Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Girl

This girl...

This girl is growing up so fast.  So fast that I haven't given her the proper updates and documentation on this blog that she deserves.  She consumes my every hour of every day.  She is the center of our family.  And we love it.

She is the object of her daddy's sense of humor.

Ben has wanted to buy one of these "Redneck Binkies" since Chloe was a baby.  It was cute for a picture and would make a killer addition to a well planned Halloween costume, but I don't prefer her to use this binky much.  It is funny, for sure.  But she's my baby!  With the binky in, she looks like a circus clown. :)  I don't love the binky beyond a few minutes.

These pictures were taken way back in December, when she was not even 3 months old.  She was just starting to smile.

And boy was it sweet.

The big ones would really take full body effort.  

December was also when Miss O decided she wanted to be a BIG girl.  She preferred sitting up whenever she was awake.  Since she couldn't do this on her own, I'd have to prop her up on the couch. When lying in her swing or bouncy chair, she'd often lift her head up and hold it there.  She just wants to be big.

While I was out one night, Ben had her hold her own bottle.  I'm so glad she takes a bottle so that her Daddy (and the two real babysitters she's had) can take care of her while I'm at mutual or other meetings.  It has made life a little bit easier.  Now that she goes to bed early and we're on a pretty set schedule, her usage of the bottle has decreased significantly.  I realized yesterday that I hadn't given her a bottle in over a month!  I didn't know if she'd take one from me, since she's no dummy and knows that I make the good stuff, but I was worried that if I waited much longer she wouldn't take one anymore.  She took it and did great.  I could tell she was kind of confused for a minute, but then decided- hey, food is food.

This girl is the poopiest baby I have ever had!  She has pooped out more than any of her siblings- sometimes multiple times a day, multiple times a week.  As cute as she is, this knocks her down a few notches on the "Favorite Child" ladder.

In January, she started enjoying tummy time a lot more, now that she's decided being grown up is the way to go.  Put toys in front of her and lay her on her tummy and she's happy for a little while.

A friend lent me her Bumbo for Livy to try.  She is my first baby to ever use a Bumbo.  I thought it would help with her desire to always be upright.  She enjoys it for a limited amount of time.  That's the thing with infants- they only tolerate even the most joyful of activities for just a short time.

Naked Bumbo time was even better! (Don't worry, she's fully diapered).

The girl who was once stingy with her smiles is no more!  She will smile at just about anything and anyone and her siblings love trying to make her smile and laugh in any way possible.

We have reached the point in the past few months where bath time is fun, not a torture fest.  And for a girl who gets milk trapped in her neck that turns to its own form of rotten blue cheese, baths are a necessity!

We reached the sad day where my baby no longer liked the swing.  For the first 3.5 months, she'd nap in her swing for hours at a time.  Right after Christmas, she wouldn't nap in it, or only sleep for a few minutes, and didn't like being in it hardly ever.  Being done with the swing signifies that the newborn stage is over.

I held off pulling out the Exercauser until February- it's a fun toy, but it's so big!  And when the Exercauser comes out, the swing goes away.  I have a rule about not having too many big baby items out at one time.

The Exercauser is just like all of her other big toys- she loves it, for a bit.  Then she's done and needs a change.

Her first time in it, she got really serious about things.  There's no messing around when it comes to playing and learning.

The downside to the Exercuaser?  My 4 big kids love to flip and twist all the toys on it, making tons of noise.  There is a little plastic thing on it filled with tiny plastic balls.  The big kids spin that thing and it's like fireworks going off in the house.  Awesome.

This girl loves her toes.  She usually won't reach for them unless her socks are off.  She really likes to play with her piggies when her socks AND pants are off.  But who doesn't?

Remember how I said she likes to hold her head up off the ground?  Here's proof.  She does it all the time.

We had another cold snap at the beginning of February which prompted me to pull out the fuzzy bear suit.

She was only outside (in the garage) for like 10 minutes, but it made for a cute picture.

Mitchell was the original owner of this outfit.

January 2008- Mitch, 3 months

Look at that chubby little face!

