Babies in the Garden {p,h,f,r}

Leila Lawler is suggesting showing shots of our gardens-in-progress for today’s link-up, and so that’s what I’m gonna do! I also feel that I need to capture the garden in its as-yet still untouched growing glory– I know the deer are watching and waiting to devour and ruin our work. They’ve lobbed off at least 5 beautiful little bush bean tops, but some of them have bravely started re-growing. And then my dad lent us some super-smelly anti-deer spray, and (fingers crossed) it is working (so far).

Let’s start with the front bed, right below our dining room windows:

What you see is a TON of lettuce, that we originally planted WAY long ago (I think like early March!) as a cold-weather crop. It survived the randomly super cold spring, and we have much more lettuce than we can eat at this point. The empty spot at the end is where we planted our butterfly/bird flower garden (a mix that will hopefully attract lovely things like hummingbirds, finches, butterflies, etc.). There’s a dahlia at the end that our neighbor gave us, but those buds never seem to want to actually bloom into flowers. Maybe it gets too much sun??  Then an absurdly tall stalk of cilantro that requires assiduous pruning since it keeps wanting to bolt and seed. But at least we have fresh cilantro this year!! We also got two pink hydrangeas from Aldi’s for $10 each, which was a steal, and one of these days we (meaning Tom) will have a few seconds to dig up the clay-ey soil right in front of the bed, and plant those and mulch around it. So far, they’ve seemed pretty happy  in their pots though, and have bloomed considerably since we bought them.

Next, the raised beds:

 

Oh look, a TON of weeds, 3 squash (of the 8, I think, Tom planted) and then 3 volunteer tomatoes! Hooray for volunteers! We will put actual tomato seedlings in the empty (well, except for all the dang weeds) space in the back, and maybe some heat-tolerant spinach underneath, shaded by the tomatoes. We’ll see.

The next bed has bush beans, 2 rows of them, and you can see in the close-up that they will be multi-colored, some purple, some green, which will be really fun! Then a bunch of carrots, which may or may not survive being consistently pulled up by Lucy before they’re ready.

IMG_0438

The last little bed is just cucumbers, and hopefully, they don’t get demolished by deer like last time. (Also, what the weeds! We reallyyyyy need to weed. And we really do not have time! All that rain has made our lawn/weeds/invasive crazy vines just take over our yard and gardens).

And of course, we’re still growing these:

(I can’t believe how much Maeve has started resembling Tom of late. Is that not his face, right there, in miniature (and on a girl baby?))

I tried setting up the sprinkler for the girls last week when it was blazing hot and thought that this year they’d both finally be into it (Lucy was a little timid last year, while Lena put her face right in it and loved it). Surprisingly, Lena was TERRIFIED of the spray of water and screamed, “IT’S WET!!!” in the most surprised, injured tones every time the water touched her.

IMG_0420

Preparing for the sprinkler to pass over…

IMG_0421

…andddd reaction. Lucy smartly turns head away, while Lena screams right through it.

So, I guess we’ll have to dig out the kiddie pool.

Hopefully, I will be back soon with something other than pictures and captions. This week has been particularly cuh-razy as Tom is both wrapping up his school year/grades/summer camp prep AND starting grad school that is over an hour away, four days a week. The kids haven’t seen him very much this week, nor have I really, but next week he should be home more in the mornings and early afternoons, and (please, dear God!) I’m hoping Maeve will start napping better (or at all, really) during the day too. Feel free to send up any prayers you want to for us during the late afternoon or early evening witching hour/dinner/bedtime…doing it solo with all three is no joke! However, I really can’t complain, as military and medical residents’ wives have it so much harder. Teach me your ways, brave women! (Seriously. Leave me advice if you are one!).

Hope you have a wonderful, non-humid weekend!

