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. :)