Eliana is One Month Old!

Baby 2

Tuesday marked one month of life outside the womb for this sweet baby girl!  She weighs 9 lb 11 oz and was in the 72nd percentile for weight at her 2 week appointment (she was closer to 3 weeks old at the time though – not sure if they take that into account)!  Our older girls were always incredibly low, so it was fun to have a nice solid weight for once. haha  We’ll see if she maintains that at her 2 month appointment.  This, “Whoa, Mama!  Put my clothes back on before snapping a picture!” face cracks me up.  Elly is still fitting some of her newborn clothes and some 0-3 month things (mostly because her limbs are so long!).

No Clothes!

Elly has seriously been my easiest newborn.  She started right off sleeping well through the night.  She usually nurses around 10 or 11 p.m., again at 2 or 3 a.m., and then 5:30 or 6:30 a.m.  In between, she goes right to sleep and doesn’t wake up until she wants to eat again!  For the first week or so, I had her sleep on me in bed.  I attempted a co-sleeper, but it was a major fail.  My kids just hate the flat on their back thing.  I knew I didn’t want her in our bed forever and we already knew we weren’t getting a third crib (our house is not big enough for that! ha!), so I did some research and decided we should try an infant rock ‘n’ play.  It’s been absolutely amazing!  I have it right next to the bed and I buckle her in, snug her in a blanket, let her suck my finger for a few minutes, and she’s out!  I love it!  Although it is probably not deemed “safe” for all night sleeping, the Amazon reviewers were all about it.

Stretchin

It’s pretty great snuggling with Daddy or Mama in the evening.  We call Elly our ‘Little Squeaker’ because she often will start showing she’s upset by doing this super tiny, cute squeak! haha!  This is totally different from my older two girls when they were babies.  They would start right off with crazy loud screaming.  I’ll take the squeaks any day!!

Daddy SnugglesMama

Eliana nurses about every 2 hours during the day.  She’ll often do one 3 or 3 1/2 hour stretch which includes a longer nap.

Sleepy Babe

Precious Baby

This was Elly attempting to wake up from a really solid nap last week.  She ended up sleeping another half hour or so, but it was a good try!  I love all the squishy faces!

Wakey 1Wakey 2Wakey 3

Wakey 4Wakey 5Wakey 6

Wakey 7Sleepy Girl

I will always love the way babies shoot their hands up when they’re trying to nap and something slightly startles them.  It’s like, “Don’t touch me!  I’m going back to sleep!”

Don't wake me!

So that’s what you named me!

Name

Name 1

I’ve been able to use my K ‘tan sling a lot more now and she loves that.

Sling Fun

Sweet Cheeks has been more wakeful as she’s aging and enjoys short spurts of play time on the floor.

Bow

Baby Elly

That frowny face though….. haha!

Frowny Face

Elly is just full of great expressions!

Tongue

Sweet little girl has been “talking” a little to me, which is super cute.

Hi Mama

O Face

Big Sister, Evie, is Eliana’s constant companion and semi-hazardous friend. haha  Evie does enjoy loving on her babies, although these moments are never unsupervised.  Evie hasn’t yet realized the real babies are not quite as forgiving as her baby dolls.

Evie Time 1Evie Time 3Evie Time 2

Evie Luvins

Big Sister, Abby, loves to be by Elly, taking care of her, holding her, and loving on her.  Her approach is a much gentler one, which Elly appreciates.

Abby Luvins

Big Sis Playing

Little Elle is starting to lose some hair on top, but is still just as cute as ever!  She loves sucking on my finger and being held while I walk.

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Elly started smiling a couple days before she was 4 weeks old.  It’s SO absolutely sweet, but incredibly fast and hard to catch on camera.  This was almost a catch, but you’ll just have to trust me that it’s adorable. 🙂

Almost a smile

Getting comfy while Mama’s on the computer.

Evening Lounging

Sweets has such long finger and toes!  It’s so funny.  People always ask me who she looks more like, but I think it’s a little too early to really tell.  Her hospital newborn pictures looked a little more like Abby’s, but they change so much every day when they’re this young!  She definitely has her own, sweet little look.

Feeties

Little Hands

Eliana Hope is such a sweet baby and we love her incredibly much!  We’re so blessed to have a third little darling girl to love on.  I can never hold her long enough!