 

Cute and Not-So-Cute Toddler Antics {p,h,f,r}

My mom pretty much supplies any of the matching clothing the girls wear and it’s always fun to dress them in those outfits. But it’s pretty difficult to actually get a decent shot of them together with Lucy not screaming, “CHEESE!!!” and causing Lena to look in her direction…so here’s what we got:

IMG_0389

 

Lucy loves saying, “We need to take a picher of this!” whenever she is doing something she thinks is cute. Holding her baby dolls was one such occasion.

 

Well, I’m stealing this from Instagram, but I mean, it’s too good. This is what happens when you’re nursing the baby and the toddlers are on the other side of the car, where they know you can’t see them, and where the ever-tempting garden beds lie. “We’re pouring dirt on each other’s heads!!!” they called with glee. Let’s just say the showers we had to give them afterward were not well-received.

IMG_0398

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter! 

Maeve Cecilia: 3 months

I’m not doing so hot with Maeve’s virtual baby book, but I am determined to get something down, before all the little things she does become distant, forgotten artifacts in my mushy mom-brain.

So, maybe just a wee bit of catch-up on her milestones (AKA the things only a mom could possibly ever want or need to record and remember, solely so she can compare/contrast all her babies’ milestones…):

Lifted her head up from lying down: 2/3 weeks (fuzzy already, see?! Should have written it down before!)

Rolled from tummy to back: 4 weeks! Earliest one so far!

Started scooching backward: right around 8 weeks. And I mean, she can scooch! She pretty much has near-suicide attempts during every diaper change as she blasts herself backward towards the edge of the table.  She also can now turn herself about 180º on a flat surface just from scooting with her heels.

Grabbed/batted at hanging toys: 2.5 months. She’s really into her play gym these days and will concentrate on grabbing the toys and rings for a pretty good chunk of time.

At 3 months, Maeve…

Loves to watch the family as we do anything and everything around her. She basically cannot nurse when anyone else is in the room because she has major FOMO.

Is the smiliest baby! If you merely catch her eye she breaks into a huge, wide-mouth grin and will often gurgle with joy at being noticed (third-child syndrome?)

Is extremely talkative! She loves to coo, gurgle, and basically chat with anyone who will give her attention. So cute.

Loves getting changed, probably because it combines two of her favorite pastimes: scooching backward and smiling/talking to someone.

Does not nap very well (FOMO, see above).

Is about to grow out of all her 3-month clothing and size 2 diapers.

IMG_0353

Constantly in motion…

IMG_0348

She got sprayed with milk but slept right through it!

IMG_0394

We love you, little smiley face!

RIP, Paci

1

In what has turned out to be the soggiest, dreariest spring in my memory, we’ve had nearly 16 days of straight rain so far. This has come in conjunction with a never-ending Cold Virus from Hell, which reminded me why mothers of little ones should never, ever, ever get sick. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. It’s also coincided with Lucy’s spontaneous giving up of her paci, one random night three weeks ago. She’d been really mad because her teeth made little lacerations in the paci and she could “hear a sound” (the air whistling through it), and after a few days of tantruming about it, she just looked at and said, “Maybe I just don’t need to use a paci anymore!” And that was that. Talk about cold turkey.

2014-10-24 10.53.17

In memory of Paci, here’s a little trip down memory lane…

Unintentional paci-selfies

Unintentional paci-selfies

Pro tip: always keep one in your mouth and another close by, juuuust in case

Pro tip: always keep one in your mouth and another close by, juuuust in case

Ohhh, fancy focus there, Luce

IMG_0242

2

As glorious a milestone as that is, it has meant (as I predicted to myself) that her sleeping has gone way, way south. Like perhaps as far as Hell, south. We find ourselves back at Square One of Sleep Training (which took us a year the first time!), and she has either screamed, cried, or whined herself to sleep most nights, after being forced back into bed multiple times. Also, no more naps. I have no idea how she can wake up at 6:15 AM, not actually fall asleep until about 7:30 or even 8 on terrible nights, and not nap all day. Is this even normal? Ugh. And she absolutely refuses to even do “quiet time” (it very quickly turns into screech-like-a-banshee time, forcing my hand to let her out of her room so she doesn’t end up waking up her sisters). We may have to move Lena to the Pack-n-Play in the other room for night time as well as naps, because Lucy loves nothing more than to entertain/terrorize Lena when they’re supposed to be going to sleep at night. If anyone has any advice/insight we’d love to hear it! It’s killing me.

