Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekly Happenings Post #395 (October 24-30)-- Back Home from a Long Trip and a Low Key Week

It looks like we only have one child- a tiny baby! Ha! Don't know where the big kids were for this one. I'm trying to be relaxed and not force them to be in the shot. Sometimes they're so into it and sometimes they're so not. And that's okay. I'm glad we're still doing it, though =)

We had planned for the camping trip to last a few more days but we were all kind of ready to be home by Monday and I was very glad to have almost the whole week ahead of us back at home! 
We headed home from our trip on Monday. Peyton got up at six and took down the campsite and got the big kids in the car and we drove a good bit. We stopped for gas and then stopped and ate lunch. We ended up stopping two more times.

We finally got to Alabama and got through Birmingham and the big kids had been so great in the car so we found a state park that was right along the way and played on the playground there. We met some really friendly people. We got back on the road and drove awhile and then Peyton and I got Subway. Graves and Sallie fell asleep. We got home and brought a few things in and P and I both took baths. I went to bed pretty late.


 Tuesday was a good, fun day. We didn't get much done at all, but it was so nice to be home and relax. We all got up and got a slow start and I fed Sallie and took my bath and ate some lunch. P bathed the big kids and we straightened a bit. Annie really wanted some catfish so we went to Penn's and the big kids ate and then we visited Peyton's parents for a couple of hours. We went over to my parents' and dropped the big kids off and Peyton, Sallie, and I went to Babalu for supper.

 Blurry but, I put on makeup for the first time in a week and dinner (and drinks) without the kids who can talk was SO NICE. Happy Little Sallie was the perfect third wheel, it just happened to be Taco Tuesday, we got to sit on a couch (ha!), and we enjoyed some wonderful uninterrupted conversation!

We had a great time and got in some wonderful discussion. We picked up the big kids and Peyton helped Annie make mashed potatoes and I got Sallie to sleep and went to sleep almost immediately myself.

Peyton got up with Graves on Wednesday and did some school with him and then the kids had breakfast and cleaned up their rooms. Sallie and I got up and I talked to Peyton and then we all went to P.E. I stayed with Annie and P and Graves and Sallie did the recycling and drove through the bank. We came home and I took a bath, went through my reader, changed my Mistletoe shift, and had lunch. I did school with Annie and straightened a bunch. I unpacked more, started a load of laundry, put up the clean clothes that didn't need to be washed, and swept the kids' room and the kitchen. Sallie played on the floor and Annie did school and Peyton and Graves did a bunch of yard work.

 [Peyton also set up a "Jedi Training Obstacle Course" and Graves had to do a phonogram flash card before each obstacle!]

Peyton played with the big kids some and then they ate supper and we got them settled. Sallie fussed for awhile and I finally got her to bed and then I edited some pictures and did a few other computer things and went to bed.

We all slept pretty late on Thursday and I got up a little after nine feeling really well rested and without a headache. I started some laundry, straightened a bit in the kids' room, and talked to Peyton. Sallie had a dirty diaper and I changed, bathed, dressed, and fed her. I ate breakfast and got on the computer and P and the big kids left for Graves's Little Gym class. I did a quick clean in the guest bathroom, tidied up the den, and took my bath. I talked to P on the phone, finished in the den, dried my hair, and got dressed and put on make up. I straightened the sunroom and put up some dishes Peyton had washed and straightened the kitchen table a bit. I fed Sallie, texted Minnie, and messaged a friend on FB.

One of my mom's good friends (well, and my friend, too) was dropping by to meet Sallie and bring a gift. I finished getting the house straight and fed Sallie quickly an she got here.  We had a nice visit for about half an hour and then I snuggled with Sallie and tried to get her to nap. P and the big kids got home and I fed her again and she fell asleep. Annie did math and Peyton and Graves did school and then headed to the grocery store. Annie and I did some writing work and I did a couple of things on the computer and then Sallie woke up. Annie took a break and watched a show and I worked on a few posts, looked over the rest of school, and checked her math.

Peyton and Graves got home and I ate something and then changed over the laundry, made Graves's bed, and straightened a bit in our bedroom.

I ended up using pictures of him in his Halloween costume for the monthly picture, but these outtakes in two different outfits were too good not to share. As I've said, he has no idea that pink is a "girl color" (or more accurately, Annie has told him some people think that but they've agreed they do not). He is just so joyful and full of energy.

Peyton fixed something for the big kids to eat and watered the yard and I put up groceries, worked some more on a post, and took both the big kids' monthly pictures. I got everything ready and we left to meet the Roots at the park. We played there for an hour and then went to the Y for family swim. We got home around eight and were pretty tired. I hung up our wet clothes and unpacked, the big kids ate something, Graves had iPad time, and I did some school with Annie. She wanted to make soup and P decided to indulge her since he had planned to make vegetable soup later in the week anyway. We got them settled and I did a few things on the computer and fell asleep. I woke up an hour later and sorted a bit of laundry and then went to bed for the night.

I got up around eight thirty on Friday and got my bath and made the bed and then Sallie got up. I changed and dressed and fed her and got the big kids' clothes out. Annie did the iPad and then they had a quick breakfast. I dried my hair, glanced at my reader, and did my makeup. Then I packed up a lunch and some other stuff and we got going.

Morgan is teaching Annie and Aubrey to play piano along with Mary Milton but Alaina had broken her arm the night before and so Aubrey missed the first day. The girls did great and had so much fun and then we ate lunch and visited awhile. We came home and Graves finished up his iPad time and I got Sallie to sleep. I unpacked our stuff and worked on a blog post and read a few blogs.

