Sunday, August 31, 2008

Magic or super powers?

Within a few hours of finding out I was pregnant this third time around I did the math in my head. Ellie would only be just over a year old when our new baby was due. I think "panic" would be the appropriate description of my feelings for the next 9 months (well, really only 7 months since I didn't find out until later). I knew having three kids ages 3, 1, and 0 could be done. I also knew I wouldn't be super woman for achieving it either. In fact, there are plenty of people out there with 2 or even one child who have more of a challenge in their lives due to disabilities or whatever life has doled out to them. However, I was under no delusion that it would be easy either. In an effort to make me more confident, a friend of mine put together a top 10 list for me of reasons this would be fun. Number 8 was "You can buy a triple stroller...tres chic!" and right above that was "You will be thought of as amazing by women everywhere". And, in fact, I have had a few comments while shopping. I don't think "amazing" was on their minds...maybe pity. People will usually look at me and then say "Wow, you have your hands full", but every once in awhile someone will ask "Are they all yours?" This most recently happened at Target. I wanted to respond "Nope! I found this one in aisle 3 and thought he was too cute to just leave there!" Instead I just accepted credit for them all.

This past Thursday Rob and his dad left for Washington D.C. They are coming back very late tonight (update: delayed flight...not coming home until Monday!) that left me with these three wonders for 4 nights. Thankfully, I wasn't left to fend for myself. Thursday night it didn't take me long to retreat to my parents house for the promise of Chinese food and the unspoken promise of them willingly holding the baby and entertaining the other two for a few hours. On Friday, Patti came up to help out. And she was a wonderful help. We had a good system for getting through the night with Riley and during the day Austin and Ellie did their best to wear us down. Yesterday evening we went on an errand to re-stock the milk supply and during the drive we speculated on how on Earth she did it. I am referring to Patti. She has 5 children, 4 of them very close in age. Which led us to further examine other women, like Patti's mom, Helen. Helen raised 7 children. We finally settled on the idea that it was different in their day and in some areas easier. Although I was very hesitant to use the word "easy" and "7 children" in the same sentence. But, back then you didn't run many errands, and if you did, you certainly didn't buckle everyone into their appointed car seats. You could also turn them loose outside without worrying about where they were, who they were with, and if they left your yard. It was just expected they'd come home for meals. And at this point Patti added "With the rest of the neighborhood in tow" which confirmed something I already knew...Helen is a far better cook than me as I doubt the neighborhood will ever come running when I tell Austin to come home for dinner. But, I digress. Things were different. I won't say easy, but definitely different.

This weekend I tried to take some cues from the people who seem to have boundless patience with my own kids. I like to think that the fact they are grandchildren had something to do with it. I'm not sure what is so magic about the word "grandchildren" and hopefully someday I'll find out, but magic is definitely what it is. When I was ready to return Austin to aisle 3, Patti just laughed off his antics for the 100th time. Grandparents are the ones with super human powers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An impromtu performance

Today Austin dazzled us with his musical talents. He played his rendition of "One Jump" from the soundtrack of Aladdin. Ellie added her own soundtrack in the background so you can't quite hear the performer (she was busy taking this opportunity to steal his cars and bang them together). His lyrics are:

Street Rat
I'm much faster
I'm much faster
One jump
Next Jump
All you can do is Juuuuummmmp!

Or at least it's something like that. I guess you can decide for yourselves. We'll work on the song, but his bow, as you can tell, needs no work. It's perfection.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My budding photographer

On Thursday, in an effort to get through the last half hour before nap time, I decided to play around with the camera a bit. We have a fairly decent camera that I received from Cargill a few years ago that I never learned how to use aside from the "auto" feature. My sister tried to teach me the basics and then I promptly forgot them within a few weeks.

I took a picture of Ellie.

I took a picture of Austin.

I learned nothing.
Then Austin said he wanted to take a picture so I taught him all I know (which amounted to where the big button is he should push). He's a natural.His artistic preference is to capture objects from different angles. Anyone can take a picture straight on.

He tired of inanimate objects and turned the focus to me an Ellie.

Ellie demanded royalties and was denied so she refused to look at the camera.

He then tried to give me a lesson on how to focus in on objects while blurring the background. My foot provided a nice image to practice on.

And finally, what artist doesn't enjoy self expression. Austin is a bit of a narcissist and enjoyed taking pictures of himself the most. He captured about 15 images of himself. All of them resemble the one below.

His artwork can be viewed on refrigerators everywhere.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Putting things into perspective

Since we brought Riley home Rob and I are convinced that Ellie has grown at least 3 inches and gained about 5 pounds. Overnight she just turned into a giant one year old. Of course we know it just feels that way because Riley is so small and you forget how tiny newborns are, but I'm also convinced that Ellie did have a bit of a growth spurt recently. I started to notice it before Riley was even born but just blew it off and figured it was just that I was 9 months pregnant and weaker and fatigued easier while lugging her around.

