Friday, May 30, 2014

Five on Friday: Newborn Haze Edition

Helloooooo, all! I thought I'd pop in for a quick Five on Friday since it's been several weeks since I linked up for one, thanks to all the newborn craziness in these parts. I will say that I hope to get back to some sort of regular blogging soon. I feel all disorganized and discombobulated as far as documenting the comings and goings of our little family, which is what is most important to me when it comes to blogging. Hopefully, as our sweet newborn continues (fingers crossed!) to give us longer stretches of sleep, I won't be going to bed at 9pm every night and can maybe find some regular time to write again. Or maybe not. I guess time will tell...


Anywho. Off we go!

[ONE]
My littlest guy officially turned one month old last Sunday. How in the world did that happen?!? He had his one month well check earlier this week and looks perfectly healthy, praise the Lord! He weighed in at 10 pounds, 1.5 ounces and was 21.5 inches tall. This means he's gained over 2 pounds and and 1/2 inch since his birth! What a milk machine! :) Although we've been battling some mean ol' gas pains, he just melts our hearts day in and day out. Happy One Month, sweet Harrison! 


[TWO]
We traveled out of town last weekend for my stepsister's wedding, the last of my five siblings to tie the knot. The weekend was filled with lots of celebratory fun, from the bridesmaid luncheon and rehearsal dinner to the actual wedding itself. Raleigh and I even snuck out, along with my Momma, sisters, and niece, for a girls-only pedicure! We had family travel from near and far, and the weather was absolutely perfect for the outdoor, lake-side affair. Banks rocked in his third gig as a ring bearer, and both he and Raleigh danced the night away as the band played on. Meanwhile, Harrison enjoyed a more relaxing evening at my parents house with his Nana and Pop (my "in laws"), who were so kind and gracious to come up for the day/night to take care of our littlest Lu. All in all, our first traveling weekend as a family of 5 was a smashing success!



[THREE]
We got back in town from our weekend away just in time to celebrate Memorial Day (I'm a poet and didn't even know it. Remember that ha-larious line from childhood?). We are lucky to live in a neighborhood that has an AWESOME pool, which serves as the backdrop for three fun neighborhood parties throughout the summer, the first of which being to kick off the summer on Memorial Day. There's food and (adult) bevs available for the party-goers as well as lots of fun pool games for patrons of all ages (including soda dives for the youngest participants and beer dives for the adults). We headed to the pool mid-morning on Monday and met up with a big group of our closest neighborhood friends and began an afternoon of eating, drinking, swimming, and socializing. It was a blast! 


[FOUR]
My hub and I have been going back and forth, back and forth, about cutting Banks' hair. I strongly opposed the cut--I LOVE my little buddy's Bieber-esque hair!--but my hub was dying to buzz Banks' hair for the summer. He argued that it would be much cooler for the hot summer temps (True.), easier to manage (True. Banks has the thickest head of hair I have EVER seen on a child), and he would look adorable no matter the hairstyle (True.). So. When Banks agreed with his Daddy and begged to have his hair buzzed, how could I say no? I'm not going to lie: My hormonal self was a hot mess before, during, and after the cut. He instantly aged YEARS, and my Momma heart is just not ready for that. But. Both my hub and Banks absolutely love it. And while I miss his long locks, I'm happy that they are happy. And that's what's important, right? Well, that and the fact that it was a one-time buzz only. :) 


[FIVE]
Later today, Banks and Raleigh will be headed out of town for a grandparent weekend with my "in laws" while my hub and I stay home with our littlest kiddo. I know Banks and Raleigh are excited, not only to see their Nana and Pop but also to go to to their cousins' birthday party. I know Nana and Pop are excited to soak up time with our oldest two. But. I am already a little sad they'll be gone this weekend. While it will certainly be much quieter and less chaotic with only one little fella to hang with, I miss them already! Still, I have always said that I think it is SO important for little ones to spend time away from their parents every so often. It's why my hub and I make it a point to go on out of town trips with each other, and with our own friends, several times each year (well, that, and it's good for our own sanity and social life!). So. I'm sure this will be a really fun weekend for all, for several good reasons. Regardless, I'll be so happy to see them on Sunday!

And with that, I wish you the happiest of weekends. Enjoy!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Us

I really, really love to write. I always have. It's why I never minded writing multiple long, complex, comprehensive, neuropsychological reports every week in my career as a pediatric neuropsychologist. Each report was like a new assignment in creative writing. So. When I became a stay-at-home momma, one of the reasons I was excited to start this blog was because it allowed me the opportunity to re-visit my love of writing, albeit in a less neuroanatomical and more autobiographical way. 