Peyton got home and we talked some and then he did school with Graves and I did Annie's English- we did writing, copywork, a lot of spelling, reading, and some vocabulary.
 When Graves picks the library book...
We got ready and headed to my parents' house.

Babydoll Sarah Lamar with Babydoll Sarah Lamar. I wouldn't be surprised if her little face is always as round as her baby's.

 One more. I just love how she'd fracture her face if she grinned any bigger. 

We had a really nice visit and Graves was very calm. We came home and got the big kids settled and Sallie to bed and I worked on a post and talked to P some and then I hung up a bunch of the kids' laundry.

Peyton and I woke up and chatted really early on Saturday and then I went back to sleep. The kids slept pretty late and then Graves and Sallie and I played and snuggled some while Annie did the iPad.

She tickles him back now. When she grabs his face it's literally one of my favorite things in the world. And behind those hands is the sweetest, calmest, most serene little smile I've maybe ever seen on my beautiful boy. It's good to wake up to the face of someone who loves you so deeply.

I went through my reader and ate breakfast and mixed up the rest of the ingredients with some soap Peyton had grated to make laundry detergent. I collected and sorted laundry and started a load. Peyton got home since we were going to a wedding that afternoon and I  took a bath while Graves had media time. We talked and I fed Sallie and got her down for a nap and then Peyton made lunch with the big kids. I dried my hair and washed some dishes and then got ready and we left to drop the big kids' off with my parents. The wedding was about an hour away so we got on the road. Sallie did great the whole way and I just waited in the car with her during the ceremony since the bride was a friend of Peyton's from pharmacy school. Sallie slept the whole time and after that we headed to the reception. We stayed for a bit and then picked up the big kids' from my parents' house.

We came home and unpacked stuff and I straightened some and started more laundry. I worked on a post a little and Peyton played with the  big kids and then bathed them and I fed Sallie. Peyton went to the store and Sallie had a really hard time. Annie was still in the tub and Sarah Lamar just screamed for like an hour. P got home and watered the yard and talked to his brother and then fixed supper for the big kids while I handled Sallie. I finally got her to bed and I worked on a blog post some and hung up a bunch of clothes. I went to bed pretty early after I got our clothes and stuff ready for church.

Sallie was up a lot during the night and I woke up on Sunday with a headache. I fed her and got her settled and took some medicine and decided I'd see if I felt like we could make the service. We ended up missing Sunday school but going to big church. I got up around eight thirty and got my bath, made a list for the day, and got the big kids up. I fixed them something to eat and got our stuff together, dried my hair, and did my make-up. I woke up Sallie and dressed and fed her and we headed to church.

We came home and Annie and Graves each had a turn on the iPad and I got Sallie to sleep. I started some laundry and then I made a to-do list for the next week, emailed myself pictures from my Motorolla to my iPhone so I could upload them, and did a few things on the computer. I worked on a post and then wrote out my monthly quote and the big kids had a snack. I ate my lunch and put up some dishes and then did some school with Graves. I washed more dishes and unpacked our church stuff and then I woke up the baby and changed and fed her and we headed out to Stan and Jennifer's house for a gathering. It was a ton of fun and the kids had a blast. We got home a little before Peyton and Graves was asleep. I transferred him and unloaded the van and put up some stuff and then Peyton got home. We visited and Annie worked on making some treats for the next day and then I finished a post.
This guy wore my twenty five year old t-shirt to the  home of "Past Staner" as Graves calls him (that's actually Pastor Stan) and and had drawn all over himself with market and nobody cared at all. Annie basically wore tennis shoes to church and nobody cared about that either. It's nice to be at a place where people occasionally notice when they're nice and sparkly but don't judge when they're not.

Next up: Halloween and NOVEMBER. Woo-hoo! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Happenings Post #394 (October 17-23)-- Camping, Hiking, and (Mostly) Road Tripping

 [No family picture from this week and actually I'm including very few others because I'm going to do a real picture/reflection post this weekend devoted to the whole camping trip. I'll give the details of each day here and then sort of document my thoughts and feelings and share my favorite shots in that post.]

Anyway, to state the ovbious this was the week during which most of our big Fall trip took place.

Peyton was taking the big kids on a field trip with our homeschool group to the fire academy on Monday morning and he woke me up and got me to help him get them ready. They left and I got on the computer and went through my reader and messaged a friend. I started some laundry, read my N.T. Wright book, and ate breakfast and Sallie woke up. I changed, dressed, and fed her and then straightened a bit in the kids' room and our room. I took some cups and stuff back to the kitchen and collected more laundry. I put up some books in the kids' room and hung up their clothes and some of Peyton's. Peyton and the kids got home and they had media time, he did some planning for the trip, and I tied up loose ends on the computer and talked to Minnie on the phone.

How grown up does Annie look in her skinny jeans and this cute elephant top Minnie got her? And it's the softest thing ever!

I made a list for the day and ate lunch. Peyton took Graves to science with the homeschool group (Annie didn't want to go and I needed to get a good bit done with her anyway) and we got started. She did her Brainquest and then we did her math and she had a bit of a bad attitude. We got half of it done and had a snack and Graves and P got back. I guess she felt a lot better after the snack, because she finished up quickly and we did writing and grammar. After that we did an English assessment and spelling words. Sallie got fussy toward the end and Peyton took her outside.

Sweet Little Sallie Sunshine- she and Annie a great day in our little office schoolroom while the guys did their thing. I could not love Graves more and Annie reminds me often that she presents her own sets of challenges but I enjoy holing up in it with them so much. 