Sisters

Yes, we made it to one month!  We have officially survived one entire month of complete chaos and I have done over three of those weeks with Caleb back at work.  #beastmode  When people ask me how it’s going, I usually default to, “Oh, you know… haha  It’s busy around here!”  Because, I can’t assume they really want to hear how it’s actually going.  It’s hard.  Some days are worse than others, but they are all pretty well defined by the word, ‘hard.’  I imagined it would be pretty difficult having four kids ages 3 years, 1 1/2 years, 3 months, and a newborn, but now I know just how crazy it is!  Although Abby can do a LOT for a three year old, she is still only three and I really don’t have a big kid helper to do things like put shoes on a sibling, refill a milk cup, or buckle the backseat kids up.  Virtually all needs have to be met by yours truly and it’s almost unbelievable how many constant needs there are from these 4 little darlings. 🙂

snug as a bug

The first week was a blur.  We came home from the hospital, our kids and I all caught colds, I was trying to heal and got really wiped out with the cold, and our kids all went through new baby transition stage.  Let me just say, after having a baby, a bad cough is downright painful.  I tried to sit down every time I started hacking and that helped a little, but ouch!  My healing felt slower than the last two times, probably because I was sick.  We had to drag all 4 kids to the doctor to get Elly’s bilirubin levels checked the day after we were released.  It was higher than they wanted, so they made me take her in to the doctor that afternoon to see what they thought.  Each place was about a 25 minute drive for us – for the second trip I just hauled Elly to avoid taking all the kiddies again.  After looking her over, they said I needed to get her levels tested again the next day.  Thankfully that time around, they were normal and we were done with the doctors for a while!!

Sweet Pea

I was definitely not ready for Caleb to head back to work the second week, but it had to happen at some point!  The first couple days went okay (we all survived) and theeeeeeeeen, I got mastitis!  Yay!  I’ve had it before with my other kids and it was just as miserable this time around.  The only difference was I had all four kids at home and had to watch them while I could barely get off the couch.  It was so, so hard to nurse and bottle feed and get food for kids and change diapers and wipe butts and provide consequences when the older girls made bad choices, but somehow I got through that day.  We pretty much sat in the living room the entire day which was decidedly tough for the big girls to handle.  They are constantly full of so much energy and needed outside desperately.  The mastitis has since moved on (hopefully for good!!!) and life became doable again.

Baby 3

Week three started out okay and ended pretty rough.  We had doctor appointments on Friday and confirmed both older girls had ear infections.  We also found out Elly had a yeast infection in her mouth and on her bottom area and I was sharing it with her.  I was itchy at first, but then became quite sore which once again made nursing sessions a bit of a trial.  Elly wasn’t eating as well with it either.  I felt like I needed to apologize to the pharmacist when we picked up five medications that night!  Then I had to somehow remember to give Elly 4 daily doses of oral meds, 3 daily butt cream applications, and 2 oral doses for each of the big girls.  Phew!!  I had some pill that didn’t seem to help too much.  I decided to start applying some of Elly’s oral medicine on myself each time and that actually seemed to help!

Elle Belle

Week four was a continuation of week three.  Everyone was still on their medicines.  Elly and I seemed to be better by the end of the week and we thought the older girls were showing some improvements.  Yesterday (Monday), we had everyone’s rechecks and Elly and Evie were considered good to go, while poor Abby still had puss and ear infection in her right ear (always her problem ear).  She’s starting yet another medicine as soon as I can get everyone to the pharmacy to pick it up.  Hopefully she can get on the mend very soon too!!

So Sweet

This is literally how it’s going though.  In the morning, I get up and nurse Elly, then I get Evie up and diaper/dress her, then I get Abby up and take her to the bathroom/dress her/fix her hair, then I get the girls’ settled with breakfast, then I get Baby Boy up and diaper/give him a bottle, then I wash the girls up from breakfast, then it’s time to nurse/diaper Elly again.  Sometimes I find time to eat something myself. ha!  At least one child is usually crying/whining all day long.  There are a few quiet moments, but more often than not, someone needs something or is unhappy because they’re not being held.

Cute and I know it

I try really hard to get the kids outside for a walk after the babies have their 2nd feedings of the day and can make it for a little walk.  How do we manage walking?  I put Baby Boy in the umbrella stroller, I put Elly in the K ‘tan sling, and the “big” girls each hang on to one side of the stroller.  We make it back in time for the lunch rush.  The lunch rush is pretty similar to breakfast, but let me break it down for you.  I diaper/nurse Elly if she can’t wait, (during this time, Evelyn for sure is having a fit because she’s starving and meal times are her thing!) then I usually have to change Evie’s diaper again, then I get the girls’ food out of the fridge as fast as possible (I always plan leftovers for lunch, but it still takes too long) and get it microwaved and set in front of them, then I diaper/bottle feed Baby Boy who is usually crying and mad at this point as well.  Elly will be crying because she wanted held up longer after eating, but I have to set her down to do everything else!!  While I’m feeding Baby Boy, chances are the girls will be finishing their lunch and announcing they are done and ready to get washed!  If I don’t get to them pretty quickly, much more mess than usual will result, so I try to hurry.  I’ve been having Abby wash herself up in the bathroom (depending on how messy the meal was) which is somewhat successful, but she always slops the sink up.  Oh well, chances are it’s probably due for another cleaning anyway….

