Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Tribute

Grandpa with his favorite furry friend,
I'm lucky...go ahead, be jealous.  :)  I have known this for a long time.  Things just always seem to work out in the end for me (my Dad always told me this and he's right).  Today I am reflecting on this luck.  I have been TRULY, madly, deeply blessed to have and to really KNOW all 4 of my grandparents from the day I was born until yesterday.  Yesterday my G'pa, my dad's dad, passed away. This is where my luck, this gift of 35 years on this Earth living and breathing day in and day out knowing that my beloved grandparents are all doing the same, has failed me.  I am totally unprepared for this.  I mean, I know that it all has to end someday, but I just haven't truly considered it to be a possibility.  I know it doesn't really make sense, but I like to live in my little naive hole of denial sometimes and then am blown away when my perfect little world is rocked a little bit.  So, to help me through this, I am going on a little trip down memory lane and partaking in a little writing "therapy."

My Dad's parents have always been referred to as G'ma and G'pa in writing, but mostly I just call them Grandma & Grandpa.  My kids refer to them as Gigi Ma and Gigi Pa.  Their homes, there have been 3 that I remember well over the years, have always been places of whimsy and magic.  The first home I remember was a stone home on a big treed lot...it must have been on the edge of their town because it felt like it was out in the country and I remember that there was a hog farm nearby that you could sometimes smell when outside. I so fondly remember snagging dozens of fireflies and rolling down the little slope in their yard on beautiful Kansas evenings.  I also remember plucking blackberries (I believe) from a tree on the side of their house and savoring the sweetness as Grandma cleaned the house and watered her beautiful plants and Grandpa worked.  Early on in their residence in this home during one of my stays with them, there was a torrential rainstorm.  One that revealed the poor condition of their roof as water began dripping from multiple places overhead.  My little toddler self waddled out from my sleeping place to find Grandma and Grandpa placing pots and pans to catch the streams and drips, as Grandpa grumbled about the situation and I excitedly exclaimed, "It's raining INSIDE!"  I'm not sure if I actually remember that or that the memory has formed itself in my mind after hearing my Grandma's recitation of it once or twice in my life. ;)  My Grandma is a wonderful storyteller (and writer) and my Grandpa was a wonderful listener...perhaps why they "worked" so well.

Their next move took them into the beautiful foothills of Colorado and I think I was about 5 when they made this leap.  They lived on a large lot on the side of a mountain with a little horse next door, what more could a little girl, a self-professed tomboy, ask for???  In the summers we spent hours scaling "their" mountain, climbing the large boulders at the top or reveling in the view that the little meadow at the top held in its majesty.  In the winters, we would arrive to their house long after the sun had slipped behind the mountains.  Stepping out of our van after a 500 mile trek, the snow would crunch under my shoes and the crisp, still mountain air would almost hurt to breathe in, but provided just the rush needed to fuel an excited dash to the house to distribute hugs.  I can very nearly FEEL the wall of warmth that I crashed through as I crossed the threshold into their home.  The smell that is etched in my mind was a somehow wonderful mix of Uncle Ben's wild rice, bourbon (their adult beverage of choice) and coffee.  I know it sounds strange, but it's one of my favorite smell mixes now and I wish I had it in a bottle.  Funny how even the thought of smells brings such a flood of memories (and maybe even a flood of tears).

Through our stays, Grandma provided us with the names of all of the birds and trees native to the area and Grandpa provided us with a silent, gruff affection.  Our favorite book at that time (Ok...it COULD still be my favorite book) was about a large and growly bear who was looking for someone to scare.  Grandma would read that book over and over and over again during our week long stays and she would tell us that Grandpa was that large and growly bear.  I believed it with the very fiber of my being.  I was terrified of Grandpa.  I was a terribly shy kid and his grizzliness (I like to make up words...give me a break) intimidated me.

He was oh so proud of his steaks.  He could grill the PERfect steak.  Of course, as a kid my appreciation of this art was slim and I longed for a big glob of ketchup to help it go down.  Trying to sneak such errant behavior under his radar was a challenge.  When he was very focused on his meal or in conversation with other guests at the table, I would very quietly whisper my request in G'ma's ear, she would always smuggle the catsup (as she called it...we could giggle for hours about that) to the table and I would do my best to eat as politely and discreetly at possible.  Grandpa always won, though.  Even IF I managed to devour my ketchup slathered steak without his discovery, a "happy plate" was always Grandpa's cue to offer more.  If you declined he would respond with a deep, "You don't like it!" To which one who was not accustomed to this form of dry humor (possibly a 6 or 7 year old granddaughter) would look for one more helping of something on the table they could hopefully stuff into an already engorged belly to appease the beast.  At that age I didn't quite get him, but I discovered very early on that there was NOTHING greater than making the man crack a smile and if you drew a belly laugh from him, you were golden.