Anywho.

Fast forward to now, when we are one month into life as a family of five. Life is overflowing with love and laughs and frustration and tears and joy and fatigue and blessings and transitions. Life is short on time and time and more time. So. My blog takes a back seat and I put my love on writing on hold for awhile. 

But. 

As I've said, I still want to document this chapter as best I can while not sacrificing the time I spend focusing on what matters most to me during this, the most special and precious time of my life. So. Here I sit, while all three of my babies sleep, and my hub works, and I can manage to hold my eyelids open for a few (free) moments before drifting off to sleep. 

There is so much I want to say and share and show about what our days look like right now. About the moments I am treasuring and the struggles I am having. About what I love most about my life right now and what I do not. 

Instead, though, I will share a photographic essay, if you will, of why my time is being spent elsewhere these days. 

It's because of...

...him...



...and her...


...and them...









...and US.










And I think those are pretty good excuses. Back soon...


P.S. All photographs by my incredible friend, Volree, of Volree Wade Photography. 


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekend Ramblings

Whelp, things are going as expected over here in the land of the newborn + preschooler + toddler. Things continue to be crazy and busy and chaotic, as expected, but also chock full of amazing sibling moments, as hoped for. 

That being said, a few ramblings from my non-stop, ever-running, multi-tasking mind: 

Banks had his last teeball game of the 2014 season over the weekend. I can't believe that! I feel like the season just started. To say he and his teammates showed progress from the start to end of the season is a total understatement. Sure, they still threw the ball to home instead of first sometimes and watched hard-hit balls sail between their legs sometimes, but every child on the team no longer ran after every ball that was hit and they ran the right way to first base and some (ahem, Banks, among others) managed to NAIL the ball when at bat most times. All in all, a very successful season for our little buddy. Next year...so long, teeball, hello coaches pitch!

Banks and his best buddy, Cooper

I'd like to give a quick shout out to Harris Teeter for their amazing online shopping, allowing  me to place my grocery order online, schedule the pick-up time, and then have the groceries paid for and loaded while I sit in the car with my 3-week-old, 2-year-old, and 4-year-old. This not only allows me to save what is left of my sanity but also to protect the littlest Lu from germs. Win-win! Thank you, Harris Teeter. Thank you. TOTALLY worth the $5 charge. 

I thought I'd share the name we planned to use had Baby Lu turned out to be a girl instead of our sweet Harrison Robert [side note: how in the world did I ever think I was having a girl? Of COURSE Baby Lu was a boy!]. Anywho, had Baby Lu been a girl, her name would have been Hattie Ann, with the name Hattie being a sweet Southern name my hub and I both love and Ann being the middle name of my Momma and one of my sisters. But alas. No Hattie. No Ann. Instead, this sweet little fella:


We finished up our newborn/family photo shoot this weekend with one of my closest Fort Mill friends, who just so happens to be an amazing photographer (Volree Wade Photography). I cannot WAIT to see how the photos turned out! She also just so happens to be pregnant with her third baby (her first little girl! yippee!), and I am so excited to being co-hosting a shower for her one weekend in June and then co-hosting a shower for my youngest sister the following weekend. Babies, babies everywhere, and I LOVE it!

Speaking of babies...one teensy, tiny, itsy, bitsy bit of info I have yet to share here. Oh nothing. Just that: MY OTHER SISTER IS HAVING A BABY!!!! After several losses and questions and prayers and hopes and dreams and prayers and tears and why's and prayers and wishes and crossed fingers and prayers...MY SISTER IS PREGNANT!!! This means that ALL FOUR of my biological siblings and I will welcome babies in 2014. This also means that, for eight amazing weeks, I got to be pregnant with BOTH of my sisters, a lifelong dream come true. All this to say: God is good. Hallelujah! Thank you, sweet Jesus. 



With my sisters, the night before Harrison was born

More exciting news: My step-sister is getting married this weekend! I am so excited for her and all the excitement this weekend will bring. Not only has she never been happier (she actually seems to float when around her fiancĂ©), but we'll be surrounded by family and friends, from near and far, all weekend as we celebrate their nuptials. While my older son (ahhh!! I have two sons!) will be serving as the ring bearer at the wedding, my younger son (ahhh!! I have two sons!) will be skipping the wedding and soaking up time with his Nana, my mother "in law", at my parents' home. It should be a fun weekend for all, one full of love and celebration. And Fireball. Let's not forget the Fireball. ;)

