Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wrapping Things Up

We are wrapping things up here in Maryland. I remember so well a year ago when we arrived and had to find a babysitter after having only lived here a week. We needed to attend a banquet to say goodbye to the fellows finishing up their year and to welcome the new ones. Luckily we found one of the young women at church and continued to use her throughout our year here. I remember it was raining SO hard that evening, and I was nervous to leave the kids, especially in a crazy rain storm.

Here we are a year later, and now we are the ones leaving. The banquet was at Maggiano's again, and this time we had a baby in tow. Nate was so good about helping out with her while we were there. She behaved pretty well for the first half of it, and was naughty for the last half.

These are the fellows from this year. 

In some ways this is the "end" of Nate's training and schooling that has gone on for 12 years post high school. It has been hard. He has been very busy every one of those years. And yet life has been so so good every one of those years! And it's a good thing I have seen that we can be happy under those circumstances because I have a feeling his career will never be one that consists of 40 hour work weeks. Probably far from it. He has some big responsibilities and expectations awaiting him in San Antonio, but I know he will excel there. 

Jansen attended Cub scout day camp last week. He came home the first day and had NOTHING good to say about it. He even described it as "pure torture" at one point. I think he was hungry and tired. We convinced him (surprisingly) to keep going, and he had a great week, although he still didn't love it. He's such a funny kid. 

I was so worried about going through a pregnancy and delivery in Maryland. I was anxious about finding babysitters when I had appointments and wait times in the office and the driving, etc. All of those things ended up not being an issue and I had the best care I've had so far during pregnancy. Dr. Stephens was an incredible doctor, and he had a way of making me feel like he cared and was listening at every appointment. This was at Leah's 2 month check up. She is in the 97th percentile for weight! 

I am getting all our dentist appointments out of the way before we move. This was Emmy's first time, and the dentist said her teeth were "absolutely beautiful."

We went blueberry picking with friends last week and had a great time. Fresh blueberries are so delicious!

We had our family pictures taken last week. It is so painful to pick out clothes for everyone, get them ready, and convince them to smile, but we really wanted some family pictures in Maryland.

Saturday night we met up with the McCoys and Eric (friends from Nellis Family Med residency) at the National Arboretum. It was hot, but we had a lot of fun. We had dinner together at Olive Garden that night and I was reminded just how much I love breadsticks and pasta.

I will sure miss this beautiful temple! It is such a breathtaking sight from the freeway.

We blessed Leah this past Sunday. She was crying at the beginning, but then she was quiet for the rest of the blessing. Nate did a wonderful job.

Ever so slowly we are seeing improvements in Leah, but she is still really challenging us. We just keep taking it a day at a time. Nate often takes her on walks in the evening to calm her down and help her fall asleep. 

We are really busy tying up loose ends and preparing for the move. There are always so many things to do. We just keep trying to check things off our list and hopefully it all gets done before it's time to leave. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

4th of July

These three were soooo not happy about coming in the backyard and snapping a few pictures on the 4th of July. I mean, like, you'd think I'd asked them to gnaw their own arms off. We got a few that will have to do. If I'm going to go so far as to buy the girls 4th of July flip flops, gosh dang it we are going to take pictures.

Emmy was particularly ornery. :)

I love Jansen's hand on Leah's head and one holding her hand. See that little bit of hair that's longer than the rest at Jansen's forehead? It's just kind of how his hair sometimes lays if it's not brushed a little, but I don't like it and for some reason he feels very strongly about that little bit of longer looking hair. He does NOT want me to fix it. Our funny little compromise is that I get to snip one little bit of it every day. But I only get one snip. I'm slowly chipping away at it. 

I don't think Nate ever imagined he'd have three little girls. 

We had a very laid back but very fun holiday. Nate's cousin Marcie and her family came over and we had a little BBQ and watched the World Cup. Our families had never met, so it was great to get to know them. We wish we could have spent more time with them while we were in Maryland. Believe it or not, this is the best picture we could get of all us. I kind of like Jansen's finger in the photo (he was taking the picture). Gives it some personality, and makes him part of it! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finally Finished Another Post

Every day I think, "Oh I have to get on and do a quick blog post today. Today I will make sure I do it." But when you are very, very tired and always have a baby in your arms and your husband is studying for his boards, "today" just keeps becoming "tomorrow!"

Today has been Leah's best day to date. I just kept marveling as she laid there awake and content for awhile. We started giving her some probiotics about a week ago. There's just no way to know why she is improving (and just getting older surely plays a HUGE role), but we are going to continue the probiotic. We are far from "normal," but are seeing some glimmers of a happier, more content baby.