On one trip there, I was probably around 10 or 12, Grandma was making dinner and my brother, sister and I had been glued to the TV in the living room for quite some time.  Grandpa came in and sat in HIS chair and suggested that I should set the table.  I'm not sure what came over me, but I very sassily blurted out that setting the table was "man's work".  Immediately, I had a knot in my stomach wondering if I had just really messed up and he shot a glare at me, but I could see that rough exterior cracking and a little smirk on his lips turned into that dreamed about belly laugh.  I proceeded to jump up and set the table to which I once again was scolded for doing it wrong (I had no idea where the proper places for silverware were), and he very kindly taught me how to set a table correctly.  It was that moment that I caught on...the growly bear was just a ruse, a cover-up for the giant teddy bear that was hidden underneath.

Gokey meeting Gigi Pa for the first
time and already dragging him
around by his finger.
I grew up and they moved on and into a house near the previous one, but one that they dreamt up from the ground up.  The relationship I had with Grandpa was a special one and as frequently as possible (which wasn't near as frequently as I or they would have liked), I made my own way up there as I gained independence dragging high school and college girl friends and one particularly fabulous boyfriend (I love you, J) with me.  I always made sure to warn them about the "you don't like it" gig and they always got along famously.  I don't really know how to explain our relationship...there's nothing that stands out or is especially sentimental.  It's just that his love was big...he didn't say a lot, but when he did it was to express his love or his appreciation of a call or visit from his eldest granddaughter.  Grandma mostly did all the talking, but his quiet presence was steadfast, strong, supportive and fantastically affectionate.

So, back to the luck...I am furiously lucky...so amazingly lucky to have made all of these wonderful memories in the last 35 years that Grandpa had such a hand in creating.  And now, in his absence, I am feeling exceptionally grateful and lucky to have these 4 perfect little distractions to keep me moving.

 My last visit with Grandma & Grandpa a year ago.  That's
Jilly Bean in my arms. :)

Grandpa, I love you.  You've been gone for less than a day and I miss you fiercely and would give my right arm to see that smile one more time or hear your disdain for Texas drivers (no offense to my in-laws, but mountain driving is not your forte). :)  You are my favorite Growly Bear...see ya on the other side!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks and I keep telling myself that I need to blog...to record all these happy, crazy memories, but where to find the time?  Guess I need to also remind myself that it's more important to create the memories than record them. :)

After a wonderfully long Labor Day weekend filled with horrible decisions made on a kids' Redbox movie, a wonderful road trip to Winfield for some fun at the "castle park", some amazing BBQ courtesy of my lovely husband and lots of beautiful, adorable, sweet and funny moments to fill the spaces between, we launched into our first full week of September.  September is the month that my big boys have been waiting for ALL summer...1st days of school!!!  X-man lamented toward the end of last school year, "but, WHY do we have to have a summer break?"  Gokey has peed his pants with excitement all summer long...no, really, he has peed his pants over and over.  Maybe not in excitement and more in a form of regression since baby brother has arrived, but that's a whole different story.  I had no doubts that X-man would fall right back into the routine.  I know that he will always excel in school...he loves it...he was made for it and we have been blessed with the world's best preschool teachers who are patient enough to answer his unending questions.  I was anxious about how Gokey would do, though.  He is our sensitive soul...maybe even a little bit of a momma's boy.  He spent all year last year longing to go to school with his big brother, but I worried that when the time came that those big, sloppy tears would pool up in his big brown eyes and we would both be a mess.