The big kids played Legos and I did some laundry and then Peyton got them supper. I had a bad headache and was fading. I laid down and then fed and changed Sallie and put up my laundry.

 When your sheets are still in the dryer at midnight and your 4T/5T Gymboree parrot costume from eBay comes in and there's no way you can wait til Halloween to wear it.

I got up and read a bunch in our bookclub book and then Peyton and I chatted and went to bed.

Sallie was up so much and my headache got worse and worse. Graves got up around seven on Tuesday and I finally had to wake Peyton up to help me. I laid back down and rested some and he made me a smoothie. I took some medicine and finally got up and read about twenty more pages. P took the big kids to do some errands and I got on the computer since Sallie was sleeping. I went through my email and reader and worked on a few posts. Peyton and the kids got home and we all talked and ate lunch and we cleaned up their room really well which took awhile and then I did some more laundry and got the homeschool stuff I needed for the week packed. I was feeling bad so after visiting with Peyton and getting Sarah Lamar to sleep, I took a nap. I got up and got a good bit more packed and then Sallie and I got ready and headed to bookclub. I grabbed a hamburger on the way. It was so fun but I was so tired when we got home. I talked to P and took another nap and then I mostly finished packing and we loaded up the van. I folded a lot more laundry and did the last bit of packing.

Wednesday was the big day for the start of the trip! We got up around seven thirty and P and I had baths and then I straightened a bit, finished packing a few things from the dryer, and loaded the last bit of stuff in the van. We got on the road around nine thirty.

We decided to take the Trace up to Nashville so we could enjoy the scenic route, even though it added a few hours onto the trip. It was a great trip- Babes did amazing and both the big kids did a really good job, too. We stopped at a couple of gas stations to fill up and to use the bathroom and we also stopped at a couple of scenic places. We listened to a couple of Magic Treehouse books on tape and had lots of snacks.

We got to Cookie's a little after six and they were cooking pizzas. We visited and enjoyed the pizza. Sallie was SO fussy and Peyton left twice- once to get her apple juice for her tummy and then when that didn't work, for a suppository. We finally got her settled and the big kids watched some YouTube videos of Star Wars. We all went to bed around ten.

Since Cookie and Conrad needed to go to work, we got an early start on Thursday. We got up early and Peyton and I took baths and we bathed Sallie, too. Conrad had some clothes he didn't want and was giving Peyton but we didn't really have time for him to go through and try them on. We had so much room in the van so we just put them in the bottom of the trunk and reloaded it. We got on the road a little before eight.

We drove to Mammoth Cave- which was only an hour and a half away. We looked around, got the big kids their ranger booklets, and bought tickets to the cave tour that was later in the afternoon. We drove to an overlook and had lunch there and P took the big kids on a short hike. I stayed in the van since Sallie was sleeping. We we about to leave and a guy drove by and rolled down his window and told us that a convict had escaped from the prison nearby. We quickly buckled up and headed back for our tour. Annie and Graves finished filling out their booklets and got their junior ranger badges and then it was almost time for the cave tour.

Um, the tour was a little different than I expected. The guide explained that it was forty minutes and there was no way out for a medical emergency except the way we came in. Of course, I realized that was going to be the same for a crying infant. Sallie screamed the whole bus ride over and I tried to nurse her and some old people glared at me (I'm not sure if it was the public nursing or they were just worried she was going to ruin their tour). Anyway, I got increasingly anxious. Peyton held her on the tour, though, and she did great. I was glad, anyway, because it was lots of high stairs and slippery ground and tight spaces and he's got better balance than I do. I was a little nervous about Graves, actually. Everyone was fine, though, and Sallie didn't fuss much and Graves was very patient even toward the end when I knew he was sort of over it. It was really neat and beautiful and I was glad we did it. After the bus ride back, we spent a little while in the museum and then got back on the road.

We drove a couple of hours toward our next location and stopped at a motel. We unpacked in the rain and then ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. We got back to the hotel and Annie was supposed to do her math but she threw a big fit. She finally got it done. Then she threw another fit about not having a bed to herself. It was pretty awful. Peyton got Graves settled and they both fell asleep and I got Sallie to sleep. Annie finally made herself a little bed under the desk and fell asleep around midnight. The motel wasn't too bad but the water there tasted gross.

We slept pretty late in the motel on Friday and P and I took showers and bathed the big kids. We packed up and got out of the hotel by eleven. We drove to the Cumberland Gap National Park, which took most of the afternoon, and when we got there we went and walked up to another really neat overlook. It was super cool. We talked to a guy who had his little nephew with cerebal paulsy with him and hiked around a bit. We headed to the campground so that we'd get there before dark. P and the big kids set up the tent and I got Sallie fed and changed and settled. Graves and Peyton settled down and I did some school with Annie. She went to sleep and I ate something and played on my phone and then Sallie had a big dirty diaper. I changed her and got her in her warm clothes for the night and fed her. We actually had a great night and Sallie and I both slept really well in the van.

We got up pretty early on Saturday and packed up the campsite, straightened the van, and got on the road. We took a really nice hike in The Gap and then started driving toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 Schoolhouse in the Suburbs on the road-- loved talking to Annie about these animals and people who came through the Cumberland Gap before us!

We stopped at Subway for lunch and a couple of other times and got ice cream that afternoon. It was a pretty long day in the car. Annie got really into her Magic Treehouse activity book and I did get in a bit of school with her (she had mostly not wanted to do it in the van and I sort of found it difficult, too, even though it was much more convenient to do it while driving). We also stopped once for Graves to pick out a snack since he didn't get to pick one at home when Annie did. She got SO upset she couldn't go in the store with them and Sallie started screaming and that was a tough half hour.