Elly is awake

Right after lunch is the easiest part of the day.  Quiet Time!!  The girls both love this time, so it is always pleasant.  I check Evie’s diaper to make sure we’re good, Abby goes potty, I get her set up in her room, lay Evie down in her crib, and head back out to the babies because at least one of them probably needs to eat again.  When the babies decide to nap simultaneously during Quiet Time things feel amazing!!  It’s so nice to just have a little peace and quiet and take a few deep breaths.

Caleb knows how hectic it is around here and started going in to work an hour earlier so he can be home earlier to help me out.  It makes SUCH a huge difference to have him here!  If I can make it to Quiet Time, then I know we can survive another day.  After Quiet Time, babies are usually hungry, the girls think they’re dying until they get snacks plunked down in front of them, everyone needs to go to the bathroom and then we attempt getting back outside to play until Daddy gets home.  Getting back outside is lot more painful then it sounds.  Everyone often needs to get on a jacket, hat, and shoes and everyone needs help with most of that.  The babies are usually crying while I get the older two ready.  Then I have to get the babies bundled up and hauled downstairs and out the garage door.  It’s always worth the effort since it instantly lifts moods and there’s so much to explore and enjoy in the great outdoors!!  But it really is amazing how long it can take us to move from in the house to out of the house.  Sometimes I honestly can’t believe how slow it is.

I’ll spare you on the repetitive sounding supper rush, but at least Caleb is home to help me with it!  He usually holds a baby while I cook, then he handles the older two while I feed and diaper babies.  Bath time happens after that and then Caleb takes the big girls downstairs to play for a few minutes before putting them to bed while I’m feeding and diapering babies again.

In spite of everything though, in spite of how crazy our lives are right now, and in spite of the fact that it took me a really long time to actually finish writing this…..  I am so thankful for and blessed by these precious little ones all around me.  I listened to part of a sermon by my old pastor, Pastor Jack, and at one point he said, “You will either become more godly or more godless by the choices that you make.”  Every single day, my patience is tested considerably.  Every single day, I have multiple opportunities to respond rightly (or wrongly) to my children.  I want to become more godly and  maybe this is the Lord’s way of providing for that.  Here, let’s try four tiny kids screaming at you and see if you can keep from losing your marbles! (I’ve definitely lost more marbles than I’ve kept lately – *sigh*)  One of my favorite kid truths:  The more calm, pleasant, and relaxed I am, the more calm, pleasant, and relaxed my kids and household will be.  One of my most hated kid truths:  The more stressed, loud, and angry I am, the more stressed, loud, and naughty my kids will be.  Lord, give me a peaceful spirit in the midst of chaos and help me remember to pray for strength from you while I cling to this assurance,  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.  Sometimes all I can do is focus on making it through one moment at a time, and that’s okay. 🙂

My Life

*Bonus Story*

Soooo…. on that one Friday, after hauling all the kids to the doctor in the a.m. and finding out virtually everyone had something wrong, I tried calling my midwife to have her get me a prescription for my own yeast infection.  Of course, she was out until late the following week and the midwife available would not prescribe me anything unless I came in.  Caleb had already taken a half day to help me get the kids all in to their doctor, so I had to get to my own doctor by myself with all the kids.  Talk about terrifying.  I can manage the store now by myself (Baby Boy in his car seat in the cart, Elly in my sling, Abby hanging on to the cart and Evie either hanging on or in the back of the cart – I make sure to only shop on nice days and park next to a cart holder thing outside because dragging everyone across the parking lot is REAaaaaaaaally hard), but a trip to the doctor is so much more difficult.  Baby Boy had a family visit until 2, but the doctor office said I had to be in by 3:00 p.m. or they wouldn’t see me today.  I set up an appointment for 3 and hoped Baby Boy wouldn’t be late getting back because it takes 30 minutes to get to the doctor and up to the fourth floor with all the kids, so I knew I had to leave at 2:30 p.m.

I tried to get everything ready that I could during Quiet Time.  I loaded up the girls’ snack bowls and waters for the trip there.  I packed a bag with a spare outfit for Elly, a diaper each for the 3 in diapers, and a pack of wipes – it was pretty low, but it was going to be a fast trip, so I probably wouldn’t really need it, right?  I got everyone up and diapered, nursed Elly, and Baby Boy made his return about 2:15 p.m.  He was hungry, so I whipped a bottle up.  Usually he eats pretty quickly, but for some reason he was being SUCH a poke this time!  Needless to say, by the time I got everyone loaded up and settled in the van it was not 2:30.  It was about 2:40.