Being a "big" girl also means she prefers to sit upright in her bouncy chair.

If she wasn't buckled in, she'd totally fall out frontwards.

During the cold snap we got a few inches of snow (that lasted 24 hours).  Livy didn't want to be left out of wearing Grandma Cynde's thermals.

She totally rocks them.  (And yes, she totally fell over after this little pose).

All 5 of them!  We love REI thermals! 

The 3 matching girls!  How many 4 year olds does it take to hold a baby??

Livers (as Lexi calls her, pronounced "Livaths" with her adorable lisp) has been able to balance sit for about 6 weeks now.  Just in the last 2 weeks or so has she gotten pretty good at it.  She still falls over all the time, but she can balance for much longer periods.  She does not like falling backwards- it totally scares her.  But we are heading into a whole new world with our grown up little baby.  With sitting and with her able to roll both ways and can get around a room, she is becoming MOBILE!  Just recently I've spotted her getting up on her knees while on her tummy.  Are you kidding me?

I started my Sleep Training Camp right after the new year.  Liv was doing on ok first stretch of sleep, but then waking up every few minutes for the rest of the night.  I felt like I'd been hit by a truck every morning when I got out of bed and knew I couldn't do another day.  She wasn't napping more than a few minutes at a time either.  It was brutal all the way around.  7 weeks later, things are going much better around here, sleep wise.  Miss O goes down for bed between 6-6:30 p.m. every night and can usually make it until at least 3:00 a.m. before she wants to eat.  If she wakes up before then, I make her cry it out and she'll fall back to sleep on her own.  She's done 10 hours straight a number of times and 11 hours once or twice.  After her nightly feeding, she'll usually go back to sleep anywhere from 6:00-7:30 a.m.  Her napping is going better.  She's not a very long napper at this point- usually an hour most of the time, but will occasionally pull out 1.5 hours and an occasional 2 hour nap.  With just hour naps, she can often take 4 naps in a day.  But she is a pro at putting herself to sleep.  I never lay her down asleep anymore- she's always awake but drowsy.  This has helped her put herself back to sleep easier in the night if she wakes up before feeding time.  Things aren't perfect but so much better.

This girl still loves her binky.  I love having infants that take binkies.  It's a great self soothing device and something easy to pop in when they get fussy. 

She loves grasping and sucking on toys.  She is almost to my favorite stage of infant-hood.  As soon as she can sit up completely independently and play really well with a handful of small toys (without being able to crawl or move around too far, too quickly), we'll be there.  We are close.

She has started to get a little bit of "stranger-danger."  Someone asked to hold her at church a few weeks ago.  They were sitting right in front of us.  Livy was totally happy when I passed her forward.  Within just a minute or two, she was screaming.  I don't know if it was because she could see me, but she was not having it.  As soon as she was back in my arms, she was completely happy again. 

Now that we're on a good sleeping schedule, church has become trickier.  She'll still fall asleep in her carseat if we are out and about for long periods of time, but it takes a little bit more effort to get her to sleep during church.  Luckily her dad has the magic touch.  Ben has always been so great at being able to get our babies to fall asleep away from home (once they've been sleep trained).  He has what I call the "Ben Hold."  He lays the baby down on their side, tucks their bottom arm under his arm and cradles them tightly to his chest.  He has to get up and walk around for a few minutes and then the baby is out. It's like magic.

She is getting lots of chub on her, but she is quite a bit smaller than my other two singleton babies (which may not be saying a lot because they were HUGE).  We just make big singleton babies, what can I say?

She has become quite the eater lately.  She's always been a big eater but here in the past few weeks has been wanting to eat every hour or two.  Maybe that's a signal that she's ready for solid foods, but I'm hoping to hold off until 6 months.

4 month pictures.  Oh how you've changed since your newborn shots.

Oh, this girl.  If love was a chubby, red headed baby... oh wait, it is.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Valentine's Day Weekend

Valentine's started early this year, as it always does, with a Valentine's packages from my parents for the kids. 

The first package was a Valentine book for everyone.