3

I don’t have anything profound to say since my brain’s been pretty mushy over the last week or so. I’m just praying that the sun and warm weather returns sometime SOON (especially because I’d already switched out most of our wardrobe, and have been digging back into the boxes waiting to go into storage), and that one of these days I can wake up feeling normal-ish and not go through an entire tissue box throughout the day.

Enough of the boring/depressing/mundane details of our glamorous life. Onto some better content…

4

We really enjoyed this post from a father of 13 on how they’ve been able to save money and plan for retirement despite the financial burden of a big family. It’s fascinating and flies in the face of what society tells us is possible, financially speaking.

5

This is probably one of the best articles on baby sleep I’ve read to date. I found myself nodding along to so much of what she was saying. I only wish that I had read this when it came out, right before Maeve was born…I can already tell I’ve created some sleep crutches for Maeve and they’re really hard to break! But in an ideal world, this is how I’d do it.

6

And here’s a really great article that Tom wrote for a Catholic men’s blog about how he reorganized his schedule with a time-tracking app. I will admit that I teased him at first for timing and recording every little thing he did all day but it gave him some great insights and was well worth it.

7

That’s all I’ve got, as Lucy has literally JUST started her daily afternoon scream-time AND WOKEN UP LENA. (Deep breaths, deeeeeeeep breaths…..)

Check out more quick takes at Kelly’s

The Birth of Maeve Cecilia

 

The Birth of Maeve Cecilia | For Want of WonderI think this may be my briefest birth story yet. Lucy’s was certainly short (shockingly so, for a firstborn), and then Magdalena’s dragged on and on. “Number 3 is a curve-ball!” was what I heard from everyone, and it was. Oh was it, ever.

My due date was February 16th. I had had no real signs of labor up until this day despite feeling so done for several weeks. I had a midwife and chiropractor appointment and everything looked fine. I guess after Lena I just resigned myself to no more early births, and so, this time, I was a lot less anxious to get the baby out. Also, let’s talk about how much easier babies are inside the womb than out. Exactly.

The next weekend rolled around and both Tom and I were just really hoping the baby would come before the start of another week. I was definitely nervous about the possibility of going into labor while he was at work and having to coordinate getting the girls taken care of and all that. Saturday afternoon was really mild, so we went on a nice, uphill walk around our neighborhood, scored some curbside furniture, and observed in passing that there was a full moon.

I woke around 1:30 in the morning on Sunday with what I could finally call a real contraction. It hurt. So that was exciting. I timed contractions on and off for about 3 hours and then fell back asleep for probably another 2 hours. Both girls woke up super early, around 6, and I got them up because I figured we needed to get things together and get going anyway. The contractions were coming regularly, but still at about 9-10 minutes apart and manageable. For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to eat three eggs “for protein” and…yeah. Never doing that again in labor.

I took a shower while Tom got the girls ready, and we had everything packed and loaded by about 8 when we left for my parents to drop off the girls. Right as we were leaving I called the midwife to let her know I was in labor and that contractions were now about 7-8 minutes apart. She said I probably was worried that this labor would go fast like Lucy, but that it could still take awhile, so she told me to just call her when we got to my parents.

We got there around 8:25 and the girls were excited to be at their favorite place on earth. We switched cars with my parents, leaving them ours with the girls’ car seats. I went upstairs to labor for a bit, thinking I had some time to relax. Afer just a few contractions up there, I realized they were both more intense and suddenly WAY closer together, like 3 minutes max. It was as if, now that the girls were taken care of, my body was all, “It’s GO TIME!!!” and tripled its efforts, in a matter of minutes. We called the midwife and updated her, and she said it would take her an hour to get there from DC, and asked if she had time to shower and eat, or if she should just leave now. I SHOULD have told her, “LEAVE NOW!” because in the back of my mind I knew we didn’t have much time, but in the front of my mind I guess I wanted to appear calm and collected and not freak myself out, so I was all, “Ohhh hahaha, yes, go take your shower and eat! I’ll be fine!” This was now about 8:48 and she said she’d meet us at the birth center at 10 am.