My, how he's grown...
Gokey will be attending Animal Tales Preschool at the zoo Tuesdays and Thursdays and X-man will go Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is a logistical nightmare for me since I have to be there EVERY day to drop one of them off and pick them up.  This includes parking, unpacking the double stroller to get the two little ones in, unbuckling the three tikes who can't do so themselves, carting them in, signing in whoever it is that day, handing out hugs and kisses and rolling back out to the van to buckle everyone back up again, pack the stroller back up and do it all over again 2 1/2 hours later in order to sign out that day's lucky preschooler. Despite my anxiety, Tuesday came and with it, Gokey's first day.  He popped out of bed that morning, clutching his backpack, still in his pajamas.  He wore that thing all morning long.  Once time to pack up and go, keeping in mind that I arrived late with X-man on his first day last year, we headed out front extra early to get some pictures and the kid was glowing.  We arrived at the zoo with plenty of time, piled the dinky ones into the stroller, took a few more pics on the way in and arrived at our preschool destination.  I was helping the little man find his hook to hang his backpack on when one of the teachers and I started chatting.  Next thing I knew, I turned around to give Gokey his hugs and kisses and he was nowhere to be found.  I spotted him across the room near the reading nook.  I yelled to him, "hey! Don't I get hugs???" He immediately broke with a giant, mischievous grin only he can sport and trotted back across the room, throwing his arms around me.  He then took off again without hesitation and we moved on.  No tears from either of us...success! :)

This is how we get in and out 2 times a day !

Wednesday brought X-man's first day.  He was happy that he was going, especially after being left behind the day before, but it was a much more contained excitement.  He's the big man, afterall...no need for big displays of emotion when you are ALMOST 5 years old!  He took it all in stride, dutifully handed out his hugs upon arrival and then dove right in with his classmates, whom he was very glad to see again.  So we are into the school year full swing!

Mr. Big and Mr. Cool (try to ignore Mr. Cool's backward pants :)

The weekend before last we SOMEHOW managed to dupe Papa, Gigi and Nana to take the 3 older kids for the WHOLE weekend, so J and I could have some down time.  Don't know how down time-ish it was because we ended up splurging for tickets to our first K-State football game in 10 years...we haven't been since we graduated forever ago because initially we moved states away and since we moved back 5 years ago, we have been constantly having babies, leaving little time for road trips and football games.  We were so pumped!  Our challenge leading up to the big weekend was to get little D to take a bottle so that Grams (J's oh-so-fabulous momma) could cuddle the little guy while we were at the game since they live about 30 minutes from Manhappiness.  This proved to be more of a challenge than we expected.  Many wasted ounces of precious pumped milk and 5 different nipples later we were very frustrated and Declan was very unimpressed.  J mentioned to his mom less than a week before the planned trip that we may just have to take the little guy to his first football game as he was not cooperating with the bottle.  She then suggested we put a little peppermint on the nipple.  Noooo...surely it couldn't be so simple.  Since we didn't have peppermint available (and willing to try just about anything at this point), I mixed up a little sugar water, dipped the nipple and skeptically watched J offer the bottle to our picky eater and the little stinker latched on and sucked down 3 ounces like he had been doing it for years!  Who knew???  So...we had a blast watching our Wildcats beat the tar out of the Miami Hurricanes and Grams and Grandfather got some good quality time with the youngest (of 22...soon to be 23) grandchild! :)

And more on the baby front...he's growing like a weed!  Had our 6 week check up with midwife, Deidre, and he tipped the scales at 11 lbs 14 oz and is 22 inches long.  Despite my daily pleadings to slow down, he continues to grow and change.  He is resembling a chunky infant now and leaving that fleeting newborn stage behind.  So sad to see it go, but it's traded for these beautiful smiles that make his momma's days bright.  I think this one is going to be trouble...he has a smirk unlike any of the other kids and he raises his little eyebrow flirtatiously as he does it.  The girls will be swooning one day (this one already is). :)
Lady Killer... 
 Happy times and cooler weather...we are eating it up!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Change-Up

It's been a rough few days.  I've fallen deeper into this baby fog as little D has hit his first growth spurt and requested demanded that he be attached to me at ALL times...to which I have dutifully obliged.  This makes for a sleepy (and possibly grumpy) momma.  Add to that the fact that the rest of my brood is still adjusting to the newest member of our family and it has made life interesting.  Jilly has shrieked her way through the last week or so.  She screams when she's happy, she screams when she's sad, she screams when she is excited, she screams when she's bored and she SQUAKS when she is angry.  My ears are ringing at this point and I'm over it.  The boys tend to antagonize her and draw out the best of her squeels all. day. long.  On top of that, they (the boys) are beating on each other, "annoying" each other and then will be buddy buddy a moment later.  I guess I have THAT to be thankful for, but it's the beating on and annoying leading up to the buddiness that is bound to put me into a straight jacket one of these days.  Adjusting...I have to continually remind myself.  This too shall pass and some day I will miss them all being little.  