Last week was one of the longest of my entire life. Nate left on Sunday after church for some training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for about a week. I have been alone with the kids many times, even for a month at a time, but never with a demanding baby in the mix. My sweet visiting teacher came over one night and held Leah while I put the other kids to bed. It was exhausting to hold her ALL day, and then the evening would come and she would fuss for hours no matter what I did. After working for forever to get her to sleep, I would lay down in the recliner for the night with her. Sometimes I hadn't changed out of my clothes or washed my face or brushed my teeth before she fell asleep, and with Nate gone, I did not have the energy to try putting her in her bed and risk her waking up 20 minutes later and starting all over. I just couldn't do it. So some nights I would sleep with her all night in the chair in my clothes.When any of the other kids would wake up (which they did, and several times the first night) I would have to carefully bring Leah with me to help Emmy go to bathroom or something and pray that she wouldn't wake up because if she did it would be an hour or two before she'd go back to sleep. In addition, on several of the nights I had to work with her for an hour and a half or so around 3 am to get her back to sleep after waking up after a feeding or something. I had a headache almost every afternoon from being so tired. One night I went to change Leah and realized she was wearing TWO dirty diapers. I guess I never took one off when I had last changed her. Just fastened it right back on over the new one! I must have been in quite the fog.

I think from the outside most people probably think a lot of this rigmarole with Leah is crazy. Holding her all day. Things like that. I will just say, unless you have been there, you just don't know what it's like. You do whatever you need to do to stay sane.

I don't know what I would do without this wrap. It's supposed to let me have my hands free, but of course Leah likes to hang her head like so. She doesn't like her head inside, so I just get one free arm. Oh well, it's better than none.

I took this picture because it's a snapshot of life right now. One thing I do when Leah is fussing is turn on this faucet and do elevator movements at the same time. It's one of the more effective ways to calm her down.

We all love this little monkey no matter how hard she can be. The kids often fight over who gets to hold her.

Enough with the fussy baby business...Jansen made an obstacle course down in the basement last week.

The missionaries stopped by and the kids played a little soccer out front with them. Most days I feel like it's too hot and humid for Leah outside, so I'm glad they had this chance to get out and play since we haven't been going to the park.

Here's Nate and Rich at Camp LeJeune. I'm so thankful for Rich who offered to take care of some things for Nate on Friday so that Nate could come home Thursday night. Boy were we glad to see him.  

Jansen HATES when Leah wears anything but a onesie. It's really funny. He begged me to take her out of this outfit and he hated the little dress she wore on Sunday. He just thinks she looks funny in "real" clothes I guess. 

Natalie has a little bit of trickster in her. She told me she saw the mailman come and to go check the mail. I found this note inside: "Dear Jessica, Nate is going to a military thing. It is from this Thursday to Monday. I hope you are okay with out him. Have fun!!" What a weirdo.

Jansen is really afraid of thunderstorms. He actually doesn't even like the sound of rain, and any sort of dark clouds make him nervous. We have been working on these fears, and there are good days and bad days. He had a great day a couple days ago and was using some strategies we had talked about to deal with his anxiety/fear of the rain and decided to face it head on and go outside and catch some rain in his mouth. It's so wonderful to see him take control of situations that are difficult for him.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Weeks of Summer

I'm blogging from my phone again. It's the only way I'm going to ever have a moment to do it, and it's a great thing to get done while I hold a sleeping baby. 

Leah is 5 weeks old now. We are adjusting to a new "normal," which means figuring out how to run a house and take care of a family with one hand. Leah still won't sleep much at all if she's not in our arms. I keep trying. We've tried the bouncer, 2 swings, her little inclined bassinet, and princess beds like this:
But you just can't recreate a heartbeat, breathing, warm arms, and that feeling of someone holding you. 

Jansen wrote a funny blog post about life with his new little sister (jansensblog.blogspot.com). He and Natalie and Emmy are still so good to her and with her. They have completely exceeded my expectations this summer as well with keeping themselves busy. It's like they are at prime ages for pretend play and they do it for hours. I am very lucky in that respect since I'm always holding Leah or feeding her.

My mom came for a visit and to say we miss her is a huge understatement. Having her here was just what we all needed. Our biggest outing was to the dollar store, but we still had so much fun.

I'm starting to get sad about leaving Maryland. The other night we watched the deer and fireflies from our front window, and all the memories we've made this past year played in my mind. It's been such a wonderful (and busy and hard) 12 months, and I feel so lucky to have been able to live here. We did so many neat things and met so many great people. This moving around a lot thing is NOT how I envisioned my life 10 years ago, but I've loved it.

Nate took a quick trip to San Antonio and found us a house. We are excited for all the new memories we will make there and all the visitors! (hint, hint)

Oh how this girl drains me physically and emotionally but I love her soooooo much. Her smell, her sounds, her bright eyes.

And most recently, her smile! After she flashed this one at me this morning, I knew that no matter what happened today, this smile would carry me through.

Jansen has been REALLY into paper airplanes lately. He follows lots of tutorials, but also makes some really impressive ones up by himself. I find paper airplanes all over the house. 

He is reading the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites books right now. He also loves to play soccer on the deck. Yes, the deck, not the grassy backyard. He has also been enjoying watching the World Cup. 

Natalie loves Leah. She is constantly asking to "see" Leah while I'm holding her and loves to talk to her. Natalie is reading Little House on the Prairie which just makes me so happy. 

Emmy likes to pretend she is Leah sometimes. The last thing I need is babies who want to be swaddled and held. :) At night when I put her to bed she often likes to be called Baby May (she still insists from time to time that that's Leah's name). Emmy also has been cracking us up with funny words she mixes up and silly things that come out of her mouth. This morning it was, "Jesus wouldn't love me as much if I was a monkey." Lately she says "first of all" when she means "at first...".