We had planned to camp that night in the Shenandoah Valley but the campsite was full. It was also SUPER cold and windy so it worked out well. But then we had a ton of trouble finding a motel. We ended up getting the last room for a hundred dollars at a motel an hour away so we drove back the way we had came. We stopped for supper at Waffle House and then checked in. The big kids played a bit and then we all got settled.

Annie had been a little complainy about the driving part of this trip (which to be fair was a big part of this trip). I found the Magic Treehouse activity book I brought, though, and she worked through it with a headlamp for hours. P said something about how he felt bad we were going to have to drive back an hour to where we'd just been since everyone was so sick of the car. "Actually, the driving isn't bothering me anymore. I'm enjoying my activity book now, she told him. 

The only problem with this room was that there weren't fitted sheets on the bed and the flat sheet they were using in lieu of it wouldn't stay tucked in. But overall, it was a great room. It even had a kitchen range and a pull out couch that the big kids slept on.

Sunday morning, we all got up and had baths and showers and had a leisurely morning. We got on the road and headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove a bit of it. We found a campsite and set up the tent and  Graves spilled chips all in the van. He cleaned it up while Peyton took Annie to the ranger station to get some information. They got back and we headed out on a walk all together. We stopped at the visitor center and looked around and then went to the nature center. I think it was Annie's and Graves's favorite thing on the whole trip. There were lots of animal furs and skulls and a live snake named Green Bean.

a pretty spectacular view of part of the parkway

We headed back to the tent and I fed and changed Sallie and then did some school with Annie and Peyton got Graves settled. Annie had some iPad time and we went to sleep.

I slept really well that night!

Of course the trip will be continued in the next post =)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weekly Happenings Post #393 (October 10-16)-- Bee Birthdays and Campaigning for Gary

[I decided to start just putting the family pics on the week where they belong, leaving the weeks we didn't get one without one, and trying to be more consistent with them again going forward. And I'm sure, because I'm extremely compulsive with this kind of stuff, I'll end up going back and moving around the ones from the Weekly Happenings post since Sarah Lamar was born to make sure things are uniform.]

This was a fun week- we celebrated a little friend's birthday and Mal and I took the children campaigning for Gary Johnson in the neighborhood! 

I got up later than I meant to- around nine- on Monday. But I felt SO well-rested and I had gone to bed pretty late. Sallie had nursed around seven something and I guess I didn't hear my alarms after that and Peyton was working. Anyway, we were supposed to be at the Howies for a playdate around ten thirty so I got busy. I ran my bath and got out the big kids some clothes and heated up leftover pancakes for them. They got dressed and ate and I picked up in their room a bit and cleaned up some blood where Graves had had a nosebleed. I got out most everything I wanted to pack up for lunch and the stuff to make sandwiches and then I took my bath, dried my hair, and glanced at my reader. I put on my make up and dried my hair and then I finished making sandwiches, fixed the big kids hair, and made up the bed. I woke up Sarah Lamar and changed, dressed, and fed her. We left about ten minutes later than I had wanted to but I was so impressed I did all that in just a little over an hour!

We had a fun visit! Carrie and I actually got to talk a good bit and the big kids had fun seeing their friends. And Sarah Lamar was pretty happy the whole time (though she did eat three different times!).

We got home and the big kids finished their lunch and had some media time and Sallie took a nap. I sent a Facebook message, unpacked our bags and regrouped, started a load of laundry, and worked on a blog post. Annie did her mental math and Graves played with stickers and then I packed up and we headed over to Mickey and Minnie's. I dropped the kids off and left for the McClean Center. I was sort of tired but it was a great night. I got back to my parents' and Peyton was there and had fed and bathed the big kids. I fed Sallie her bottle she hadn't taken and we headed home. P and I talked and went to sleep pretty early.

Tuesday was a fun, busy day. Peyton and the big kids got up and Sallie and I slept until about nine. I got up and pumped a bottle and went through my email and reader. I started a load of cloth diapers and called Minnie. Peyton made me a smoothie and I enjoyed it! We were meeting some friends at the park and it was Maddie's birthday and since the kids love party planning we decided to have a little party for her (we weren't going to be in town for her real party). I got out some decorations and after Annie had breakfast and media time and did her mental math and BrainQuest, she started crafting. Peyton and Graves left to run some errands and I changed and fed Sallie and did a few more computer things. I took my bath and made a list for the day.

I bathed Sallie and gave her her vitamins and nursed her again and she fell back asleep. I texted a friend and did a couple of other computer things and then changed over the laundry and straightened in our room, the study, and the kids' room. I made our bed and picked up a bit in the den, straightened and scrubbed off the kitchen table, swept in the kitchen, and put up dishes. Peyton and Graves got home and I put up groceries and had my lunch. Peyton mixed up a box of cupcake mix and started cooking them and then took the big kids to the children's museum. I finished organizing and editing some pictures and messaged with a friend. I worked a good bit on changing over the kids' closet and iced the cupcakes. Peyton and the kids got home and Sallie woke up and we all got stuff together and headed to the park for the little party!

Annie decided to go with a bee theme since Maddie's daddy is a bee keeper (as well as a pharmacist). She crafted and made placemats and we made cupcakes with lemon icing and used our little bee bowl. Bonus: we got to use up some of the yellow Laffy Taffy that's not my fave and have fun with and then trash some party poppers and hats. It's fun to purge and bake and craft and even more fun to celebrate our friends' special days!

the sweet birthday girl! 