As expected, one of the things that I struggle to adjust to as we continue our transition into a family of five is not having as much one-on-one time as I am used to with my sweet Raleigh Jane. I remember I experienced the same feelings with Banks after Raleigh was born (and thus, my solo time with him was decreased): that even though the newly promoted older sibling could be sitting right in front of me, I missed him and our only time together. It's the same with my Rals. I miss her. Luckily, we have an awesome daddy who has been sub-ing in for me when much of my time is spent nursing Harrison. And while there's nothing like a Momma and her girl, I'd say Daddy, especially this Daddy, is a pretty close second: 


Things are getting back to (our new) normal around here, with the last of our family help ending mid-week, last week. This will be my first solo week with my three babies, with my hub heading out of town a couple different days this week. Prayers for smooth sailing appreciated. They may be small and adorable. But. I am out-numbered. By three. Ha!


Devious plotting? I hope not...

And just like that, nap time is over, which means blog time is over, which means my ramblings are over. Until next time...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

An Update On Our Party of 5

Why, hello! I think I'm due for a little update on the lives and times in our world right now. So. Here's the latest on our party of 5:

Banks will finish school next week, concluding his year in the 3-year-old class with a sweet music program. We'll then head to Columbia for my stepsister's wedding, where he'll three-peat as a ring bearer. Woot! Despite the big changes in our home recently, it's incredibly important to me to maintain a sense of normalcy for Banks and Raleigh; so, you can imagine how touched I've been having kind-hearted friends take my buddy to classmate birthday parties and play dates in my absence. We also continue to soak in the sun with lots of fun outside play time together (with our baby sleeping away on the porch), as it is just as important to me to get one-on-one time with each of my three babies, every single day. Banks is a phenomenal big brother, and Harrison truly loves to hear his big brother's voice--a sense of calm totally sweeps over him and it is the sweetest thing. I am so very proud of my buddy! 







It comes as no surprise that my nurturing Raleigh Jane is such a little momma who loves holding "that baby" (aka Harrison) as well as taking good care of her own baby dolls. She continues to be a smart little cookie who loves reading, singing country songs, and coloring ("Moooooom!!! I'm not a cookie!" she says, giggling away). While she struggles with her "listening ears" at times, we finally found her "currency": time outs weren't working, removing favorite things (shoes! Babies!) weren't working, taking away privileges wasn't working. In short, negative consequences weren't working at all to curb her disobedient behaviors. Nope--this is a child, we now know, who responds much better to positive reinforcement, hence the ginormous bag of Rasinettes now kept on the counter, with a single chocolate-raisin-piece-'o-deliciousness now given each time a "good choice" is made. It has made a huge difference for our Rals. Score! I work harder for chocolate, too, so I totally get it. ;) Raleigh continues to rock curly-cue pigtails like nobody's business and has been known to randomly and sporadically say things like, "You're the most special mom in the whole world." Heart.Melted. I love my only girl! 






My precious Harrison is just the perfect addition to our family. His angelic face, his calm demeanor (unless he feels cold when getting his diaper changed--in which case...look out!), his sweet personality, his little newborn grunts. Well, it all just fills my heart with such joy. He has been nursing beautifully-I am SO proud of him!-and he was already back over birth weight when we went back for his second well-check last week. And then, in just 6 days, he gained 12 ounces, doubling our goal of 1 ounce per day! Go Harrison! He really is a pretty happy little guy who loves listening to country music, being snuggled by his momma and daddy, being held by his big sister, and being spoken to by his big brother. He is definitely a much-adored little boy! I was initially worried he was going to have the same blocked tear duct issue Raleigh had when it became blocked for a few days, but with lots of eye massage, it seems to have become unclogged already. Praise the Lord! Yes, this little boy has stolen our hearts, and we just cannot imagine our lives without him in it.






My hub continues to be my rock. He is always ready with a big hug when I am sappy and sentimental. Case in point: He wiped my non-stop tears away, and then poured me a margarita ;), when my mom left after her week-long stay last week. My hub and I view parenting as a partnership, and as such, my hub takes the first "shift" of the night with Harrison, taking responsibility for all pumped bottle feedings, diaper changes, swaddling, snuggling, etc. from 9pm until 2am-ish each night, at which point I take over; thus, ensuring each of us a good 5 hours of sleep each night. I don't know how I would do this parenting thing without him, not to mention the fact that he is an incredible daddy to our Banks and Raleigh. He has been busy with his new job, too. He's really enjoying it and his new company, and I couldn't be more proud of his ever-present hard-working attitude and work ethic. He was also able to travel to Bald Head Island one week after our baby boy was born to stand alongside his great friend who was tying the knot with an amazing woman and friend. AND we were able to sneak out for a perfect, post-baby date night last week when my momma was in town. So. Things have been busy, but good, for my hub these days. :) 





As for me, I am loving life as a momma of three. Sure things are more chaotic and busy and tiring, and it requires multi-multi-tasking pretty much all day, every day, but I fully, 100% recognize what a very special time this is in my life, having a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a newborn baby while about to celebrate 10 years of a strong marriage with the love of my life. I have cried several times over the last couple weeks because I simply feel blessed because of the family and the life we are building, and I am aware of how quickly this very special time will fly by. 




