he was very proud to tell the doctor that I was doing great too.

Yes, there have been tears, but Cortney has not made it a secret that he is so happy to see Alice and I just liking each other. He says I am taking the lead easier with her and she clearly prefers my arms over anyone else’s (although if you ask me, she is starting to get pretty comfy with her daddy, too).

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It’s only been five days, but we are finding our way. We are trying to find a new routine and a new “normal” for our family. I’m trying to stay on my pain meds and rest so I don’t jump start anything nasty like infection or depression. And so far, it’s working. We are surviving, and dare I say, thriving?

Yes. We are thriving.

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Want to welcome Alice and bless my classroom library at the same time? Check out the March Book Shower. Put a book in the hands of a child to celebrate Reading Month.

‘Twas The Night Before Alice

Dear boys,

Tomorrow is the day. Our world will change and our family will be complete. Tomorrow is Alice’s birthday!

I know we are all excited and even a little nervous. We think we know what to expect and we have planned as much as we can, but we also know in our hearts that there are no guarantees. Things could go awry quickly. There is no reason to expect it, but we just don’t know.  So we go into tomorrow with excitement and hope for a healthy baby and mommy.

But there is more, right? We can only guess at how our life will be different. We don’t know. Will Alice be a happy, content baby or will she have colic like Eddie did? Will she be easy to take out of the house, or will she be needy and fussy? We will find out soon!

I have a lot of emotions tonight as I write this. I look around me and see our life. There are Charlie’s trucks and Eddie’s backpack. I see Daddy’s french press and the tablet charging. Our life is nice and routine. We know how to be a family of four: Mommy, Daddy, Eddie, Charlie. Tomorrow it all changes.

How can life be so normal and yet on the verge of such change?

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Boys, I want you to know how thankful I am for all three of you. I know I’ve complained a LOT during this pregnancy, but you have all been so unbelievably helpful and supportive.

Eddie,

You are my number one. You made me a mom almost six years ago. You have been by my side helping and loving on me through this whole thing.

Many times you have said, “no mom! I will get that. I don’t want you to bend too much!” or “I just want to be helpful so you’re not so tired.”  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just grab you and squeeze you. How did I get so darn lucky to have a boy so sensitive and giving and kind?

When I have broke down in tears because I feel like a failure of a mom, you have put your hand on my arm and said, “you’re not THAT bad, mom,” and made me laugh. You seemed to always know when I needed a good snuggle, and you never complained that I fell asleep on the weekends during Charlie’s nap leaving you to watch Netflix and play Legos by yourself.

You are a wonderful big brother to Charlie, and I just know you will be everything to Alice too. You already love her so much!  You tell EVERYONE you see that your “very own baby sister will be borned on March 6!”  You told everyone in front of church on Sunday, you’ve told all your Zkids teachers and Mr. F, and you’ve told all your friends. You’ve even told people who you don’t really know!

In the past weeks our conversations about her have increased. You have wondered about her voice and her eyes. You have asked what her laugh will sound like. Eddie, you are amazing.  When I was sick, you worried about your sister being sick too, and admitted that you were afraid she might die in my tummy. That night we prayed together and you asked Jesus to keep your sister and mom safe. I can’t tell you how full you  make my heart, my Eddie Bear.

I promise to still make time for Mommy & Eddie time because our conversations mean so much to me. You made me a mommy and I will never ever take that for granted.

Eddie, you were born to be a Big Brother

Eddie, you were born to be a Big Brother

Charlie,

Oh my sweet little Charlie Bird. You fill my life with exasperation and laughter. You rage fiercely and love even stronger. At a week shy of turning three, you don’t fully understand what is about to happen to our house. Not as much as Eddie understands, anyway. You once told me you don’t like babies because “they get on you.”

However you get very excited to tell people about “Baby Alice!” and how she is coming. You pat my belly and kiss it and say your sister is in there. You have finally given up the nursery as not your room anymore, but that of Baby Alice.

Each time someone gifts us a tiny pink something or other you hug it and say “aw cute!”

Losing the baby status is going to be hard for you, Mr. Charlie Bird. Your love of being small and cute is pretty evident. You use that cuteness whenever you get a chance–although it works better with every other person (your dad included) than it does with me because I’m totally on to you, son.

You are going to love your sister, but also insist we put her down. You will want to give her kisses and then ignore her for your loud trucks. You will make her pretend food and then get angry that she is taking attention off of you. Maybe my predictions will be wrong, but I know you pretty well, my little boy.

But you are quite the lovey bug too. I know once she gets older, you will love on her like you do with Eddie and Dad Dad and me. Floppy newborn will probably not interest you much, but when you first make her laugh, your relationship will change forever. Your love languages are laughter and touch, which makes me think I will have to play defense against your tight hugs and sloppy kisses. But guess what? She will love them. Eddie might be her protector, but you will be her laughter.

Charlie I promise that you will not get shoved to the side. We will make time for Boy Time and Mommy & Charlie time. I will still cuddle with you in the chair before bed and read you stories when you ask.

That smile and that skrunchy nose. Oh Charlie.

That smile and that skrunchy nose. Oh Charlie.

Cortney,

Oh my sweet husband. I don’t know if I have the right words to even begin to tell you how much your love and support has meant to me. Not that this is different than any other area of our relationship, but more times than not I have been reminded how lucky I am to have a partner who is truly my partner. Someone who doesn’t keep score or hold on to hard feelings, but someone who gives everything he is to our team.

You have put up with my complainy, sucks at pregnancy self THREE times and you still love me and want to hug and kiss me every day. That is not too shabby. And I will say to you, WE ARE DONE! As of tomorrow, this is it. No more Pregnant Kate. You get your wife back. You know, sort of. After all that postpartum stuff, that is. But yay! End in sight!

I have spent the past nine months thanking you and apologizing to you over and over. You have picked up so much slack it’s like I wasn’t even here a bunch of the time. I know this burden has weighted on you, but you never say to me, “it’s too much. I just can’t.” Instead, you look at me and say, “it’s what we do. We are a team. You grow the kids. That’s your part.” In fact, just today you thanked me! I asked why and you said, “for growing the humans.”  And I laughed.

That is how we have always gotten through all of this hard stuff: laughter. It must be why our kids have such hilarious senses of humor as well. In all things we find the funny. That is a true gift.

My favorite thing is that through this pregnancy, I have come to re-realize that you are indeed my very best friend in the whole world. I would never want to go through life with anyone other than you.

I hope you know how appreciative I am of everything you do for me and the boys and for Alice. You are going to be the most amazing Dad of a Little Girl. I am sure of it.  You already deal with me and my crazy, what’s one more lady in the house, right?

I promise you that I will keep laughing with you (even when the postpartum hormone rush makes me cry at things like shoes on the wrong feet). I promise to go on dates with you SOON. And I promise to pat your cute butt at inappropriate times, per usual.

Let the weirdness march on!

Let the weirdness march on!

Boys, I am both terrified and thrilled that we are adding a new human to our house of crazy. Sluiter Nation will be more complete when we bring home that pink little bundle.

Just make sure not to run her over with a Tonka truck and I think we will be good.

I love you all so much. Thank you for being the best dudes a lady could ask for.

Now…on to a new adventure!! On to Wonderland with our Alice!

Love,
Mommy/Kate

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