We headed to the hospital and I made a beeline for the valet parking.  That valet guy is like my BFF after all the pregnancy appointments I went to.  I drove up and started pulling kids out.  People always stop to watch because it’s like, WOW!  They just keep coming!  I slipped Elly in the sling, carted Baby Boy’s car seat (my arm is going to break one of these times… he is SO heavy!!), and had the girls hold hands and follow me.  I had to carry my purse with my insurance card and almost decided to leave the diaper bag I’d thrown together, but at the last second changed my mind and grabbed that too.  We all trekked in and headed for the elevator.  I was walking with my head over my shoulder the whole time going, “Come on, girls!  You can do it!  Keep moving!  Follow me!  Come on!  This way!  This way!”  We finally made it to the elevator and all piled in.  I hit the number 4 and up we went.  The doors opened and I was in such a hurry I had shoved half of the kids out before I realized it had stopped on the 2nd floor to let some more people in.  Argh.  Back in we go.  I think the people wished they had waited for a different elevator.  We finally made it to the 4th floor and out we went again.  Of course, my OB is at the other end, so down the hallway we traipsed with me calling the girls to keep them moving forward.  I couldn’t help thinking of Relient K’s, “Forward Motion.”  It is pretty much my theme song right now:

I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion
Cause forward motion is harder than it sounds
Well every time I gain some ground
I gotta turn myself around again

Regardless, we eventually made it to the room – a few minutes late, but we made it.  The waiting room is full of chairs, but on one end is a bench.  I directed the kids to it and had Abby and Evie sit on it with Baby Boy’s car seat next to it.  I panted over to the desk and checked in.  Then, I collapsed on the bench, grateful we had made it in one piece.  Elly started stirring around and I patted her bum to soothe her.  It was at that moment that I got my first whiff.  Awww, man!  Did she really choose now to need a diaper change?!  Elly only poops about once every 4 or 5 days (normal with breastfed babies – no worries!), but when she does… it’s often a doozy!  She was getting angrier and I knew it couldn’t wait.  I took her out of my sling and laid her on the bench.  Sorry to the other folks in the waiting area, but there was ABSOLUTELY no way I was going to hike back down the hallway to find a changing station in a bathroom and miss my appointment.  Not happening.

Usually Elly is in a one piece outfit, but today (of course) I had chosen to put her in a onesie and pants.  It was after I slid the pants off, and poop smeared down her legs, that I realized it had gone through everything.  I mean, this was one for the books.  I didn’t have anything like a plastic bag to put the dirty clothes in, because that would have been too perfect.  I thought about throwing the clothes away (they were absolutely coated), but the garbage was across the room, my hands were covered in poo, Elly was screaming at the top of her lungs, and they’d be calling me back soon.  I opened my diaper bag and shoved the poop covered stuff in it.  Clean up would just have to continue later.  I stripped her down and I mean, the poop was just everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  It was all over her, it was all over the bench, she was livid and kicking her feet all over, which meant poop was smearing all over.  I was flying through my wipe pack like crazy and nothing was getting accomplished.  I had nowhere to set my poop covered wipes because her diaper was so full it was literally overflowing.  I finally grabbed her spare diaper and stuck it under her and then threw all the poop stuff in the garbage.  I came back and realized I had missed a bunch because the new diaper was already covered.  I grabbed Baby Boy’s spare diaper and figured it would just have to work.  A little big, but it was better than nothing!!

As I was trying to finish the job (remember, Elly is screaming bloody murder and this is taking ten years, so it’s really “fun” – I was almost in tears, but managed to pull myself together), the nurse opens the door and calls my name.  I say, “I’m really sorry, but I’m going to need a minute here!”  She sympathetically replies, “Oh, no problem!”  I was kind of hoping she would actually give me a minute to regroup and finish up, but she continued holding the door open and waiting….  it was awkward and I felt even more stressed.  I could feel the other patients’ eyes boring into me and one person kept clearing their throat really loudly.  They might have been hoping I would look up so they could glare at me disapprovingly, but I didn’t give them that joy.  I chose to focus on the task at hand and not look up and around.  I’m thinking that was a really good idea.  Thankfully I had enough wipes to eventually get Elly, the bench, and my hands wiped off.  The nurse grabbed the car seat for me and we all followed her back.