Graves left his shoes at home for the second time (the first was the children's museum and Annie sobbed when they had to turn around but Peyton took them back for a short trip). Peyton said he could just go barefoot at the park (?!?) but Annie let him wear her shoes and she wore her back up pair she keeps in the van. NBD, especially since he wore a bright pink and white checkered romper to the park the week before because he wanted to be some pink Star Wars guy and he has no concept of colors being gendered. He stretches me and is constantly making me evaluate my priorities and rules and what is really worth my energy.

When we got home, we got everyone settled. I texted some with Cookie and got on the computer.

I told Happy Little Sallie what a weird babykins she is because she literally took one nap that day and I think that's bizarre for a three month old (to be fair it was long- about 3.5 hours, it really worked better for everyone else in the family, and was such a happy little girl the whole time she was awake). P said I was nap-shaming her.

I read some blogs and then watched TV and folded clothes. I finished a post and went to bed LATE.

We had an early doctor's appointment for Sarah Lamar at 8:20 on Wednesday and I was super tired and running behind when I got up. I had gone to bed so late and she had been up some. Luckily, I had fed and changed her diaper an hour earlier and even put her in fresh pjs. We had decided to all go and see if the big kids could get their flu shots. Peyton helped hustle them and we all got ready and headed to the appointment. The great thing about having it so early is that there wasn't a wait at all. We got in and out without much problem, although Graves did have a bit of a hard time leading up to the shot but then he did great. We swung by CFA for a treat on the way home and then Peyton took Annie to P.E. Graves watched Star Wars and Sallie took a nap. I did a few things on the computer- sent an email and a couple of messages and went through my reader and caught up on some organizational stuff. I made a list for the day and Peyton and AP got home.

We all had lunch and I put up a few dishes and got some stuff together to take back to Minnie's. Peyton washed the van and his car and did some school stuff with Graves and then the big kids played outside. I made our bed and straightened in our room, the study, the sunroom, and den. Just picking up little things and making it neat. I started some cloth diapers in the wash and Sallie woke up and I changed and fed her and took her monthly picture. I played with her a bit and she went back to sleep. I made a grocery list for the boys and took out the study and bathroom trash and Graves and Peyton did a few more things outside. Sallie woke up and Peyton took her for a bit so I could get going doing school with Annie (she was having a rough time getting started). She did her mental math, BrainQuest, and a math workbook page. I put Sallie in her swing and she fell asleep after awhile. While Annie did independent stuff, I sorted some stuff to consign and changed over the laundry. Then Annie and I worked on English- we worked on a book of months she was making, practiced writing dates and addresses, and did spelling words. Peyton and Graves got home and I put up the groceries and Sarah Lamar woke up. I fed and changed her and she snuggled some and fell asleep again.

Peyton took the big kids swimming and I worked on my blog design. They got home and I folded more laundry and put up dishes while they ate a frozen pizza I had warmed up. Peyton got them settled and we talked and I straightened some in the study and then we got boxes down from the attic. I watched TV and finished all three kids' closet change-over. I did a few things on my phone, had a snack, and went to bed.

We got up around eight something on Thursday and I was pretty tired. Peyton fixed me a smoothie and I fed the baby, changed, and bathed her. I helped the big kids clean up their room and made our bed and straightened in our room a bit. I took my bath and was trying to help Annie find something and delete pictures off the big camera and that kind of thing and I got behind. We hustled, though, and Graves and Sallie and I headed to his Little Gym class and P and Annie got ready for the library and her presentation.

I had fun visiting with some other mommas at Graves's class and Sallie was awake the whole time. I was planning to try to read a bit, but it wasn't in the cards. We came home and picked up Peyton and Annie and went to Broadstreet for lunch so we could vote for the McClean Center for Jackson Restaurant Week. Lunch was yummy and then we came home and got busy. Annie did some school, Graves practiced cutting, Sallie slept, P made chili and did dishes and I dusted everywhere, swept and polished the wood floors, and vacuumed in the den. I scrubbed the toilets and bathroom sinks and floors and the tub that we actually use. I glanced at my reader and straightened a few more piles and then Elizabeth and her kids got her. We had such a fun evening and it was super laid back. Peyton did most of the dishes before they left and then he headed to swim and Graves had media time and Annie read. Sarah Lamar FINALLY woke up right at the Roots were leaving and I changed and fed her and just sort of hung out with her until P got back. We all went to bed SUPER early- like before ten.

Peyton and I woke up around five and chatted and I went back to sleep on Friday.

 I feel like our bedside table looks like it belongs in a hotel room with a couple of crackheads who had a late night binge session (minus the baby bottle, mouth guard, and Primos mug).
That was a weird night- P and I both fell asleep before ten. He woke up at five the next morning and apparently had some treats (there was a cereal bowl on a different piece if furniture) and then fell back asleep. We are so weird.
I got up for the day around nine and straightened some. I changed and fed Sallie and looked at my reader and email and did a few computer things. P took the big kids to the library and Sarah Lamar didn't want me to put her down. I finally got her settled and had lunch and a bath. I uploaded pictures from my phone and backed them up and then started some laundry.