Until then, I must use my powers of distraction and persuasion.  X-man has hounded me all morning long about "doing something fun"...it's his daily quest to make sure he is good and entertained from start to finish.  The only problem is that I have to be the one to figure out how to entertain him. :)  My mom tells me this is most definitely payback...I too liked to have an agenda full of fun during every spare moment as a kid.  Today, after being up since 4:15 this morning, yet still not able to find the time to get myself dressed (I use the term "dressed" loosely here...yoga pants, nursing tank and ponytail...that is the full extent of my "dressed") I had to figure out something fun to do without leaving our property after FINALLY getting little D to crash for more than 30 minutes.  I suggested that we have a backyard picnic and it was accepted with resounding exuberance, screams (you can probably guess from whom) and much bouncing and jumping on tippy toes.  So...I loaded up sturdy plastic plates with PB&J's and bananas and to the playset we trekked.  They thoroughly enjoyed our "excursion" and we listed all the things we loved about eating outside.  I mentioned the breeze, the fresh outdoor smell and the sound of the birds chirping.  X-man expanded my mention of birds by making some whippoorwill, chick-a-dee and bob white calls.  Gokey proclaimed his joy of eating outside among the elephants, lions and giraffes (maybe we frequent the zoo a bit too often).  Jilly screamed when Gokey's gaze rested on her PB&J a little TOO long.  All in all our picnic was a success and took the boring right out of our day...even if Jilly required a dip in the tub after slathering herself in peanut butter in the playhouse out back (***Note to anyone with a peanut allergy...you might want to avoid our playset until we get substantial rain). :)

The Big Trio
My Peanut Butter Queen
X-man always in the middle of it all...
A girl and her crew :) 

The truth is...I WILL miss this.  I know it already...I almost DO miss it, even though I am in the midst of it right now.  Not sure that really make sense and I know it's all these silly, sappy post pregnancy hormones getting the best of me, but I already feel the tug.  I look at X-man and Gokey and if it weren't for the more than 16,000 photos and 400 videos that have been snapped and clicked over the last 5 years, I would have a hard time remembering what their tiny newborn mugs looked like.  I look down into D's 3 week, cross-eyed expression complete with furrowed brow as he chills on the Boppy pillow between my deflated belly and this keyboard and start to daydream about his little toddler self wedged between his brothers and sister on the playset during some future backyard picnic and it sets a lump in my throat because I can literally see him...ahem...THEM growing up in the span of moments!  So...I am doing my best to laugh at my frustrations, and marvel at the little being that has me up in the wee hours of the morning AGAIN and revel in the magic of being little. You four can keep me up for the next 18 years worth of nights...there's not a thing in the world I would trade it for...

Growing before my eyes!!! *sniff sniff*


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baby Days...

It's so beyond time that I get on this!  It has been over 2 weeks since our latest arrival and I have floated through those two weeks in a blissful baby fog.  J has been home for a good chunk of it, we have been out and about running errands and trying to keep things fun for the older kidlets, sleep has been short, but the love has been long...I'll take it!  So, J returned to work Monday morning and that means I have too.  It was so good to have him home and have all of us together for almost 2 weeks, but getting back into a routine is kinda nice too.  And so far, it's been pretty great...yeah, yeah...I know...it's only been a few days since he returned to work, but I am juggling my responsibilities gracefully...for now.  Everyone was up, dressed and fed by 8:30 Monday morning.  The boys immediately dove into the backyard to enjoy some cooler temperatures.  I started laundry, folded laundry, swept and swiffered the floors, loaded, started and unloaded the dishwasher.  I fed a tiny baby a couple of times and changed some itty bitty diapers a couple of times, broke up a couple fights, cleaned up an accident (thank you, new-sibling-potty-regression) and I still had a few minutes to spare to try to get some blogging in before my momma showed up to lend a hand (obviously not ENOUGH time to blog or this would have been posted Monday).  I'm feeling on top of it...for the moment (have I said that yet??). :)

2 weeks ago this past Tuesday...(imagine a dream-like fade as we reminisce).  July 31st--a day overdue.  I was prepared this time to be in that spot and was feeling as good as one can feel 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  My day started very normal...kids up and eating breakfast at the table and I was taking my morning stroll through Facebook posts and pictures and I posted about being a day overdue and that the little womb-hogger had limited time to make himself a July baby.  There was a flurry of replies and remedies to rush a pregnancy along, but it was the glorious midwife, Deidre, with the best suggestion of getting in for an appointment to offer the little man "some encouragement".  I called her late morning and we discussed and agreed that we were both comfortable with checking to see where I was at and hopefully moving things along.  I scheduled an appointment with her at 3 pm to see if we could get things going and went about my day, notifying the troops (my mom, aunt and sister) that they needed to be "on-call" and ready for action.