Leah wasted no time using her activity and color book.

The second package was a lot of good candy for everyone.  We love packages!

All 4 of the big kids had Valentines to take to school this year.  We had lots of prepping to get all of them done.  Chloe, for the first time, handmade all of her Valentines for her class.  I failed to get a picture of them, but she used some Valentine themed stencils that my mom sent and taped some candy cane Hershey kisses to the card.  They were very cute.

Mitch was very excited to write all of his classmates names on his Avenger Valentines.  It took quite awhile, but he got the job done and did a great job.

The twins were excited for their Starburst Valentines.  I wrote all of their classmates' names and the girls signed their own names.  

Leah was hilarious and mixed up the letters of her name.  Most of the time I think she knows the order, but both girls struggle with saving enough room to write their entire name without running out of space.

Leah, as short as her name is, had a really hard time with this.  It resulted in her name transforming to many different alternative names.

"Hale" was my favorite of all the variations.

At least she got all of the correct letters in there. Hleah could be pronounced "Hu-lee" and be kind of cute.

Leha could be "Lee-ha."  (Just think Yee-haw!)

I came down Valentine's morning to make the kids a hot breakfast.  I heard some scurrying and one of the kids yelled, "She's coming!"

The kids had made me breakfast.  It was so sweet.  They had made oatmeal, a raisin bagel, set out a peach greek yogurt, a glass of water, and the orange bowl had some candy hearts in it.

I made them heart shaped, pink pancakes.

For their lunches, I made their sandwiches heart shaped and packed them a few treats.  The kids make their own lunches 95% of the time, so just me making their lunches was a treat.

The girls had a friend over that morning.  I came down and found them playing Mario Kart together. 

Later, we met up with Ben for a lunch with my Valentine.  We found the BEST Chinese place-it's the best Chinese food I've ever had.  This orange peel chicken was amazing.

The card I digitally got for Ben (sent via text message). :)

These two pink ladies helped me make our traditional heart shaped sugar cookies.

I made a big one for everyone.

The big kids came home with LOTS of Valentines.  I was super impressed by all of the handmade Valentines they had that were really cute.

The twins had their Valentine party the day before at preschool and came home and made an equally big mess of all of their cards and treats.

Our traditional heart shaped pizza!

While out running errands, I got everyone a small, inexpensive gift- Seahawk stuff!  We still have the fever here.  Except Chloe- she got a wonder loom.  They are all the craze right now.  

Our best Valentine treat was having our cousins come up that night.  Ben's sister Megan and her family came for the long weekend.

Mitch is always glad for another boy in the house to play with.  He and Sam had lots of fun wrestling, watching movies and irritating the girls.

Saturday afternoon, we headed to the Pacific Science Center.  The 3 little girls fell asleep on the ride up.

We actually had all 6 girls in our car.  We love girls at our house!

The butterfly garden is one of our favorite things there.

The moms and the 10 kids in front of the Science Center.  The Space Needle is so cool at night.

I couldn't resist snapping pictures of the two sweet babies all weekend long.  Their big sisters are such good helpers with them.

These two sweet things are only 5 weeks apart- the closest Andros grand babies in age.

Aren't they sweet?

Twinner carseats!  These carseats were my twins' carseats.  After they outgrew them, I lent one of them to Ben's sisters.  Grant is the 4th baby to use that seat- talk about getting good use out of something.

This picture shows it a little- they are both redheads and I love it! Red and Redder, I call them.  Grant is Redder for sure.  Liv's new hair is coming in much lighter then her original dark red patch.

We had such a great weekend with the Williams family.  The kids had a blast just playing together all day long.  We were selfishly glad when the mountain pass closed down on Monday due to terribly snowy weather and they had to stay an extra day/night.  

After they left Tuesday morning, I found this sweet note on our whiteboard, written by Stella.

On Valentine's Day, our family all reminisced to last year on Valentine's Day:

That was when we told the kids that we were pregnant!

We are so glad that our sweet little Valentine is here with us this year.  We LOVE her!  (And I love not being pregnant and sick this year).