The kids and Peyton got home and Sallie woke up for a bit and Peyton and I talked. She fell back asleep for a long stretch and I did school with Annie. She did her Brainquest and math and I uploaded pictures and started a couple of posts and then we did writing, reading, and spelling. I took a short nap and the big kids played outside and then we got ready and headed to my parents'. P dropped us off and he went over to see his brother. We had a good time but Graves was a little wild and Sallie only wanted me to hold her. Peyton picked us up and we headed home and got the kids all settled. We watched TV and I folded laundry and then wrote a post. I ate a snack and went to bed.

 Saturday was different than usual.

I got up around nine and straightened a few things and hopped in the tub. Sallie had eaten right before Peyton left around seven thirty and I was hoping she'd stay asleep. She did and I woke the big kids up and helped them get dressed and got them breakfast. 

 Rise and shine and give a God the glory (and campaign for Gary Johnson while solo parenting three small people)! It was a good day to learn about democracy at the Schoolhouse in the Suburbs. 

I did my make-up, dried my hair, ate my breakfast, and made the bed. I got out Sallie something to wear and she woke up right as I was about to wake her. I changed and dressed and fed her and Mallory and Brennan got here just as she finished nursing. We still took about twenty minutes to finish getting water and stuff together and then we headed out to campaign for Gary Johnson.
 Sallie was a trooper campaigning! We didn't make it TOO far but I'd call it a success, especially given how much the big kids participated.

 Annie and Graves distributed all the literature; I just pushed the stroller with Sallie in it. And they both picked up the slack for each other when the other one got tired. Bonus: they both insisted on wearing their backpacks so good hiking prep!

 He told me "I need to adjust this; you strapped it wrong. It's around my baby's neck and that could hurt Blueberry."

I love this picture with everything in me. He's kissing Blueberry on the head just like I do when Sallie's in her carrier and I don't think he meant to at all but his little hands relaxed on his baby's body just the way mine do, too. He got on every nerve I have today but I love him to pieces.

We came home and Brennan and Mal stayed a bit and played in the backyard. Sallie played on a towel and I fixed the big kids a snack. Annie got kind of upset with Brennan for messing up some things in her play house she had been decorating for a Halloween party. She did really good controlling her emotions and I explained that I understood it was hard when we had company and it wasn't something she could put up like a small toy. She said "I know it would get messed up at my party" but I don't want guests to come mess it up before the party. I told her one day when P was off he could take care of Bud and Sallie and I'd help her get it perfect. Anyway, they played inside a bit more and Mal and I made a video and then they left.

The big kids had media time and Sallie took a very short nap. I made an appointment to consign some things and then straightened the fridge and put up dishes. I went through my reader and ate some chili and Annie and Graves kept needing help with the iPad and dvd player and Sallie kept fussing. I got kind of frazzled. I finally put her in her playmat and finished up what I was doing and then I changed her and gave her some juice.

I fixed the big kids some lunch and straightened stuff around the house (mainly picking up from the little play date so it wasn't bad) and collected laundry. I changed it over and started a new load and folded some towels. The big kids TOOK forever and kept needing things and I was getting antsy about school. But Sallie sat in her bouncy seat and just happily hung out with them while I did chores. They FINALLY finished up and Annie did her mental math and I did an English review with Graves. It took FOREVER. We went outside and did a lot of it and then came in and finished. Annie took a bath and then Graves took his and they both had a small supper since they'd been eating all afternoon. I got them settled and got church stuff together. Sallie finally fell asleep and Peyton got home and we had pita pizzas for supper and watched SVU. I finished ironing things and getting stuff ready and made a list for the next day.

I got up around seven fifteen on Sunday and took my bath, dried my hair, and did my make-up. I made up the bed and straightened a bit and then woke the big kids up. Annie didn't want to wear what I had picked out and I let her choose another dress but she had to wear a turtleneck of Graves's. Luckily it fit and white turtlenecks are gender neutral. Anyway, they ate something and I woke up Sallie and bathed her (yes, I did, on a Sunday morning!) and dressed and fed her. We got on the road and made it to Sunday school in time. Both big kids did really well during church and Sallie took a good nap in the nursery.

When we got home, the big kids had media time and I did a few things on the computer. I marked a lot of stuff in my reader as read and then I took a short nap since Sallie was back asleep. I fixed the big kids some lunch and Annie wanted mashed potatoes so I made those. I started some laundry and did dishes and then we did a little bit of Graves's school after Sallie woke up. We all played with her a bit and Graves wanted to put her in the crib and get in. They did that and Annie got upset because she wanted to climb on something and I wasn't letting her do it on her play kitchen. She wanted to go to the park and I told her no and she got upset. I told her she could climb a tree in our yard and she liked that idea but then didn't want to change clothes. Whew. I think she was tired. She and Graves played outside and then they cleaned up toys in the den and I made them supper. They ate on the front porch in the dark. They came in and got settled and I did a few things and then Peyton got home. We watched TV and ate supper and talked a bunch and then since Annie was still up, she and Peyton camped in the backyard.

Coming up soon: our camping trip and Halloween! 

Postpartum Check In: Eight Months Out


SD at Eight Months Postpartum:

- I'm admittedly a low energy individual, but I've started thinking more about how much mental energy I expend. It occurred to me when I was thinking about Annie and another relative that often creative and/or analytical types seem low energy but a lot is going on behind the scenes and you can see the output at the end of a project but it's not as obvious how much energy is used when it's not physical tasks. It's hard to quantify but it does help me feel validated. For example-- I think a lot about my kids' personalities and learning styles and it hugely effects how I parent and teach them but I don't expect that to drain me in any way. So when I'm exhausted , I shouldn't feel guilty. And I wouldn't if I had just mopped the floor and folded laundry. I'm going to give myself more credit for the work I do that's not visible.

