Sunday, March 29, 2015

Other people raising my children / It takes a village / I am extremely spoiled

I am almost embarrassed by how spoiled I am. It's the truth.

We had a full week of visitors helping us with the girls. It was really wonderful for them to have so much attention. Then, Aunt Manda and Noni had a GENIUS plan: take the girls away from me so I could possibly sleep and not become insane. 

Lily begs me practically every day to go to Aunt Manda and Uncle Zack's without me. They live 6 hours away, so trying to get here there and get her home is quite the logistical issue. So, it hasn't worked out in...years? Well, Zack and Amanda were leaving Saturday, and Melissa was going to Bham Tuesday morning for Anderson's eye appt, so it really worked out perfectly. Mom happily volunteered to get Reese from Amanda on their way through Knoxville, and then Mom and Pops would get them back to me. HEAVEN for everyone involved, especially me. I love them, and I hesitated for about .2 seconds for Lily to miss school. But, it was really too perfect of a plan for me to fight. 

PLUS, Hughes' schedule changed while I was in the hospital, and he had to work a week of Night Float, starting Saturday night. He hasn't had any time off since Levi- he even worked while I was in the hospital- and this would mean he was leaving for meetings/work from 3pm-7am all week. He would come home and nap and then go back. His work group is really wonderful, and they are so fair. It was just bad timing with how the schedule fell. Levi was born during Spring Break for a lot of people, so several other docs were out of town. So, I would basically be completely alone in the parenting duties for the entire week. With the one week old. I was not ready to take on this challenge quite yet. And, I am not even supposed to be lifting anything over ten pounds (Levi's head size= several stitches...overshare?), so I really didn't need to try and deal with Reese anyway. AND, I really had a bad cold that was preventing me from sleeping during the 13 minute spans that Levi would allow me.

Of course, all of that justification is to relieve me of my mom guilt and inadequacy at being able to actually handle my three children alone, yet. I like to put off actually parenting 3 kids for as long as possible. 

I am grateful it worked out perfectly!

As the pictures reveal, both of the girls were also really grateful. Nobody missed me, I am sure of that. 

Aunt Manda, introducing Lily to places she didn't even know existed.

Reese and Max love each other so much. Cousins are the best. 

Lily is such a believer.

They made a tie-dye cake.

I just realized right now that Mom made a photo collage! Good job, Mom! 

The Mister over there with his stitches. 

She even got to see Kyler home from college!

Big Cousin Noah.

Just another day in Paradise. 

Of course she talked them into DQ.

Her happiest place on Earth.

I love that she still wants to ride carousels. 

My nephews are such troopers. 

I cannot even make this up. Maybe it is the hormones, but I sort of want to cry right now thinking about how lucky we all are. 

Some giant stuffed animal you can ride around the Mall? When your kid is with Aunt Manda and Uncle Zack, OF COURSE you get a text picture of her on a giant stuffed robot animal that she is riding around the mall. 

At a lacrosse game. This reminded me of old times when we lived there!

I love my family!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

levi at home- the first week.

Levi is ten days old today!*

*I am scheduling this to post later, though*

So far, this has been an easier transition than with the girls (not "easy"- but definitely easiER) I would never have imagined how calm and...happy!...I could be with a newborn. I know fussiness doesn't even start technically until 2 weeks, so I am trying to just take it one day at a time. But, for now, we are in a good place! This recovery has been fantastic, especially compared to Reese's, so that is a HUGE reason for my feeling mostly sane. It's funny that she was the smallest (7.5), but she was  my worst recovery. I had post labor contractions about 20 hours a day for the 2 weeks after I had her. Shudder. 

But, this birth was amazing, and despite his huge head I feel great. Well, great to have just had a baby. I did get a terrible cold the day we brought him home...which became sinusitis. So, the sneezing and coughing was not ideal for a body that just went through labor. But, again, it was wonderful compared to the previous ones. 

We are surviving!

Of course, we have had quite the village helping take care of us! Our family and friends are generous and thoughtful and selfless and we could never do this without all of the help, support, and love. Never. We are so very fortunate.