Literally minutes after hanging up with her, contractions started becoming pretty awful, about 2 min apart, and I was basically hanging onto Tom for dear life. I made him call the midwife back and he told her we were actually going to head to the birth center now so I wouldn’t have to be in the car in transition. Well, first of all, I think now I already was in transition (or at least the early stage of it), and secondly, the birth center was locked up because it was Sunday morning, so there wasn’t much waiting for me after the car ride. Again, should have screamed, “LEAVE NOW!” and at the same time just stayed put right where I was in one of my parents’ guest rooms.

But of course, a practically-in-transition laboring woman cannot be expected to think clearly. In fact, I kept wishing that someone else could make all these decisions for me. I hated being asked, “What do you think? What do you want to do?” I wanted to get the baby OUT, and nothing else. All the in-betweens were too stressful for me to dwell on, as the contractions were pretty all-consuming in and of themselves.

We got into my younger brother’s borrowed car and headed to the birth center, which is about 15 minutes from my parents. As I had expected, I was now in full-on transition, with contractions coming one on top of the other, while I was curled in the backseat of a little Toyota Corolla. It was just as miserable as it sounds and just as miserable as the last time I did it. I just kept telling myself that the drive was literally 1/4 as long as it had been with Lucy so I could do it.

Well, we pulled up to the birth center at 9:30 and of course no one was there. Tom asked if I wanted to walk around, and I got out of the car, but my ill-fated breakfast came back to haunt me when I stood up. I was adamant about throwing up in a bag and not directly on the pavement (dignity, people!). Sadly, the bag turned out to have a hole in the bottom and it all ended up there anyway, which I was upset about. I can only say that priorities become a little wacky while in transition.

At that point, I really couldn’t deny to myself any longer that it was time, and I really needed to push this baby out. Yes, we were in an abandoned parking lot, yes, the only place was the backseat of the car, and yes, we only had one ratty bath towel and a God-sent roll of paper towels in the trunk of the Corolla, but by golly, that baby was coming! Tom called the midwife to apprise her of this lovely turn of events, and we put her on speaker phone so she could interpret my various moans and screams (she was scarily accurate!). She also used her other phone to call one of the student midwives who lives a few minutes away from the birth center to come.

So we made do, I, infinitely grateful that the technology park was deserted on a Sunday morning, and Tom, super cool and calm. I mean really, not at all flustered. Don’t know how he managed that, but it was so necessary. I was, well, not the most calm, but that’s par for the course by the time I get to pushing anyway. At some point, probably about 4 or 5 pushes in, the student midwife got there. She didn’t have a key to the birth center, but it’s not like I could have moved anyway at that point. She came over, pulling on some gloves, and announced that the head was there! I think maybe Tom got into the front seat then so he could still talk to me, but I don’t really remember. There was the Ring of Fire, which somehow surprises me with its apt nomenclature every time, and then the head was out. The midwife told me to stop pushing, and said something about the cord. Then another couple pushes and she was out! Baby! In the backseat of my little brother’s car!

The midwife unwrapped the cord, which was wrapped around twice (and I’m really glad she got there and Tom didn’t have to deal with that), and handed the baby up to me as I sat up from hands and knees. I noticed right away that she had the same fuzzy red hair that Lucy had. I should also add here that while it was February 21st, it was unseasonably mild, and we had the car turned off, and obviously the doors were wide open, otherwise there wouldn’t have been any room for Tom and the midwife to stand. So right after the baby was out, the midwife had Tom turn on the car and crank the heat, since even 50-degree weather outdoors isn’t exactly ideal for a freshly born babe.