Once in the room, I asked the nurse if she would hold Elly so I could wash my hands.  She was really nice and said, “Sure!”  I found some poop spots on Elly’s clothes later (it was such a bad one, guys!!) and felt really bad that I made the nurse hold her, but there were just no more options left.  It was great to get clean, because then Elly wanted to nurse and she wasn’t going to quit crying until I did just that.  While I was nursing her, she…… started filling her pants again!!!!!!!!  AHHHHHHHH!!!  I mean, are you even kidding me??  Thankfully it did not leak through, because I was out of diapers that would fit her!  I think it was good she had on a little bigger size because it barely held it and she had to wait until I got home to change it!  We eventually got out of there and boy did that feel good.

The End.

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Abigail’s 3 1/2 Year Old Update

Happy Girl

Ohhhh, our little Abigail Joy!  She is 3 1/2 now and our “big” girl in the house.  It’s funny how at times she can seem so big and grown up and in other moments we realize she’s only a little 3 year old tot and that’s not so old after all.  It’s probably a combination of her personality and being the oldest, but she has always been very mature for her age.  Abby is seriously the best helper and I don’t know what I would do without her each day.

Sweet Pea

Per Abby’s request, we have been growing her bangs out.  Although her hair grows quite fast, it feels like her bangs have been taking fooooorever to get long enough to stop clipping back.  I think they’re almost there now though!  It made her extremely nervous when I would trim her bangs because I made the mistake of telling her (calmly!) that she needed to sit still because I didn’t want the scissors to cut her.  Ever since then, it was like a freak out session when I had to cut them, so I finally asked her if she wanted to just grow them out and the answer was a resounding, “YES!!”  Thus ended the bangs.

hair bun

Big Girl

Abs is still so funny when she’s having an adult conversation that she’s excited about.  She will do her cute little excited hop as she talks and use a lot of hand expression.  It’s really difficult not to laugh at her.  I tend to get rather animated in conversation myself, so there’s a good chance I passed that on to her. haha  *Disclaimer* I was prego and swollen up in this picture.

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Abigail is usually very thoughtful and empathetic towards others.  She always wants to help when someone in her family is sad or hurting and is often quite creative with her solutions.  She is definitely a problem solver.  Here’s Abby feeding her Flopsy Bunny some “carrot juice.”

Flopsy Bunny

Our little introvert can still be pretty shy around unfamiliar faces.  She often needs a warm up time (this varies in length) where she hangs out by one of her parents for a bit to quietly observe.  The less new people there are, the faster she will warm up to them.  She approaches new situations much better if I’m able to talk it through with her beforehand and if she doesn’t feel rushed into it.  The more information I give her, the better she’ll handle it.  It has always been stressful for her when people try to engage her too quickly and don’t allow her a few minutes to transition and scout things out from a safe distance.

Daddy and Me

Abby wants to know about everything.  She is never satisfied with guessing what something is, but must know exactly how to pronounce it and what its purpose is.  After hearing once, she usually will never need to ask again, but will tell everyone about it a few dozen times.  Normally we only have Ranch dressing in our fridge because that’s our staple, but the other day we had a different kind as well.  I think I had asked Caleb if he could hand me, “The other salad dressing” and Abby’s ears had instantly perked up.  A couple days later I was giving her a salad and she cautiously attempted to use the information she thought she’d overheard, “I want the Ranch one though…. not the other dress-up.”  I explained it was called salad dressing and she then repeated to herself a couple times, “It’s called dressing, not dress-up.”  Our sweet perfectionist at work.

Pretty Girl

My Girl

Speaking of being a perfectionist….  Abby started drawing people a few weeks ago.  I never showed her how – she just came running over to me with this one day and said, “Look, Mama!  I drew Elly!  Can I bring it to the hospital for her when she’s born??”

First PersonI drew Elly!

Since then, her people have been improving bits and pieces.  I love this one – a king with a crown, sleeping on his bed!

King

One day, I drew her a person per her request and was talking through my drawing as I went.  “Here’s her head, and two eyes, and a nose, and a smile.  And here’s her body with arms and legs, etc.”  Abby was looking thoughtful as I finished and then she said, “I was doing it wrong before, but now I know how to make the body.”  For context, she had been doing the classic legs and arms coming directly out of the head look (leaving out the body).  After seeing my one, unintentional demonstration, she never made such a “mistake” again.  Awwww!

Recently we’ve been working on helping Abby interpret idioms.  She always wants to know what I really mean when I say things like, “Keep your eyes peeled!”  The other day, we were having Southwestern Chicken Stacks and I was in the living room trying to eat while feeding a baby.  I yelled over to the kitchen, “Caleb, could you toss me the bag of chips, please?”  Before he could respond, my little helper shrieked, “I can!!  I can!!” and snagged the chips off the table.  It was opened already and it was one of those slow motion life moments as I watched her barreling towards me, lifting the bag of chips in the air to “toss” it to me.  I tried to say, “Nooooooooooo!” but it was too late. haha  The chips were officially tossed to me (and the throw was a bit short).  Chips.  Everywhere.  I took that opportunity to explain that sometimes when people ask you to toss them something, they don’t really want you to TOSS it.  Instead, they’d prefer a hand off. ha!

