So, once again, it has been awhile.
I feel as if I start every blog update that way. Perhaps because I DO.
Updates, galore, are due.
Andrew started walking just a few days after his first birthday. He is still in that cute, almost-drunken-looking baby walk, but I was watching him tonight and realized that is melting away into a more experienced gait. It makes me at once incredibly proud, happy, and wistful to watch my final baby become less and less of a baby every day. He truly is growing up so fast; I blame Will and Emma. They show him new tricks every day, and all three of them are so darn proud to show us his new talents.
He can say just a few words, far less than his older siblings could at this stage, but still in a normal range. He also clearly understands pretty much everything we say to him. He can follow simple directions, "Please give me this", "Please put this toy away", "Go to your room so we can get dressed", etc. I feel as if he listens and follows directions far better than they did when they were his age. He STILL hasn't said Mama, but I wait (not so patiently).
He is still the world's most cuddly boy. I have called him my Velcro baby from day one and the nickname is still very appropriate. He gives real hugs and lays his head so tenderly against the person or animal he is loving on.
He eats like a little piggy, pretty much anything and everything. He still has a forbidden bottle of half milk/half formula at bedtime, but is using a sippy cup for everything else. He never was a binky baby, but he decided his blanket would be his comfort item of choice at about 11 months. He carries it everywhere with him and it is pretty darn cute.
She still wins the award for easiest child ever. I have even gotten to the point where I say it without wondering if I have jinxed myself. Seriously, it is a good thing that I have more than one child to keep me humble. If I only had Emma, I would be an obnoxious mom who thought that she had all of the answers. It is truly that Emma just makes parenting look easy. She is sweet, yet has a spirited side. She is smart, but not a know it all. She loves her family and is very attached to us, but is also independent. She loves school. She loves going to her Gramma's house. She loves playing with her friends. She does her chores with no argument (seriously, we rarely even have to remind her, she just does them).
If I had any worry about Emma, it is that she is SO good that she sometimes gets a bit lost in the shuffle between her two needy brothers. But I am aware of this potential pitfall and make sure we spend time together. Tomorrow morning, I am taking her to my hair stylist for her first ever hair cut (sniff, sniff). Her hair isn't even really that long, but it is curly and a bit wild, so I am hoping for some styling tips and a bit of shaping.
She loves anything animal. . . cats are a favorite. She loves stuffed animals ("stuffies") that she can snuggle with. She likes to play vet and doctor her animals. She went through a major Batman phase this fall and early winter. We bought her a pair of Bat PJs (complete with Velcro-on cape) and she would wear no other jammies for about two months. Seriously, we had to buy a back up pair, and one pair wore out at the seams, so we had to buy a third pair. At one point, I was looking back over my FB photo stream and realized that she was wearing a pair of Bat Jammies in each and every picture.
She is over the Bat obsession now, though she still likes the jammies every now and then. She also likes me to lay down with her at night while she falls asleep. It is one of my favorite times of the day.
Last night, I was laying down with Em before bed and rubbing her back. I said, "Goodnight my precious Emma." She whispered back, "Goodnight my precious Mommy." Heart. Melted.
Little Man. Not so little any more. He is five and in pre-K. He will start kindergarten next year. He is SUCH a big boy now. I can hardly recognize him some days.
He is an amazing big brother. He LOVES Andrew and I am pretty sure he would take a bullet for him. He has, in fact, stepped in the line of fire on several occasions to stop another kiddo from hitting or throwing something at "his" baby.
I was talking to my MIL today and mentioned that probably my favorite quality he has is that he doesn't seem to get jealous of other people's fortunes. For example, we got Emma the coolest bed EVER off of craigslist for a steal. He was so purely excited for her. This is not to say that he wouldn't have wanted the same bed for himself (this is a cool bed, people), but he never acted jealous or upset. He just helped M put it together for her and then played happily with her in it. If a friend has a new toy, he will act very excited for them, but never pouts or asks for the toy for himself. It is a neat (and rare) trait.
He is also completely selfless at times to the point where it amazes me. Last week, we were driving down to my parents house three hours away for Christmas. We stopped for ice cream after the three hour drive turned into a four hour drive and we weren't there yet. I gave the kiddos the choice of a milkshake or hot fudge sundae. Will picked sundae and Emma picked milkshake. Well. When Will's sundae came, it was a thing of beauty, complete with mounds of whipped cream and a cherry. Emma's shake, while perfectly fine, paled in comparison. She sadly sipped at her dessert while he joyfully ate a couple of bites, clearly loving his delectable treat. And then. . . he slid the sundae across the table to his sister and said, "You can have it Emma." He didn't mean that she could have just a bite. Nope. He gave her the entire thing. They ended up sharing it (and bonus! I got the milkshake), because it was huge, but he would have let her have it if she had wanted all of it. I couldn't contain my pride.