- This has been a great month, but also a hard one. P worked a bunch extra, there was an ice storm that left me feeling frantic and isolated, and we've all been sick. This mom at a homeschool group we're a part of said that I "couldn't really call myself a homeschooling mom" because of his schedule. I'm on the other side of it willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was teasing, but it wounded me, being so tired already. I came up with about six retorts I wished I had said and then was glad I didn't. Gonna keep channeling Mrs. O and telling myself to "go high when they go low" which damn if going low is not a thing Republicans, Democrats, and playground moms all do.

- I've been thinking about steps I want to take- and think I can realistically commit to- to be more healthy and feel better about myself. I've thought a lot about that lately. Cookie and Minnie picked me out a fitted shirt this weekend and I felt SO uncomfortable in it. And P reminded me that even if I don't want to live to be a hundred and ten Annie will probably wait until she herself is close to menopause to have children, if she even has them, and I *might* want to meet "the grands" (I'm not sure he's ever goobed me out more than when he said "the grands" and our whole relationship is a history of him goobing me).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Letter to (Eight Month Old) Sarah Lamar

Dear Sarah Lamar,

It's been another amazingly sweet month with you!

You've gotten so grown up over night. The silver lining is that you've grown increasingly fond of your papa and he's grown increasingly fond of you and now Annie's even enjoying engaging with you (on Annie's terms). The timing is great because as much as I love you, you've started wearing me out a lot more. Do NOT mistake this for griping. I adored having you to myself for the first half year of her life.

And your tummy issues have largely subsided.

You've gotten even more good natured than you were, if you can believe it. I just love you to pieces.

Even though (always surprisingly to me) I still don't feel like time is moving TOO fast, it does seem crazy how the milestones have started to come nearly on top of each other, so differently than with your brother and sister. You rolled early-ish and it did take several months after that for you to sit unassisted but you wanted to SO badly for so long and then I don't think she were sitting by herself but for a few weeks when you first started crawling. (I recently remembered when Annie started crawling. I laughed so hard thinking about it because you did it TEN weeks earlier than she did.) And now you are PULLING UP. 

Your sleeping has improved like whoa. You take two very solid naps a day and have a somewhat predictable routine which is DELIGHTFUL. Your night time sleep is still touch and go but- and this is probably unusual- the naps are way more important to me (a lot of that has to do with Papa's schedule and how independent the big kids are and how I can sleep in when I need to). And you go to sleep for the night relatively easily most nights and go down for naps easily. I nurse you every time but you've started not falling all the way asleep and will go down awake and soothe yourself. Sometimes you even wake up happy and play a bit! I don't want to knock sleep training too hard and I'm sure I'd resort to it if it was the price of my sanity, but I'm so grateful that with you and Graves I've been able to just give y'all the space to figure it out (we did some low key "getting on a routine" type stuff with Annie but she was an excellent sleeper). Partly CIO just makes my anxiety out of control but I also just have loved letting you guys do your own thing and not worrying about a schedule. It's one more thing I don't have to micromanage and worry I'm doing "wrong". Systems are so life giving to me in many cases, but with infants (and really with kids' sleep) it's nice to release myself from it. 

What have you been up to?

You love being outside so much. One of your favorite things is when we hang your doorway jumper on a door to the outside and you're have inside, half outside. Probably your very favorite, though, is your swing in the backyward that Papa hung up for you. It's been such a mild Winter and we've already got some great use out of that bubblegum pink swing. It's been so nice outside (in the seventies some days!) so we've really been enjoying it! 

Speaking of warm weather, I recently put you in the sweetest little bubble with ducks on it for the last time. It is one of the few things I bought for Annie at a boutique and I don't think I paid full price, but I may have. I loved the little vintage apron style and how soft it is and the buttery yellow and the sweet ducks. My style has changed in some ways and I really dislike some of the stuff I picked for her but I love this one every bit as much as I did then. Annie actually never wore it- not once. It was too big her first Summer and too small her second (she did wear a good handful of 6 mo. things when she was between twelve and fifteen months). And every time I reached for it this Summer for you, the minky dots just seemed like they'd be uncomfortable in the Mississippi heat. But we finally got our money's worth and you wore it so much in September and October. If I had it to do over I'd do it this way- a lot fewer things that I just adore and that's my goal going forward. When you wore it, Graves would say "she's her own lovie". I know it's completely inappropriate for January, and silly as it is, I felt completely rebellious and even a little scandalous putting you in it. I'm usually a stickler for this kind of thing and it gives me an HSP skin crawl when I see like a linen dress in February. BUT, it's seventy five degrees and sticky and more importantly, I knew it was my last chance to see you in it. One I didn't think I'd have. So when I saw it in the closet and realized I was being given a bonus day, I was just so thrilled.

It's been a mild Winter, but it's also been a sick Winter. We were hit with a stomach bug and I was hopeful that the six million times a day that you still nurse would give you some great immunity and that I paid my vom dues sufficiently the entirety of my pregnancy with her. My hoping was not in vain- we both managed to escape. But you have had a yucky cold with a gross little runny nose and a bad couch.

And one night you had 101 temp one night and just felt horrible. You slept all morning and then I treated you to some screen time (Clifford's Puppy Days) and got out your new favorite toys- the whole box of Fisher Price Little People. Annie and Graves were neither one interested in them until they were toddlers (well, Annie didn't know about them until then). You just seemed so grown up watching a show and playing with Alien and Bride Cinderella and their friends.