Babe

We’ve learned that if Abby says she sees something, she always does.  Example: we were driving on the highway and Abby called out, “There’s a water tower!”  Caleb and I couldn’t see one for the life of us, but I whispered, “Don’t tell her there’s not one – she’s proven me wrong way too many times!  Just wait a minute and we’ll probably see it too.”  Sure enough, a few seconds later we were able to spot one in the far distance.  That’s why we call her our Eagle Eye! haha!

Sittin' PrettySweets

Abigail is usually Little Miss Responsible.  She will quickly report if Evie is causing trouble and does an excellent job informing Daddy how to do things the way Mama does when he is home. hahaha  I had given her a list of instructions for Papa back when I was about to go into labor with Elly.  I had told her things like, “Make sure you show Papa where your clothes are, and Evie’s, and where all the diapers are if he needs help,” etc. etc. and he told me she very thoroughly relayed every single thing I said she could mention. (there was a big list)  He said he kind of zoned her out at some point because she was going on and on and on…..  You mean our Abby??  No way. haha

Summer Dress

Chapter books have continued to be a hit for our big girl.  Listening to books in general has always been a favorite activity.  There was a short period of time, a couple months ago, where Abby picked up on book lingo and would say things like, ” ‘Bye Daddy’, I called.”  Or, ” ‘Is it time for supper?’ I asked.”  It was so funny.  It was one of those short lived phases, but we enjoyed it while it was around.  Another thing she likes to do is reenact or build off of scenes from books we read her.  After reading the first Little House book, she was churning butter with her dolls, and after Charlotte’s Web, her joy was playing with sneaky Templeton in her and Daddy’s Duplo games each evening.

Piggies

Piggy Girl

Abigail is a firm believer in the ‘apple a day’ idea.  Sometimes she will eat part of it, store it in the fridge, and pull it out again when she’s hungry later on.  She always asks me if she’s eaten enough of it before she throws it away.  One day, she asked me if it was ready for the garbage and I told her to take a few more bites first.  Her response, “But I don’t want to eat the bone!!”  That’s actually called an apple core, dear, but good guess! 🙂

Apple HeadApple

We got in a round of frisbee golf pre baby #2.  Abby was thrilled about that – she had been asking to go all winter.  She did get a little sidetracked with all of her walnut findings though.

Frisbee Golf

I love how Abby will remember and follow through on things.  Sometimes it takes me by surprise.  Quite a while before I went into labor, we were on one of our daily walks and saw some little purple flowers (weeds) in someone’s yard.  Abby asked me if they were violets too, and I said no, but I couldn’t remember what they were called.  I told her when she went to Emmy and Papa’s house, when I was having Baby Elly, she should ask Emmy because she would know.  Well, she did remember to ask her and then when we were walking again post baby, she saw one of the purple flowers and exclaimed, “Emmy said those are…!!!  Those are…!!  Charlie Browns!!!”  Then she paused because she knew that wasn’t quite right and said, “Well…. Charlie….”  And then it came back to me, “Oh!!  That’s right!  Those are Creeping Charlie, aren’t they?”  “YES!” haha  We had recently rented the Peanuts movie from Redbox and it had caused the slight jumble up. 🙂

Flower PickingFlower Girl

Speaking of our walks.  They are one of the girls’ favorite activities (mine too!).  Being outside is really just the best and everyone is so much happier.  Abigail absolutely loves to find “treasures” on our walks – flowers, seeds, nuts, sticks, rocks, leaves, etc.  For a while there, she was finding so many that her jacket pockets were stuffed, my stroller was stuffed, and her hands were stuffed.  It was a little on the too much side of things, so I had to make a rule.  Now she is allowed to find three treasures on each walk.  She can put one of those in the stroller and has to hold the other two.  She can drop one to make a trade if she sees something better, but no more than three.  Although this has helped significantly, it is amazing how many ways there are to get around this rule.  She will find a big bunch of helicopter seeds, but they really only count as one because they’re all hooked together, right? And then a branch with like 5,000 leaves on it.  Abby loves to find her treasures in our yard as well.  She will walk around with her bucket and collect all the cool things she finds scattered about.  Her heart has always delighted in collecting and sorting, while Evie is much too on the go for that sort of pokey business.  She will tag along with Big Sis for a bit and then she’s off and running.

Bucket Treasures

Treasure Hunters 2

Treasure Hunters

It’s so lovely to get out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine with the kiddies!!  They love playing in our little sandbox and digging in the dirt!!  We make sure not to skip baths on those nights….