I arrived for my appointment on time and was checked to find that I was already 3-4 cm, which was great to hear.  After nearly a week of contractions that got me no closer to the end (seemingly), it was nice to find that they had indeed been doing something, even if it wasn't to push a baby out.  Deidre roughed things up a bit, found that his little noggin was turned kinda funny, which was probably the reason he hadn't arrived yet, was able to adjust his little noggin some to make things more favorable for exit and by the time all was said and done, I was then dilated to 5 cm.  Halfway there and not even in labor yet...I like it! :) She lectured me about not waiting too terribly long once labor ensued (as she was very confident would happen...much like the scenario a mere year prior at the end of my pregnancy with Jilly-bean) as most likely things would happen fast given my history.

I headed to my mom's to pick up the kiddos, experienced a few contractions with a little more oomph than I had felt to that point and headed back across town to nestle in at home and wait.  Initially contractions were averaging about 8 minutes apart, though some would be as close as 3 minutes and then the next would be 10 mins...not consistent.  J got home, we threw together a quick, easy meal and I decided to take Stella-dog for a (very hot) quick walk.  As soon as I started down the road (phone in hand, as ordered by my worried husband), my contractions squeezed together coming less than 2 minutes apart.  They were still very tolerable, but having them that close together so quickly made me nervous.  I cut my walk short, put a call in to Deidre and jumped in the shower while awaiting her reply.  Upon climbing out of the shower, contractions were averaging about 3 1/2 minutes apart, but I was still walking and talking through them, so upon conversing with Deidre, we decided that I would notify her when I noticed the tell tale change in intensity.  J began to worry that he would be delivering a baby on the kitchen floor, so he called my mom (Gigi) who would notify my Aunt Nancy (Nana) and sister (Aunt Adie) to come over and wrangle kids in case that scenario came to fruition.  We were able to get the kids to bed fairly uneventfully and a short time later, Gigi and Nana arrived.  I rocked comfortably on my exercise ball in the living room, chatting with them while feeling contractions build. It was now about 8 p.m. and I knew I was inevitably going to be holding a baby at the end of this bout of contractions.  They were growing in intensity and still averaging about 3 1/2 minutes apart.  J and I decided to take an evening walk just down to the end of the block to see what happened.  They quickly closed the gap, coming about every 2 mins again, but more importantly, they became much more serious...I found myself stopping mid-stride to lean into J breathing through and willing the pain away as he reminded me to continue breathing.  We decided not to push our luck and headed back to the house to once again call Deidre.

Deidre arrived about 30 mins after calling her.  I am guessing it was around 9:30 when she arrived and her assistants, Sam and Cynthia arrived shortly thereafter.  I continued to labor, pacing through the living room, using J to lean on during every stifling contraction while they began setting up everything needed for the birth in our bedroom.  After they were done, they moved out to the living room and mingled with Gigi, Nana and Adie while J and I continued to work through the pain in our bedroom.  I was no longer timing contractions, but they continued in relentless waves and I did my best to hold it together.  I think it was my moaning that drew Deidre back into the room and she suggested I sit down in the birth chair they had set up so she could check and see what kind of progress had been made.  In the midst of my misery, I just knew I was still in for the long haul and had hours to go.  Turned out I was 7-8 cm, but dilating to nearly complete with contractions.  I remember saying the only thing I had been able to squeeze out for the last hour or so being something along the lines of, "I JUST WANT HIM OUT OF ME!"  After a couple more contractions and Deidre assisting my cervix a bit, she told me to go ahead and gently bear down a bit if I felt like it...and I did.  I pushed a little during that contraction and then Cynthia suggested that J push the back of the chair forward during my next contraction to help me sit upright more.  As I whimpered with the start of the next contraction, J pushed me forward, his other arm across my chest...I pushed...and then heard Deidre and Cynthia pleading for me to, "slow down, gentle, gentle," as I was vaguely aware of Adie, Nana and Gigi gasping and cheering me on.  J reminded me to breathe, instead I couldn't help but hold my breath and push...I REALLY tried to make it gentle, but despite the orders, his head was out almost immediately and with the next push the rest of him slid out into Deidre's hands and he was immediately placed on my chest.

