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Sick Days


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Our bedtime routine goes more or less something like this: diapers and jammies on, brush teeth, read stories, say prayers, kisses to Tess (who is then carted off to the pack ‘n play in the spare room where the girls won’t bother her sleep), kisses and hugs to both girls, and then a “story from when you were a little kid” from me or Isaac (depending on who has the energy that night).  Sounds easy enough – eh?  Not really, but that will have to be saved for another day.  Tonight, I was nominated to deliver a story.  I had quite a time thinking of one, as in my mind I ran over the different eras of my life (California Days? No.  Knight Island?  Knik River Road? Something about the stepbrothers and sisters? No. No. No. Most of that’s been covered.)  Finally I decided to recant something from my “Year in Germany”.  The story (with comments from a certain 4-year old) went something like this.

“So, let’s see.  Well, you guys know I speak a little German to you now and again right?  Well, that comes from the year I spent in Germany.  I remember the day I left for Germany…I don’t think Uncle Gregory came with us to the airport.”

“Why?”

“Well, I don’t know.  Good question.  All I remember is that he and I did dishes together that evening.  We were having such a good conversation and we were laughing a lot and all of a sudden I was sad to be going.”

“Why”

“Because I was going to be leaving for a whole year and knew that I would miss him, and thought for just a split second of maybe not going after all.”

“Why”

“Because I thought Gregory needed me there.  We needed each other.  Anyway, I remember that he didn’t go with us to the airport because Opa and I said goodbye to him out in the driveway and then took off down the road.  I glanced back at one point and saw Gregory running after us and waving.  I thought maybe he was sad that I was leaving.”

“Why was he sad.”

“Well, because one day when you go away from home we’ll be sad that you’re leaving, too.”

The misty eyes came before this last sentence, but after it, the flood gates were opened.

“What’s the matter, babe?  What did I say?  Why are you crying?”

“I’m crying because you said something very naughty, Mama!”

“What?”

“That I have to go away!”

“No, no.  I said when you go away.  Like to college, or when you get married.  Don’t you want to do that?”

“No.”

“Okay, you can just live with us then – as long as you want.”

“Until I die?”

“Sure.”

These kids…man, oh, man.  Sometimes I find myself embracing them and never wanting to let go, lately I find myself I’m hiding from them.  And as long as it takes for them to find me is what I consider to be my “alone time”.  It usually lasts about a minute or less (our house is very small), but hey, it’s something.  I never realized how much I am really needed or how many times I get up from a sitting position during the day to meet their needs, until I was stricken with the flu.  I’ve spent the last few days doing the kind of “half-sleep” that only parents know.  With the eye closest to the couch closed, while the other opens and closes every 30 seconds or so to do patrol.  “Resting your eye”, I guess you can say.  I’ve also found myself waiting, praying, for the sleep jerks of a sick child, and then the slow, steady, deep breathing, so that I know it’s safe to venture back to my own bed. 

I wonder, did my mom and dad feel for my sleep jerks, too?  Being the 5th of 7 children, I highly doubt it.  Most often, I probably just fell asleep during whatever evening activity was taking place.  I have many memories of falling asleep in one spot and waking up in my bed the next morning surprised, always thinking that I sleep-walked there.  Other times I actually remember the weightlessness I felt as my dad or mom toted me off to bed, head on shoulder.  Unlike my own children, I’m pretty sure I “transfered well”.

The worst thing about the kind of flu I had, though, was that it was feverless.  A fever is always the best excuse to get people feeling really sorry for you, to the point where they demand that you get some rest.  “The chills”? Doesn’t sound so serious.  “Aching muscles”? That either.  But a fever?  Yes, get into bed this very instant, young lady.  No dishes, no laundry, and above all, no taking care of children until you are better!  Yeah, no such luck. 

So, what do you do in such a situation?  The key is to make yourself look, and sound, as sick as you feel.  The hair is very important.  Whatever you do, don’t redo your ponytail mid-day.  Let the hair, and hair tie, fall where it may creating a very “sick” look.  Sweatpants (or any type of jammie pants, really) are “sick” attire.  Anything really well worn is preferred.  And when you answer the phone – give it as much croak as possible.