Sandbox

Overall CutieDigging

Parks are pretty great too!  Abby has always been such a risk taker. 😉

Balance Beam

Slide!

Picnic fun on the deck!!

Picnic Fun!

One of the girls favorite little activities right now is cuddling up in Abby’s bed together with their Bibles and singing “Bible songs” together.  It is about as tuneful as my singing, but oh so funny.  Abby will be in there singing a bunch of strung together words from her Bible stories.  I don’t know why, but my fav is when she bursts out with, “Tabernacle!”  These two, in general, are pretty much inseparable.  They love to be goofballs together which reminds me of Trisha and I when we were little our whole lives.

Besties

Goofballs

A few different stories from Abby’s Bibles mention idols and how we shouldn’t worship statues, etc.  One day we were out walking and I noticed Abby studying some lawn decorations in a yard we were passing by.  She commented, “God doesn’t want us to worship statues, but they have statues at their house.”  I explained those weren’t  statues people were praying to (hopefully? haha), but were placed around the people’s yard as decorations. haha  Such a thoughtful girl.

Park

Building with Legos has been a favorite lately – especially if Daddy builds and plays with her (he makes the coolest stuff!)!!  Life can’t get much better than that.  Abby has spent a good portion of her Quiet Time the past few weeks with building fun creations.  Afterwards, she loves to tell me about each thing she built and show me how they work.  Legos are definitely one of the best toys ever.

Lego BuildingLegos

Duplos with Daddy

Another Quiet Time activity Abby was all about for a while was writing me, and the rest of her family, letters.  Since Baby Boy arrived and then Elly…. well, we haven’t really made it to the library in quite some time.  Nothing gives you the guilt trip like getting a letter from your 3 year old that reads (according to her), “Dear Mama, please go to the library again someday.  I love you.”  It’s on my to-do list.  For real and for true!

AbbySo Big

Along with Legos, coloring, reading, and being outside, Abigail continues to enjoy playing board/card games, loves playing independently or with Evie with their little dolls and toys, and loves the girls’ play kitchen.  The girls are always setting up picnics and having little parties together.  They always want me to play along too, and I’m often found on the living room floor feeding a baby while the girls “feed me” their play food they worked so hard to prepare.  We like to keep things exciting around our house.  Our toy kitchen was probably the best garage sale purchase I’ve ever made.  It gets played with multiple times on a daily basis.  I would highly recommend a toy kitchen set to anyone with children.  THE BEST.  Abby also still enjoys playing with her train track and Thomas trains, although Thomas has lost some of the old fascination.

train track

Our girl is still a constant chatterbox at home.  And she knows it.  Case in point, Daddy always calls us when he is leaving work (probably so I can look at the clock and know I only have about 15 minutes more to survive without him – haha!).  Often, I will let Abby answer because I’m in the middle of feeding or changing someone.  About a week ago, there was a day I actually answered and talked myself.  When I hung up, Abby burst out, “Why didn’t you let me talk??  ‘Cuz I have more words!  ‘Cuz I talk a lot!”  True, Sweetpea – very true!

Growin Up

Gabby Abby is the best when she mixes up a new word.  In our defense, we usually correct her, but this is one we can’t seem to put an end to.  It’s just too great:  “Mama!!!  Evie’s terrifying my puzzle!” (“terrorizing” gone wrong! ha!)  Abby still enjoys her puzzles, although she doesn’t put them together on a daily basis anymore.

Puzzler

Someone has been reluctant to have their picture taken lately, but really into striking a goofy pose each time I try to get a cute smile out of her….  Unbelievable!

Silly GoosePicture Time

However, she is ever ready to jump in when I am attempting to capture a moment without her in it (see Daddy and Elly being cute in the background *sigh*).

Me Too

Our evening walk time is one of Abby’s favorite times of the day because she gets to ride her Strider bike.  She thinks it is the best!  She is super fast now – Daddy usually has to jog or run to keep up with her! – and will go for a couple miles.  She was really excited to enter a balance bike race this summer, but it doesn’t look like there are any in our area this year. 😦  She also likes to go up the slight grass hill along our driveway and then zoom down it.  This is a great activity until Evie gets in the way and although Abby is trying to steer away, it’s like her bike is a magnet to Evie.  Oops.  Maybe we should look into having Evie wear a helmet as well when Abby is biking….

Strider Rider

This is the little smirk I see all too often around our house. haha!

Smirker

Abigail has been telling us lately that she wants to grow up.  Her reasons?  Then she can buy and drive a pink car to drive around with Evie and be a fisherwoman.  Those are her current life aspirations.  I asked her if I could ride in her car too and she told me I could sit in the back.  Hey, at least I still get to participate!  The color of her dream car changes almost daily, along with her favorite color.  For a long time, purple was her definite favorite, but that’s over for now!  *Side note, this picture is from Christmas, but I never got around to posting it.  Woops!