We brought Levi home on Sunday, and Lily had a really fun birthday party that day. It was for one of our best friends, and I was so nervous that she would have to miss. She had a plan and a back-up and a back-up for how she would get there if we weren't home, yet. 

It was Monster High themed, and Meredith had an awesome face painter! So funny. 

Also, I like that this picture is the top one of "Levi at home." haha. But, I am trying to stay in chronological order. 

Noni and Bop stayed until Sunday evening to help cuddle with this baby and cook for us. 

Lily wanted a picture of the three of them.

Reese when she woke up the next morning. She ZOOMED for my bed, panting "Baby Lebi!" and holding out her hands expectantly. I love, love her excitement over getting to hold him.

The biggest sister loves this boy, too. 

MeeMaw and Granddaddy arrived exactly as Noni and Bop were leaving, because we are the most spoiled people, ever.

Granddaddy and his grandson.

With the third baby, the baby is really not even the problem. It's the other kids who take all of our energy. So, I basically pushed Reese onto anyone who would take her. 

Aunt Manda gave him this precious gown! It's my favorite. 

Per usual, MeeMaw brought all kinds of surprises and crafts for the girls. 

And SO MANY precious goodies for Levi. Burp cloths, nursing covers, a beautiful quilt, is all gorgeous. MeeMaw is so talented. 

On Monday, Lily had to come home early from school because she sprained her ankle. *sigh* She was a trooper, though, and she got to enjoy extra time with the baby brother and her grandparents. 

Uncle Zack and Aunt Manda came Thursday night, after MeeMaw and Granddaddy left. (For real, we are spoiled). Everyone is happier when Zack and Amanda are around. Zack immediately jumped in and helped with the Legos. Legos terrify me- why do they remind me so much of Math?

Aunt Manda snatched up Levi and snuggled him. 

Amanda is definitely a bonus sister instead of a sister-in-law.

Girl talk while crafting a quilt. 

Reese really loves Uncle Zack. If she couldn't find him, she would say, "Go see uncle zack? uncle zack? are you?"

Reese calls Levi "Baby Lebi." She has not been jealous or upset at all so far. There have been so many visitors doting on her, and he is still so sleepy that it hasn't been real life, yet, though. 

I have no idea what was going on, but my brother is really the best uncle, ever. 

The nephews had school, so they couldn't come. I can't wait for Levi to get older and realize how lucky he is to have so many older boy cousins! 

Reese LOVES this baby. Time will tell if that adoration continues. She wakes up and immediately asks, "Baby Lebi? Go see Baby Lebi?" One night, we were eating dinner and he started crying. I was carrying him back to the table, and she was sitting in her high chair. She held out her hands and said, "Baby Lebi crying? I hold the baby?" Like I was just going to hand him to her so I could finish eating. 

I found this in Lily's room in a tiny notebook:

Dad. O (October) 20
Lily. M (March) 30. 
Reese. F. 18
Mom. A (She just learned this week that August starts with A and not O). 18.
Levi. M. 13

I love her. 

Aunt Manda brought everyone bunny ears.

She and Lily went to see the Cinderella movie!!! Nothing makes my heart happier than to know my kids are getting to do the things that are the most special to them. I am so grateful for the love that our families have showered all over our big kids.

One week old!! 

Lily made him a blanket (and accidentally ruined her new bedroom rug with Sharpies).

Reese has been climbing in this vibrating seat from Aunt Manda for the last few weeks, and she still loves it. I keep finding tiny beads and sequins in the bottom. I think she is hoarding treasure in it. 

This was when he was 4 days old, so these are actually a little out of order. 

First St. Patrick's Day! 4 days old. Chubby cheeks. 

I do not want to jinx this...
He will take a pacifier about 50% of the time. It is not a guarantee, and sometimes it pisses him off so much that it's not worth the effort. BUT, he shows more interest than either of the girls. So, I am going to stick with it and really try to force it. When he does take it, it is MAGICAL.

Reese found the stash and threw a huge tantrum to get this one. She wanted to go to sleep with it, but she had her chance to take a paci. Too late, Baby Sister. 