Declan Lennox slipped into this bright world at 11:22 p.m. on July 31st...7 lbs 9 oz making him my smallest by 2 ounces and 20 1/4 inches making him my longest by 1/4 inch.  And every bit of him perfect!  He immediately started rooting, wanting to nurse and he cried...and CRIED!  The kid screamed for the better part of an hour following his birth.  He finally calmed down at my 2nd attempt to nurse where he finally decided that's what he needed.  After that, he had his first bath, which he loved and then settled in with his new family.  Deidre and crew flew the coop a couple of hours later, my sister followed and Gigi and Nana settled in on a couch and guest bed to field any middle of the night wake-ups by the older siblings.  Of course, all 3 of them began battling a cold in the day or two leading up to the big event, so sleep was unsettled to say the least.  Gokey made it into bed with Gigi very early on and X-man came hacking and coughing up the stairs in the wee hours of the morning during one of my very first nursing sessions with his new little brother.  He sidled up next to the chair I was nursing in, peering through the dark at the bundle in my arms.  I introduced the brothers but X-man didn't seem to be affected by the gravity of the new little being and Nana and Daddy swooped in to offer the poor kid some water and a spoonful of honey to quell the cough.  I overheard him ask J, "is Mom gonna push Declan out now?"  He responded, "she already did...she's holding him right there!" X-man responded with a disappointed, "I missed it???"  Nevertheless, the following morning, Declan and I emerged from our familiar nest to a very exuberant welcome! :)  Even Jilly Bean seemed to be thrilled at the miniature little person we had dropped into her life.  Among the three of them, though, Gokey has been the most enamored with the little guy and it is far from uncommon to hear his pleas to snuggle him numerous times a day.

I thought Jilly's was the perfect birth, but there's no beating such an experience in the comfort of our own home...safe, warm, comfortable and FILLED with love.  THIS was the perfect birth and it brought forth another perfect little being!  Welcome to the world Mr. Declan...can't wait to see what the world has in store for you!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

ONE??? How Did THAT Happen?

So...I'm behind.  It's a theme these days.  I DO have a good excuse, I think.  I AM 40 weeks pregnant, planned and cleaned and prepped and baked for a FIRST birthday party and suffered through yet another week of pregnancy and teasing contractions and am exhausted...I think that gives me a good reason to slack a bit???  In my defense, I did start this on LAST Saturday (7/21), THE big day but there was just too much going on to finish it.  So...here it is:

What a year it has been!  One year ago today at this time I had contractions that were getting closer and more regular, but I was still in denial that they might actually result in a baby after being a WEEK overdue.  How is it that one week at that time felt like an eternity and this entire past year has disappeared in a flash???  Our little Jilly Bean has GROWN!

Where to start?  Perhaps the beginning is the right place. :)  You came into this world FAST!  Once active labor set in it was a short 2 1/2 hours for you to slide into this world and straight into our hearts.  As we examined you in your first moments of life on the outside we were initially struck by your ravenous appetite.  You came out ready to eat and you have been doing so ever since!  The second thing that struck us as odd was discovered during your first bath.  As the vernix and goo was washed off of your head your hair seemed so light.  After having two very dark-headed newborns preceding you, having a little blonde was not what I had pictured.  That's when our midwife's assistant, Christy, suggested she thought you were going to be a red head...and we laughed.  No laughing now!  We have a true red head on our hands...and an attitude to prove it! :)

A girl and her attendants

You started out SO relaxed and chill and I FINALLY got my champion sleeper after the zombie days of sleeplessness I had with your brothers as babies.  I think that those brothers have doted on and spoiled you so much (and maybe your dad and I have contributed a LITTLE), that you have learned to milk the world for all it's worth.  You have most definitely figured out how to make a little drama work for you...I think you have been paying far too much attention to your brother, Gokey's ploys!  You will contentedly play with the baby monitor, the glass dishes, cooking utensils or the hair dryer and suddenly realize that I am not watching or paying attention and suddenly you are a puddle of tears, pleading after me through the house, "Mamamamamamama....*gasp*...mamamamamama!"  It's very sad and heartwrenching.  If that doesn't work to get a quick snuggle then you will plop your (very padded) hiney on the floor and lean all the way forward until your forehead hits the hardwood with a "THUD" and wail.  THAT I am certain comes from your brother.  You two need to stop commiserating...it's bad for the household duties that need to get done, and clear that I would much rather cuddle with you than accomplish said household duties.