But you recovered quickly. By the next day, you just had a little cough and a bad runny nose and were a bit grumpy. Annie asked me if grumpiness is contagious (answer: YES). But it was so nice to see your signature Sallie smile, especially once I gave you access to your brother again

I could tell you were feeling better because I walked out of the room for a few minutes and when I came back in you were flat on your tummy on the plastic box the little people were in, kicking your feet super hard
Your brother and sister are so good to you. They often make you the conductor of the train and when I got your exersaucer down from the attic, they put pillows around it and proclaimed you the captain of the ship. They are so good to her!

Recently I was mopping and Annie suggested I let you be in the train (she and Graves like to line up the chairs and pretend it's a train) by strapping you in your high chair. She and Peyton have both started to enjoy you a lot more now that you are crawling and "can play with us" as Annie says. She still doesn't like you to touch her because  you drool SO much and it's pretty comical the lengths she'll go to so that she can engage you without any physical contact.   

You and Papa have been taking midnight strolls- to drop off library books, for example. He also took you swimming at the Y recently with Annie while Graves was having a special outing with Mickey and Minnie. You had a blast with Papa and your sister! 

You are such a delightful little person and I know I'm very biased, but I think you are simply an amazing baby.

We love you, Little Sallie Sunshine!

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. You pjs are a 6 mo.


Letter to (Five Year and Eight Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves,

A few fun, exciting things to recap but mainly I just want to remember the hysterical and sweet things you said and did!

Quite possibly the biggest thing that happened was that YOU READ YOUR FIRST BOOK. I've always said teaching Annie to read has been one of the great joys and honors of my motherhood thus far and it's a bit bittersweet that I will be able to claim only a tiny bit of that success with you, but you have such an excellent teacher in your papa!

As an aside, one of my children has a conviction (or rather compulsion) about doing work on Sunday. One does not. You are the one who is flexible, clearly. We still don't know about Sallie.

You are still your baby sister's biggest fan. I told you awhile back that pretty soon Sarah Lamar could try baby food. You said that you did NOT like that idea and you did not want her to be grown up enough for baby food and you really felt like she only needed milk still. And when we were talking to you about your "hundred thousand babies" we explained that you could have them biologically or adopt them or foster them and you told me later you just weren't sure you could handle giving back the foster babies. I used to only see myself in Annie and Papa in you but more and more I see myself in you (and Papa in Annie). I often chuckle and think the Lord did this magical thing where he made you the sweetest child he's ever created and also made you love the things I love so I'd be able to deal with some of the other ridiculousness that makes you you. I mean I laugh and think He did something similar (not the sweetest, but the most fascinating) with Annie, too. And probably every child He creates. I'm sure one day I'll even think that about Sallie. Right now she seems pretty magical herself.

Once she did try baby food, I passed the task off to you.  One evening I was doing dishes and I heard you say "Too cold for you, Babes?" And then you blew in it to warm it up (which I guess does have a warming effect as well as a cooling one).

You realized these paci clips (that I had forgotten we owned) attach the same way as your suspenders and you put them on Sallie and said "Look! Sallie has on her church overalls!"

Since you love babies so much, I asked Cookie if I could get her Bitty Baby out for you to play with and told her that you would just play with her at Mickey and Minnie's. But she was so sweet and said you could bring her home and tote her around to places. I guess she thinks if I trust you with Sallie she could trust you with Bitty.

You also really enjoy mopping the floor, I learned. Your future wife is so lucky. Between this and your caretaker abilities and your charm, they're gonna be lining up!

I love the way you and Annie play. Awhile back, I came in y'alls room and you and Annie had about fifteen cups and a loaf of bread in there. The iPad was playing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and y'all were serving communion. You had put a black tutu around your neck to imitate the robe "Past Staner" wears and y'all had even put your baby dolls in the "nursery" in your closet. I'm glad most of our days allow for such fun pretend play!

Y'all also set up a play barber shop. It's a business that you go to on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and it's called "Graves's Cuts". You do know there's to be no real cutting involved but you asked if Miss Mandy could "train" you to cut hair.

We played Bean Boozle, this game with crazy flavors of jelly beans, recently. You picked out all the ones that could potentially be "canon" (canned) dog food because you thought that sounded good.

So about those hysterical things you've been saying:

Awhile back, I heard you discussing theft prevention with your sweet Sunday school teacher who carried your crafts across the parking lot because momma's only got two hands and you brought a billion action figures, a stuffed penguin, and Blueberry the harness animal from your wild Brooklyn days to church. You told her that "Granny did die. But she left her panties in the van. We hide our money under them. Then if someone breaks through the back window (BAM!) all they see is the panties".

Also, this conversation that went down between you and Papa was hysterical. One of my favorites yet.
You: "I drink your toothbrushes every morning."
Papa: "What do you mean?" (he was genuinely confused as to where this was going)?
You: "I go in the bathroom and suck you and mama's toothbrushes."

And this was a favorite between us, when I realized there was a very easy solution to all your bathtime woes.
Momma: "I can wash your hair with this but you'll smell like a baby."
You: "Um, that sounds amazing."
Momma: "Yeah, I totally agree with you on that."
So I have two kids that smell like Baby Magic. I'm glad you have absolutely no idea what is and isn't cool for five and a half year old boys. 

One day you were talking to us and you stopped mid sentence, pointed, and shouted "Look! Squirrel!" like those cartoon dogs. It was just the epitome of YOU.

We just adore you. You keep us laughing and keep our hearts soft!

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your little tractor pjs are a 4T. They were a present from DeeDee and you've been wearing them for years!