I think a few minutes later, maybe 5 or 6, the head midwife arrived, right on the heels of one of the birth center office staff, who also lives close and had keys to unlock the center. We got a wheelchair out to the car and a lot of blankets, and somehow I was able to crawl out of the backseat while holding Maeve, who by the way, was still attached to the umbilical cord. Once we got inside, things slowed down a bit. Thankfully! We got more dried off and got the baby’s vitals, and she started rooting around to nurse pretty much as soon as she was on my chest. She was a great little nurser right from the start. Placenta, cord cut, all that jazz. Then, the midwives (bless their hearts) brought us a huge breakfast of eggs (I did not touch those obviously), bacon, bagels, donuts, and fruit. They put the little fake fireplace on and then let us be alone to rest, eat, nurse, snuggle, watch Fr. Scalia’s funeral homily for his dad (so.good.), and generally recover from our car-birth experience. Everything was going great, so we were able to leave the birth center at 3:30 PM and head over to my parents’ so Maeve (in a newborn coma) could meet her big sisters. (Also, those midwives got the backseat of my bro’s car immaculate, and I’m pretty sure he drove his friends around in it the very next day. Not sure he notified them of its alternate use beforehand ;))

IMG_0234

Already a holy little gal

IMG_0227

2016-02-21_215523630_68209_iOS

So excited but so confused. THIS is Maeve? What about that big ol’ belly on Mommy?

2016-02-21_215600572_A3BD9_iOS

Papa and his 3 girls, one of whom isn’t into the precious moment

Obviously, Maeve’s swift, dramatic, entrance and rather unexpected place of birth weren’t what I was imagining in my ideal birth plan. I knew it could be fast (like Lucy) or it could drag on (like Lena’s), but I didn’t think it was going to progress so incredibly fast all of the sudden. Honestly, if Lucy hadn’t been born on a Thursday afternoon, she most likely would have been a car birth as well, since I was in the exact same stage of labor by the time we arrived at the birth center as I was with Maeve. But thankfully this situation happened with the third baby and not the first. I can’t imagine how horrified/terrified I would have been (not to mention my poor husband). As it was, we both knew pretty much exactly what to expect from a normal pushing and birth situation, and we did what we had to do. In hindsight, I immediately saw all the times I should have followed my gut more closely, and if I’d done so, probably could have avoided the car-birth. But all was well, and it was quite the experience. The sweet student midwife also told me a little while after the birth that in her native country (Venezuela), she was a practicing OB-GYN so she had delivered hundreds of babies, AND she said she had also delivered numerous car births! She said it was really common there as well as in Colombia where she worked for awhile. So that definitely helped ease my mind, not that I was really worried. But still, she was the perfect person to come catch my baby in a car!

And yes, I think I can safely say that out of necessity if nothing else, we will probably have home births in the future. If the backseat of a tiny four-door Corolla is big enough, then I think our house will do just fine.

At least we’re getting some good stories out of it!

I keep thinking how nice it would be to have a second or three to blog, because I want to talk about the books I’ve read recently, post about Maeve’s baptism and Easter and all that. BUT, I’ve got myself an 8 week old who is really starting to wake up to the world and needs a whole lot of soothing to get down for naps and sleep and gets ANGRY if I miss the window. [I had to go back and reread relevant parts of the baby sleep book and remind myself that at this age babies are just going to start fighting sleep and they can really only sustain themselves awake for two hours at the max. You’d think I would really have all this newborn stuff down by now, but nope.]

So instead, maybe I will just regale you with recent tales of life around here, such as the time where I unknowingly washed AND DRIED a peed-in diaper of Maeve’s, and was perplexed when the whole load came out covered in tiny white balls that clung to every surface. Then I found the culprit in the bottom of the dryer. Or how about the time when I thought it would be a good idea to resume potty training Lucy by putting her in undies and trying to have her sit on the potty randomly throughout the day (read: frantically set alarms and try to get her on there before an accident, while toting the poor newborn)? That was pretty dumb and now I’m once again waiting until … some unknown time in future when she’ll magically “be ready” as everyone keeps saying.