Speaking of brothers...you adore them!  First smiles, giggles and all attention was and still is in the direction of those two idols of yours.  They love to run from one side of the house to the other to escape from the terrible "Jilly-Monster" and you toddle after them squealing with glee, arms waving through the air like a little ginger E.T.  Your biggest brother can often be found lugging you onto the nearest couch or bed for gentle wrestling matches to which you rarely protest and I have, more than once, found a very tearful Gokey when you have chosen to hand out kisses to everyone BUT him.  I think it's safe to say that the adoration is mutual!  Though you may be more hesitant to kiss your smaller big brother (don't blame you...he is definitely the droolier, stickier of the two), he is the one who truly owns your heart and is your biggest entertainer.  You follow him with your gaze wherever he goes hoping to catch his next hilarious antic to which you double over with giggles.  I love the love you three share and hope it continues to the end of time.

You are suddenly in the last few weeks really coming out of your shell and it has been delightful watching your new personality blossom.  You have learned the power of "no" with a shake of your head to EVERYTHING that is asked or said in your general direction.  Are you hungry?  You shake your head and then devour whatever is set in front of  you.  Can I have a kiss?  You shake your head and then lean in with mouth open wide, but only after we beg.  Do you wanna take a bath?  You shake your head and then dash to the bathroom to get your splash on.  I think it's safe to say you may be a little confused on the whole yes/no thing, but am confident you will figure it out.  In the meantime we will just continue to not take you so seriously. You have also become very good at scolding...especially your brothers when they are downstairs and have left you locked behind that nasty gate at the top of the stairs.  You will stand there and rant at them in a slur of undecipherable grunts and shouts, but it is clear that you are definitely in control.  Within that tough little exterior, with your ruby curls, though, is a sweetness that's hard to define.  You began hugging, wrapping around and pressing your little body into whomever's body it is you have decided to trust at the moment at a very young age.  And you possess a smile that lights up a room.  Even Stella-dog seems content to share her bed with you when you plop your little body next to hers, though there's not really room to share.

Stella love!

You have stolen our hearts...not that there was any doubt that you would.  I can't imagine a world without my Jilly-bug.  Your world is about to change, though, as is so very evident by this giant belly that has an expiration date of today (ahem...any time now, kid) and it makes me wince to think how confusing this will all be to you.  I know the Irish temper that accompanies your rouge locks will carry you through and perhaps I should be more concerned about how I will fare. :)  As your brothers have embraced their little sister, I know you will find the same love for a new baby brother...and I can't wait to see it unfold.  Happy (Belated) Birthday, Little Girl!

You'll freak when you see it! LOL

She was NOT disappointed

The Aftermath
Clean-up in the sink

Monday, May 7, 2012

Little Man Growing...

The BIG 3! Amazing how quickly it all goes by and how breathless it leaves me every time one of these milestones comes and goes.  My littlest man (until July/August) turned three on Cinco de Mayo!  I try to do a Birthday Blog on the actual day, but this one was packed full of festivities and I didn't have time to even glance at the computer. So, Mr. Gokey...here it goes... :)

It seems that a year has shown that you have followed in your big brother's footsteps in at least one area...you have a mind like a steel trap.  Just like the marshmallow gun that X-man begged for in the 8 months leading up to his birthday, you made a request months ago for a Batman cake and Batman car and toy for your birthday.  This was terribly odd because I'm not sure you have ever even seen anything batman and I honestly thought your tastes would change and other requests would replace it.  I was so very wrong and I had to do my Batman research to make your day perfect as the day drew near.  I think you are satisfied with the outcome! :)

You are still a small little guy, but what you lack in stature, you make up for in heart.  Your bottomless brown eyes still swallow me up and your Dad and I constantly giggle and comment on how absolutely adorable you are on a daily basis.  You put an extreme amount of emotion into everything you do.  I love (and so do your beloved extended family members) the random "I love you's" that escape your lips for no reason than to fill the space between us.  You are quick to dole out hugs and long snuggles on the couch and you insist on holding my hand wherever we may go.  You recently nuzzled into me and muttered, "Mom...you're a squeezy mom." If anyone else had said that I would have been appalled, but I couldn't help but adore the sentiment. Your facial expressions are limitless and we, as your parents, are not the only ones to notice. It seems you can contort your little mug to fit whatever feeling you are exuding at the moment and I would love to be able to capture each of them because they easily give me a glimpse into your little head.