We have been blessed to have so many kind and thoughtful friends and family members help us as we adjust to our new normal. From having over a month's worth of scheduled meal deliveries to receiving surprise gifts on our doorstep. BLESSED AND THANKFUL. From having grandparents who drop everything to watch our two oldest while we were in the hospital, including covering all meals, taking on teeball responsibilities, washing clothes and dishes, straightening the house, and making sure my babies felt loved, safe, and well-cared for, to having my own momma stay for a week and cook every meal, wash and fold every piece of laundry, drive around a surgery-recovering momma, take on night feedings, and, most importantly, play, play, play with my littles. BLESSED AND THANKFUL. From receiving morning Starbucks deliveries and visits for newborn snuggles to having homemade strawberry pie and jam and ice cream dropped off "just because." BLESSED AND THANKFUL. From having two sisters rearrange their own lives to stay for three nights when my own hub has to travel out of town to having an amazing, loving, supportive hub who works hard at his job all day and then dives into daddyhood the minute the work day is done. BLESSED AND THANKFUL. 

And I truly am thankful beyond words for every single bit of it. My hub and I have said repeatedly over the last couple of weeks what a kind and thoughtful community of friends we have been blessed enough to find since moving back to South Carolina last year. We truly believe our "village" of family and friends are the reason we have had such a smooth transition. Don't get me wrong--things are crazy and chaotic and busy and stressful and exhauating a lot of the time--but our village has certainly helped us manage it all as we adjust. And we love and appreciate each and every one of them. 

Again, I readily recognize what an amazingly special time this is in my life, which is exactly why there will be fewer blog posts from me over the next few months (for the record, this loooong post was written while my hub took Banks and Raleigh to teeball and Harrison was napping in my arms). I love using this space as a place to journal about the comings and goings in our life and document what is happening in our world as a family, and in mine as a momma, but if there is a ever a choice between writing or spending time with my loves, there is no question of what will win out every time. So. While I will certainly make it a point to continue to blog and use this space as an online scrapbook and diary, it will not be with near the frequency it has been in months past. That's not to say I won't be writing here regularly. I will. I am just focusing on quality over quantity, both in life and in blogging. 

And that's where we are today, just 2.5 weeks after welcoming our Harrison to the world. Who knows what tomorrow will hold for our party of 5. Although every day is new and different for us right now, I wouldn't change a single thing. And that's a great place to be. :) 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

There's The Momma

There's the Momma...

...Who single-handedly and unexpectedly raised four children when tragedy struck, who lives to make others happy, who has shown me my entire life what it means to be a momma and love with your whole heart, who gives me confidence when mine is shaky and reassures me when I have doubts. 


...Whose family I was lucky enough to marry into, who I consider not only an incredible grandparent to my children but a close and well-loved friend, whose love knows no limit when it comes to family and who knows what is truly important in life. 


...Who fought with all her might to bring another child into this world so that her daughter would come to know the endless bounds of a sibling's love, who supports others even when her own world is crashing around her, who exemplifies what it means to cherish each day with the little ones with whom we are gifted. 


...Who glows with the promise of impending motherhood, who loves her nieces and nephews like her own, who is the truest example of brains and beauty, who will undoubtedly prove to be the best kind of mother to her daughter, a true blessing from God.



...Who jumped into new motherhood with both feet, blanketed by the unmatched adoration only a momma knows for her baby, who supports those around her and embodies a selflessness that is exceedingly rare these days, whose loyalty and devotion to family and friends are things of beauty.


...Who works incredibly hard as a work-at-home momma to help provide for her family and show her children what it means to pursue your dreams, despite the many sleepless nights and sacrifices it may entail, who is as kind and thoughtful as she is creative, who loves her babies like only a momma can.


...Who is as patient and kind-hearted as they come, proving that mommas can be both made of steel and full of grace, who is always present and ready to support her children's dreams, spending her time supporting their pursuits but also demonstrating the importance of maintaining one's own social interests.



Happy Mother's Day to my favorite Mommas.