Melissa sent me this so I could laugh when the "Bad Feeling" (that's what we call the hormones) set in. Again, even the hormones are better the third time around!

Agh. I am already a little sad that I will never have a 3 day old, again. 

Such a good big sister!

Oh, Mr. Levi. He is really a very good newborn so far. This is probably mostly because I have sort of figured out what to do with a newborn by this point. Sort-of. We are at Day 10 right now as I type this post. He is pretty sleepy, but he isn't just going to sleep anywhere. I have to GET him to sleep. But, it usually just requires swaddle, sometimes the pacifier if he will take it, and a little walking. Very easy. During the day, he is usually pretty good about Eat, Awake, Sleep. He is a super champ, fast eater, just like the girls. He is usually completely finished in 12-20 minutes. He will be awake for anywhere up to an hour and then take a 30min to hour nap. We have successfully been out to eat and to Target with him SLEEPING.  The baby asleep in the carseat. It feels like winning the lottery!

BUT, at night, he does not love sleeping as much. He is still REALLY good. He doesn't just scream all of the time. He really only screams if he is hungry or if I am changing his diaper. OR, if it is nighttime and I try to set him down anywhere. Then, it's like he is being murdered. During the day, he is pretty good about sleeping on the Boppy Lounger or in the swing or his bassinet/bouncy thing. But, he won't sleep in them at night! He will definitely not sleep just IN the pack n play. So, every night, he has ended up in our bed or on the reclining part of the couch with me. I know he isn't hungry, because he can go 3 hours at night if he is sleeping curled up against my armpit in SIDS position. I have so much anxiety about him sleeping with me. I LOVE it, of course. I love waking up and seeing this little tiny, warm, curled up ball of preciousness.  He is literally IN my armpit every time I wake up, though, and this is clearly dangerous. I have to stop letting him come into the bed! But, I am so tired at night, and he is so cuddly, and he just wants to be next to his Mama. So, he keeps ending up there. *sigh* 

This is normal, right? Are newborns supposed to like their cribs? I know Reese slept in the swing or with me for the first 3 months. I have blacked out all of Lily's first year, basically. But, I think this is normal?

We haven't had any night where he just screamed all night, but this is 100% because I just bring him into the bed. He is very consolable if he is next to me, which is wonderful. My goal for the next few nights is to continue trying to make sure he knows night versus day. Then, I am going to make him start sleeping somewhere else. 

How can I say no to this face?

Those cheeks are my favorite. 

At the doctor's office. Haha. 

At his 4 day checkup:
*8 pounds, 12 ounces (75%)
*21 inches (90%)- this will change, I am sure
*Head= 95% (#iblamehughes)

Reese wants to hold him all of the time. "I hold Baby Lebi?" And she is very quick to alert us when he is crying. 

Texts from Lily's teacher. 

These pictures are out of order. I'm too tired to change it.
I love that within minutes of being here, they took over taking care of my kids. 

Amanda brought Levi a million gifts (monogrammed gown, duffel bag, toys, clothes, etc...) AND she brought me freezer meals!!! She made me dinners and lugged them here in a cooler. There is no better gift in my life than food. I definitely teared up when I saw them. 

I am going to have to really watch to make sure Reese doesn't try to share her tiny things with Levi. 

Getting accessorized with Aunt Manda. 

Serious conversations with Uncle Zack.

Lily had to make a book for school where she sounded out all of the words on her own and made the book without anyone's help. Hers was called "The New Baby." I am so grateful for this girl and her heart. She put "Happy" on one of the pages. 

He really looks like Hughes.

My three kids!!!

He is asleep 3 feet from me, and I want to run and grab him and kiss his cheeks right now. 

I will refrain, though, because I will immediately regret it. The cheeks aren't going anywhere. The kisses can wait. 

I can only do sponge baths for now, but he sure is cuddly in his towel!

Hopefully the next post isn't titled: "Levi never stops crying." or "Someone please come take all three of these children away from me."

One day at a time. 
We are really loving having this little boy with us!

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