IMG_3205edit

Abby gets so excited to help throw Elly and Baby Boy’s diapers away (following Evie’s example… something that happens with other areas as well currently) and loves when they “do teamwork!” together.  Ever since I explained that word, she is really into it.  She LOVES using new words and if she hears us say something and is unsure what it means, she always asks, thinks about it, and then uses it in context sometime in the future – maybe even days later.  We love it!

Summer Days

Our big girl is so nurturing and loving with the babies.  It always melts my heart.  She is so gentle and kind with them.  If they are crying, she will often lay next to them, hold their hand or rub them gently, and sing to them.  It absolutely thrills her when one of the babies smiles at her!!  She gives them kisses and is pretty much obsessed.  She truly loves being a big sister.  I always know how I sound and what I say when talking to the babies because Abby will repeat everything I say to them in a funny baby talking voice.  “Where’s your smiles??  Where’s your smiles??”  “Do you need your Mama?  Yes you do!!”  “What’s wrong, Sweet Cheeks?”  etc. etc.  You never know how much like a goofball you appear when interacting with a baby than when your kids repeat it in front of you.  So there’s that….

Big Sis and Baby Sis

Sister Playing

Sisters

Sisters 2

Although the girls have their moments, Abs is usually very sweet with Evelyn.  She will help Evie scoot her chair in for snacks, put new outfits on her dolls, help her pick things up when she spills, and one of our personal favorites….. read books to her when Mama is busy with one of the babies.  It’s sooooooo hilarious, because Evie will plunk down on Abby’s lap with her book, assuming that should work out just fine.  Abby will sometimes say, “Evie, maybe you should sit next to me” or something similar and Evie totally doesn’t acknowledge her because she’s too excited about her book, so Abby attempts to make it work anyway.  It’s great because poor Abs can barely see the book at all around Evie and the book has to be right in Evie’s face since Abby’s arms are only so long.  Ooooooh man.  I could laugh at this all day.  The bottom picture is from a few months ago already and it’s amazing how much Evie has grown since then!!

Dying!

BFFS

We love our Abigail Joy so much!  She is such a smart little girl and keeps us on our toes!  She is ever ready for a new family adventure and is the best oldest child we could have hoped for.  She is always watching out for the little ones and ready to help me with any and everything!  ❤

Me and my Big GirlUp a Tree!

CutesThree and a Half!

 

 

O Week

We’re back!  No promises that our letter weeks are actually going to be only a week long at this point – with 4 littles, there are just some days we don’t fit school in, much to Abby’s disappointment.  She informed me the other day, “Mama, kids are supposed to do school with their Mamas every day, not just sometimes.”  My bad.  Just let me finish feeding the two screaming babies, change 3 diapers, and then….. oh bummer.  Now it’s time for lunch. haha  Someday we will get back on track, darling girl. 😉

This octopus was a lot of fun!  Abby wanted to use one color for each number and carefully (painfully slowly) selected the perfect beads.

Octopus with Beads

Octopus with Counting Beads

Of course we had to attempt an octopus snack to go along with our craft.  Yes, I realize these turned out super creepy, but the girls thought their oreo octopuses were the best!  (If anything, they ended up looking more like spiders – ew!)

Octopus SnackOreo Octopus Snack

Oreo Octopus

Abigail turned her block letter “O” into an owl!

Block Letter Oo Owl

I thought our owl snack was quite a bit cuter than the octopus one. haha

Owl Snack YummyOwl Snack is Tasty

Owl Snack with Berries

Here are Abigail’s handwriting practice and tracer sheets.

O Handwriting Practice

O Tracer Page

What begins with the letter “O”?

O is for

Abby enjoyed this shape worksheet I made for her.  There were six different shapes she needed to color according to the chart.  I scribbled the corresponding color over each word so she could do this more independently.  Of course we started with the ovals because oval begins with “O”!

O is for Oval

O is for orange!  Abby ripped pieces of orange streamer into little bits, crumpled them up, and glued them on my circle template to make this orange.  It would have been more effective if she wouldn’t have kept referring to it as her pumpkin. LOL  When Daddy got home, she announced, “O is for my pumpkin I made!!”  He was a little confused….

O is for Orange

This is a set of animal science cards I printed off (thanks Google images).  I wrote a few different facts about each animal on the backs and Abby loved learning about them all!

Preschool Science CardsO Learning Cards

Finally, here is a set of opposite cards I made for Abby.  She enjoyed matching them up and talking about all the pictures with me.

Opposite Cards

Opposites Preschool

Opposites Card Set