Now fast forward to yesterday. My friend Michelle came over with her son, Clyde (and lunch!). We took a comparison picture of Ellie and Clyde together on the floor.

Now let me say this: Clyde is only 4 months old. Ellie is 14 months old. She's only got him by about 3 pounds. I have nothing to complain about.
And to put it all into perspective, here is Riley on the same quilt.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The beat goes on...

I know, it's been awhile. But, I think I've had a fairly good excuse!

The circus continues at our house. This was my first week running the house solo (during the day). Actually, it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't awful either. Luckily, Riley is a pretty good baby (knock on wood, cross my fingers, and any other superstitious thing that will not change this claim). She sleeps pretty good and long. She eats (and holds it down...something new for us and quite enjoyable), and then she stays awake for about an hour before crying a little bit to let me know she is tired and ready for another nap. Oh, and of course there are the diapers. Lots of them. Ellie is on some antibiotics which has increased her output as well. Sometimes between the two of them I feel like that consumes my days.

But there is always something new going on and here's a few of the highlights:

He has become Mr. McQuestion. If we're in the car, he wants to know which direction we're going. If I say "Left" he is content. If I say "Right" he says "No, not right, which way?" as if "Right" is a confirmation and not a direction. If we are home, or anywhere for that matter, he most often asks his combo question "What's this? What does it do?" And when I answer both he proceeds to tell me I am wrong. It goes a bit like this:

A: What's this?
M: Your knee
A: What does it do?
M: It helps you walk.
A: Nope. Actually, it's where the Dr. puts bandaids.

She has been busy perfecting her little sister skills. This mostly involves finding any way she can to irritate her brother. She will often find his favorite toy of the hour, grab it, offer it to him, and when he reaches for it she yanks it back out of his reach and swats his hands away with her other hand while saying "No no no". She has only dabbled in the bigger sister skills a little bit. She likes to sit near Riley and say "Baby". However, she must sit as close as possible to Riley which is a slightly dangerous task (for Riley) because Grace is not Ellie's middle name. She's getting better.

Well, just about everything she does is new. Thanks to the miracle blanket she sleeps pretty well at night. We put her to bed around 11pm, and she wakes up around 3:30, and goes back to bed until 6:30 or so. Of course, not every night is perfect but MUCH better than the first week.

Rob and I:
We are finding new ways to get through the days with minimal sleep.

And, that's our family update. Pictures to come again someday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rub a dub dub...

Riley is only allowed sponge baths for awhile, but I couldn't resist taking a few pics of her in her hoodie towel. Who doesn't love a baby in a hoodie towel?

It was also bath day for Austin and Ellie. Twice. Not because they were extra dirty, but because it was so much fun the first time, Austin requested a second bath tonight. We have found that if we put them in the big bathtub there are less attacks on each other and more focus on just playing with the water. Austin likes to pretend he is the Little Mermaid and that Ellie is Sebastian. In true Austin fashion, I was assigned the ugliest character...Ursula the Sea Witch. This kid is giving me a complex. He makes up for it when we play Aladdin though...I am Jasmine then.

21 Days

My older and wiser brother (you can pay me later Dan) once told me it takes 21 days to break a habit. You just have to abstain from your habit for 21 days straight and POOF! Gone! So, you would think the reverse would be true. Shouldn't it take 21 days to also make a habit (bad or good)?

Riley is out to prove us all wrong. It seems in the 5 days she has been with us, she has decided that if it is past 7pm, she must be held or she is going to cry and scream. Now, I know that I wasn't holding her at night while I was in the hospital. I was trying to sleep on the army cot they were trying to pass off as a bed. Riley was suppose to be fast asleep in the nursery. And, she very well could have been, but I'm guessing if she was, it was in the arms of a cuddly nurse. The hospital was fairly empty this weekend and many times Riley was the only one in the nursery. That leads me to believe the night shift nurse (who was also very pregnant herself and maybe having a bit of a baby itch) might have spent some extra time snuggling with Riley.

The last few nights have definitely been a blur as Rob and I have tried to both get some decent sleep. Lately we've been working it like this:

I go to bed around 9:30 and Rob stays up with Riley until 12:30 or so. Whenever she is sound asleep enough to lay her down. From then on it's a crap shoot as to how long she will remain sleeping without someone's arms around her. Usually it only takes about 30 minutes tops before she realizes she is alone and starts wailing. I then go and get her and wait until it's time to eat and then I try to put her down again once she is good and sleepy. Then I head to bed at 4am or so and whenever she wakes up next is back to Rob. So, Rob and I are each getting about 4 hours of solid sleep each night. That's about 4 hours less than my body would like.