My favorite moment, though, has to be one last week that was the crowning glory on a string of particularly brutal days. The girls had just come in and were covered in a thick layer of sandbox sand. I was wearing a finally-sleeping Maeve in the Ergo. Lucy was in her undies and I had forgotten to have her sit on the potty in a while (probably because each potty-sit was completely fruitless). Lucy went into the bathroom to wash the sand off her hands while Lena bee-lined for the stairs. Lena tripped, and landed with the side of her face into the bottom stair. So of course, she started to scream, right into the baby’s face in my Ergo, who then answered back with screams of her own. About two seconds later, Lucy emerged from the bathroom and laughed nervously while looking very sheepishly at me. It soon became clear that her hand-washing had elicited the potty response, right as she stood on her stool in her undies and pants. So, holding a sobbing, injured toddler on my hip, with an angry baby in the Ergo, I led a wet toddler by the hand upstairs. Administered arnica to Lena (still screaming), cleaned up pee on the floor and got Lucy into dry clothes, and meanwhile tried not to let Maeve’s (still screaming) head dangle out the Ergo as I was bending over. It was all pretty hilarious really, and I somehow managed to realize that and laugh (a nervous, maniacal cackle, probs, but laughter nonetheless).

Three kids three and under is kicking my butt (if only that were considered valid exercise!). And yet, here I am living to tell (and mostly enjoy) the tales.

(But this pretty accurately sums up how I feel by about noon most days!)

Lucy is 3!

Somehow, it is already Lucy’s third birthday. Her crazy birth and her rather difficult first couple months of life seem way more recent than that. Yet here we are, with this talkative, imaginative little pixie, with bouncing red curls. Plus two more children.

zeroIMG_0556two

THREE (going on four, I guess-).jpg

Likes: books (especially obsessed, and I mean OBSESSED, with the Frog and Toad series), playing with her Playmobils and baby dolls, coloring and drawing (especially pictures of the family), play dough, going on “trips” and “adventures” (i.e. the grocery store, Target, library, Nana’s house…keepin’ those expectations low around here!), ANYTHING outdoors but especially her new sandbox, watching Daniel Tiger or Winnie the Pooh while Mommy attempts to shower, and last but very much not least, her paci (still. I know).

Dislikes: napping, cleaning up, trying to use the potty or even think about using the potty, attempting to dress herself, and being asked to leave her paci in her bed during the day.

Milestones: recites grace before meals and the prayer for the faithful departed, and would probably be able to recite large chunks of the prayers of the rosary in both English and Latin if pressed; sleeps in her big girl bed; can open all the doors (blegh); can put on boots and strap shoes (but somehow never when we’re in an actual rush to go somewhere…); washes her hands in the sink independently; can pour water from a pitcher into a glass cup and drink it (this is something I only let her do when I am not holding or distraced by the baby because it can quickly devolve into water play0; brushes her teeth quite well independently; puts the paci back in Maeve’s mouth (and only rarely takes it out of there!); draws faces with eyes and mouths and babies with little bodies …. there is probably more but since we’re missing the really awesome milestones of potty trained and independently dressing oneself, I will stop there.

Lucy had a great birthdway weekend with a little celebration at my parents, lots of gifts, balloons,  and a cake that she could hardly wait to have. On Sunday we went out to District Taco for a birthday dinner, and on her actual birthday she got to blow out candles again on cupcakes, and open some more gifts.

IMG_0294

I should’ve gotten 5 of these silly balloons!

IMG_0296

Opening the most perfect gift of stuffed Frog and Toad

IMG_0299

IMG_2599

Lots of cousins and a sister to help with the gifts!

IMG_2601

Almost a family snap

IMG_2617

Lena appropriates the gifts

IMG_2620

…and loves the doll that’s almost as big as she is

IMG_2638

Leo loved the balloon!

IMG_0303

Lucy is three!

IMG_0306IMG_0308

Happy Birthday, Lucy! We love you and can’t wait to see what THREE brings!