I survived the three weeks away for training (it was ROUGH to put it mildly) and have been settling into my new job. I love my boss and teammates and the company is a good fit for me. Changing jobs was difficult, but it was only after I was gone that I truly realized how toxic my former position had become for me. It is way too much drama to go into here, and it's over anyway, but let's just say it was time for me to move on and I was very fortunate that I found an even better situation to move to.
Not only is my professional life settling down nicely, but our home life is doing much better, too. Things kind of got off the rails there for awhile, as we had to let our first nanny, Mary Poppins go in June. It was another thing that I won't bore you with because there was a LOT leading up to it and it wasn't a decision that we made lightly. She had truly been a wonderful nanny for us at first, but three kids was more than she had bargained for, especially a newborn. She also had some personal problems and basically had a nervous breakdown. We wanted to (and tried to be) supportive, but when she came to work drunk, we had to fire her. Fortunately, we were able to part ways surprisingly amicably (I think she was relieved, honestly). We then had another nanny start, and it was a disaster. She only worked for us for five weeks and then we had to let her go. It was rough as the kids really liked her (she was a lot of fun, with craft projects every day, but she had a problem with showing up for work on time. . . or at all and lied to us about a few major things so it was a no-go). As any mom knows, when you don't have reliable childcare, it isn't an exaggeration to say it is a crisis. We had to do some serious juggling for a few weeks to find ways to make it all work and I almost had my own nervous breakdown, but we made it through.
Fortunately, we now have our current nanny. She has been with us since the end of August and is amazing. The kiddos love her. She is the oldest of eight kids, so she takes our family's craziness in stride. I don't think that I have ever seen her ruffled. She is very sweet and affectionate with them and genuinely seems to love and care about them. They love her and run to her every morning with hugs and kisses and are sad to see her go in the evening. Even Andrew, who is going through a mommy phase right now, goes easily to her and is very content. Most mornings when I leave for work, they are so happy and content they barely notice I am leaving. It is so wonderful knowing they are in good hands while I am away. She had some time off at Christmas and they talked about her a lot and were glad when she was back. As a bonus, she keeps our house immaculate and does extra projects around the house "just because". I came home today and she had cleaned the refrigerator. I mean CLEANED it. She had taken the shelving and drawers out, scrubbed it down inside and out, then reorganized everything. It looks brand new. This, by the way, is by no means anything that we expect of her. Her responsibilities are the kids, period. That includes cleaning up after making them meals and such, and directing them to clean up their rooms and play areas to teach them to be responsible and clean up after themselves. But we have a biweekly cleaning service to handle the major cleaning and I make it a point to never leave a sink full of dishes for her or any big messes (and I am proud to say that I manage this most days). But she likes to clean and takes pride in "making my life easier". I don't know how I would live without her. I just pray she never leaves.
I had the delight and honor of throwing Rebecca's baby shower in October. I outdid myself. I'm not even kidding. I had two people who attended the shower contact me later to ask if I was a professional party planner and would I do a party for them (possible dream job down the line)? I put so much love and attention into everything, I even amazed myself and can't be humble about the results. I wanted it to be perfect, after everything she had been through, and. . . it was. There wasn't one thing that I would do differently, except to do it all again. It was so much fun to be part of it all.
She did amazingly well through the end of her pregnancy, only needing bed rest at the very end. She was in labor for 36 hours and had to push for two, but at long, long last, Rebecca gave birth to her daughter on her due date - December 8, 2013. She was 7 lbs., 8 oz, and I got to see her the day she was born. I am in love with this child. She is beautiful, sweet, perfect, and HEALTHY. They have been settling it at home, and beyond the usual struggles of adjusting to life with a newborn, things have gone very smoothly. She had a bit of a rough start, but breastfeeding is going well now, and she is feeling pretty good. Of course, she is in love with her baby girl, and it is wonderful to see her so at peace after everything she endured to get here.
Wow, that was a lot. I think I covered the major things. Oh, on the second day of my three week work trip, our Nanny was doing laundry upstairs. When she came downstairs with the kiddos, they played in the playroom for a bit, and then she came into the living room. . . where a flood of water greeted her. The washer had leaked, through the hall and ceiling, downstairs into our living room. What a disaster. Thank goodness for homeowner's insurance. It was thousands of dollars and weeks of work to get it all taken care of. So, in a public service announcement, I wanted to let you know about these water sensor things that you can buy for not very much money, to put in areas where a leak might be a concern (laundry rooms, bathroom sinks, etc.). They work very well. We put them in and then a week ago, our upstairs toilet started leaking. The alarm worked perfectly and we were able to stop the leak while it was just a puddle in the bathroom. Money VERY well spent.
So, there you have it. Life update in a nutshell.
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