She sleeps like a champ during the day wherever we put her. Unfortunately Austin and Ellie do not. Speaking of the dynamic duo...Rob has just taken them to the park which leaves me with a sleeping baby and a quiet house. Good night. Check back in the next 21 days to see if we have been able to straighten Riley out!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A quick update

It's been a hectic few days that I'm sure are only going to get a bit more crazy in the upcoming weeks while we work out the kinks in our new schedules. Riley and I came home from the hospital on Monday morning. She left the hospital about 7 ounces lighter than when she was born but that's not from a shortage of eating. We're quite excited that, so far, Riley is not falling in the footsteps of her older siblings and is handling her food quite well. Knock on wood!
As I mentioned earlier, sleeping is also another one of her skills. However, she prefers (GREATLY!!!) to sleep while being held or laying on someone's chest. This made for a long night last night. Our first of many I'm sure.
But, onto the more important part of the!
The kids did come to visit a couple times and Austin is definitely interested in Riley, but he was more interested in the toys down the hall in the waiting room. He has already asked if we can go to the hospital today to play with the toys.
Both of the kids had "big brother/sister" shirts on that should fit them well into their teens! They were very cute and it was a fun surprise.
One of the rare shots of Riley with her eyes open.
Just arrived home! We always take a car seat shot and it's been kind of fun to compare the different kids and sizes...perhaps a future post.
Aside from truly blessed, this picture pretty much sums up how Rob and I are feeling.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

She's here!

I just wanted to get a quick post out there to announce that our beautiful daughter was born today. Or, as Austin would say, "Mommy picked out the new baby today." I wish it were that easy and just a matter of going to the store and picking the one you want. Actually, as far as the whole process goes, it wasn't too bad. Three pushes and she was welcomed to the world!

Riley Beatrice Runchey
7 lbs 10oz
20 inches

So far, she has mastered sleeping and has eaten a half ounce without any problems. She's also a good snuggler which makes me quite happy. And she smells delightful.

More later with pictures I hope!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

1.5 days left!

I'm officially on the schedule for Saturday. My doctor checked the schedule, and as she expected, the schedule is wide open on Saturday for me to be induced. So, provided the hospital doesn't get bombarded with women in labor on their own, I will be having this baby Saturday.

To be honest, I'm still slightly more nervous than excited, but I'm sure that will all change once the baby is here. It's just the idea of having 3 kids ages 3, 1, and 0 that has me a bit on edge. Especially after this morning. Ellie and Austin both push each others buttons....constantly. Ellie, she focuses on finding Austin's favorite toys that he has temporarily set down. If she can get to them before him she will grab it and taunt him with them. And, she is surprisingly strong! She has a firm grip when he tries to get it back. Austin tends to focus on "rough play" with Ellie. Already this morning I have caught him literally laying on her 3 times. He claims he is hugging her or that they are pretending to take naps, but somehow I don't buy it since Ellie is yelling "no no no" underneath him.

But, we'll figure that all out as we go. Back to the new one. How much do you think it will weigh? There's a new poll on the left. If you want some stats to help you guess:

Austin was 5 lbs 10 oz (2 weeks early)
Ellie was 8 lbs 10 oz (3 days late)
I'm measuring 38.5 weeks which was exactly right on at the time
I gained 40 lbs with each of the other two and only 27 this time

And, that's all I can think of that might help some of you guess.
We'll have some fun news on the blog this weekend! Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bald is Beautiful

I was just realizing (again) the little amount of hair my children have. Even Austin, at 3, is follicley-challenged. I think this was brought to my attention because today was haircut day for him. Even though he isn't a woolly mammoth by any means, he does need a trim from time to time. I was kind of enjoying the length of his hair on top because you could actually see it, and in return, you could NOT see his scalp. But, the sides were getting kind of scruffy. I toyed with the idea of just trimming the sides and leaving the top with some length, but if you have ever witnessed haircuts at our house, you would know that the less of these days there are in a year, the better.
The first haircut we ever gave Austin was videotaped. I think that video shall remain locked up in fear of Child Protective Services coming after us. It pretty much was Austin bawling and screaming while either myself or Rob held him firmly and the other cut his hair. From there we graduated to Austin sitting on Rob's lap, still crying, and Rob still using a pretty tight grip. Next was the bribe of a sucker (and don't think we didn't try bribes before either...they just weren't heard above his own screaming). This worked pretty well to control the tears and fear, but the sticky sucker was usually covered in stray hairs and that was gross. And, Rob still acted as the chair which meant both Austin and Rob were covered in hair.

I am happy to report that today was perfect. Austin sat in the chair by himself, he even wore the hair cape thingy, and his bribe....a vitamin. Yep, I offered him a sucker and he said "No, I want a blue scooby-snack!" A scooby snack in our house is a scooby-doo vitamin. So, with the promise of some B6 and Folic Acid, Austin sat nicely while I trimmed his hair...all of it. And, now he is back to looking slightly bald.

But, that's how we roll in this household. Besides, as Ellie showcases below, long luscious locks would just distract from her accessories.