The Many Faces of Gokey

You have done a lot of growing this year.  You are a rockstar on your little bike and love to show off your "wheelies" and can still dance the pants off of your Dad.  You are now self-sufficient in the restroom and reached that big milestone very suddenly after numerous attempts over months by announcing at lunch one day that you had to go potty.  You never looked back! I never get tired of listening to you and your brother pretending your days away when you don't know I am listening.  I especially love that you haven't grown up enough to keep your Batman figure from saying "I love you" to his fellow hero toys and that they always respond with the same affection.  We also can't forget that you became a BIG brother this year for the first time and have excelled in all aspects.  You are so attentive to your little sister and love to make her smile and laugh.  You have also embraced this new pregnancy to the full extent.  There is nothing that makes you happier than to find a bare piece of baby-filled belly to blow raspberries on with the hopes that you will get a return kick from within.  I think you kinda like being big brother for once, but the role of little brother is still pretty cool too. :)

Though you seem to have grown in all other areas of your little life, you are still the biggest mess that I have ever met!  You gladly and happily use a fork or spoon...with one hand.  Your other hand is generally firmly planted in whatever you are dishing into your mouth and all of it slides down your chin and into your lap as you attempt to slurp it up.  This is why the area around your seat is more valuable space than around your baby sister's, who intentionally chucks food to the dogs! :) I, and your future girlfriends, are hoping that you grow out of this stage soon!  I think, however, that this may be one of the big reasons that you and Stella-dog have such a tight bond...she knows she will never go hungry as long as she has you!

Maybe there's a piece of me that still treasures the mess that you are because it's not quite so grown up.  You will be starting your first year of preschool in 4 short months and you are desperately excited to do so.  You often wear your backpack when we drop X-man off at school and then you linger in the doorway hoping you just might be able to stay that day.  I am so excited for your first day of school, but once again so very torn.  You are my loveable, snuggleable, huggable, kissable little dude...I know the day that you push me away is just around the corner.  I promise to do my best to hold on as tight as I can until you do!

Happy Birthday, Gokey...thank you for 3 wonderful years!!!!

Love - Momma

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IT'S A...

Do you really wanna know???  If you have talked to me in the last 10ish weeks, you have most likely heard me say something along the lines of, "I would be willing to bet this house that I am having another girl."  I was horribly, awfully, miserably sick from 6 weeks until the bitter end with both of my boys.  My pregnancy with Jilly Bean was drastically different.  Still sick, but SO so so much much better...dare I say, tolerable?  :)  This one has been very similar to the last.  Sickly for the first 10-12 weeks, but then very much back on track and feeling well.

We had our big sonogram today and took X-man with us for the occasion.  He is so intrigued with the whole process and has 4 million questions, so we thought he would really like to see his baby sibling on the big screen.  He was very attentive and J spent the whole time being the technician's "Vanna White," pointing to and explaining everything that we were seeing on the big screen.  Our technician even asked if he could stay the rest of the day to explain it all to her following patients. :)  He would tell X-man, "see, there's HER little arm," or, "look, there's her heart beating."  The tech finally got to the end of the process after checking out all of the vitals and said, "uh, Dad...that's no girl!"  It is true...we are having BOY #3!!!!  So absolutely shocked because I was so convinced that this was another girl!  I am stoked, however, that I am not miserable and heaving into the toilet at this very moment as history would suggest I should be.  J was so shocked that he asked her to go back and get a second look at the "evidence" to make sure it was correct...there's really no mistaking it, though. :)

So...Jilly will be a very spoiled, heavily protected little girl and we are so so so excited to be welcoming our 4th baby and 3rd little boy into this beautiful world!  Yay for boys...and thank God for perfect, tiny blessings!

Monday, February 13, 2012

SNOW DAY...Kinda

At least as much of a snow day as we have seen at all this season.  Gokey just got over a bout of "the crud" and X-man is now fighting it, but this is the first snow they have seen this winter.  How could I deny them the fun that comes along with it?  So...let the Mother of the Year nominations roll in!  I bundled up those little bodies...coughing, snotty noses and maybe even a bit of a fever included and sent them out into the elements.  It only lasted 10 minutes max for the boys and Jilly Bean was far from impressed with her first introduction to the cold, white stuff, so her visit lasted about 45 seconds. :)


What better way to warm back up???  Hot chocolate, of course!  We made the best of it and now it's naptime for all!  Happy winter, everyone!