The day I came down with it started at a lovely 4:45 a.m.  Sophia came into the guest bed where I was trying to get Tess to go back to sleep and ended any chance of that.  She hacked and hacked until Tess was so wide awake she was doing her “happy talk”.  And once the happy talk starts, there’s no going back to sleep in our house.  “Why did you have to come in here Sophia?” I asked, knowing that the day had begun and dreading it.  A minute or so later, as I lay there feeling sorry for myself, she began to get back out of the bed.  When I asked where she was going, she said, “I’m going to go out there and cough so it doesn’t bother you.”  Talk about a heart breaker.

So, tonight, after I said she could live with us forever, I backtracked just a bit and suggested that maybe she can do what she’s mentioned before and have a house next to ours and that I can come over and visit every day.  And she said, “No, I’ll come and visit you.”  And I said ok.  It’s a good compromise.

Here’s a few more pics to hold the grandparents over:

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Tider

Isaac came home from work yesterday, opened the fridge and said, “Did you know there’s a grocery bag in here with a netflick in it?”  Oh, well, yes and no.  I mean, now that you mention it, I remember putting it in there, but until you said something, I had no idea.  Maybe it’s the 4 hours of good sleep I’m going off of here, or the constant stream of silly questions coming at me all day long, but I think I’m a little bit, well, tider.

When Sophia was little(r) she would tell me that she was just “too tider” (meaning tired).  I always thought it was cute and imagined that she was saying it that way because she just didn’t have the energy to say it right.  That’s me these days.  “Jolie, could you give that to me, please?”  “Um, I’m not Jolie, Mom.”  “Well, you know what I mean, Tess.   I mean, Sophia.  Jeez Louise.”  “Who’s that?”  “Nevermind.”

Some days I’m so motivated to get things done, that I march around the house, drill-seargent fashion, barking orders up and down: Clean up this!  Put away that! Now! Now! NOW!  Other days I sigh and think, “What’s the use, it’s just going to get messy again in 20 minutes anyway,” and spend the days instead crawling after the girls, and reading story after story, and answering their silly questions with even sillier answers.  They must think I’m manic.  Seriously.  I keep telling myself that moderation is key to some normalcy around here, but apparently I’m not listening.

Here’s some new pics of the girls.  Enjoy.

Jolie’s birthday dinner – Mickey Mouse pancakes. 

Happy Birthday Jolie!

Post-Bath Cuddle Time (by the woodstove, of course)

Tess finds a new friend.

Baby blue eyes (turns 6 months on Wednesday! Though the tags on her clothes beg to differ :)).

11 weeks of Tess

In 11 short weeks, she has somehow made everyone who’s ever met her fall in love with her.  She loves to cuddle.  Loves to eat (evident by all 16+ pounds of her!).  And she loves her family (especially her aunties who came to visit us :)).  And the newest thing she loves to do?  Suck her thumb.  Neither Sophia nor Jolie would do this, despite all of the times I tried to help them.  Especially Jolie…oh, the time I invested in trying to get her to self-soothe.  But, as luck would have it, our easy-goingest baby yet, the one who sleeps 10-12 hours a night, is the one who chooses to suck her thumb.

Her first attempts at it were fascinating to watch.  She wasn’t sure where to put the other four fingers so they ended up spread out over her face.  A few scratches later, she learned to curl them up.  She makes the cutest sucking sounds.  It’s darling. 

Her hair still appears fairly light, although I can see some darker growth coming in here and there.  And her eyes are still strikingly blue.  With them she watches her sisters intensely.  Maybe that’s why she’s so content – she has a comedy duet before her eyes every waking moment.  One day she’ll get to be a part of that act, probably sooner than we think.  Until then, we know to enjoy our thumb-sucking, auntie-loving, chubbier-than-ever baby.

Sunny

  

  

 

 

We’ve had some really nice weather here.  Last week it even got up to 78 degrees!  The girls loved it…even Tess.

 

We got a call recently from a woman whose teenage daughters saw Tess’ birth announcement in the paper.  They made their mother call us to congratulate us and let us know that our daughter is going to be very special.  Their names are Tess and Elizabeth.  🙂  A few days later a packaged arrived in the mail from their family.  It included the paper that had the birth announcement (I told her I hadn’t picked one up yet, so she offered to mail me hers), a gift for Tess and a gift for Sophia and Jolie.  Do we live in the coolest place or what?

 

Jolie’s first shiner.  We were visiting some friends when she, in attempt to climb up on to a chair, slipped and hit her eye socket on the table.  A blood vessel popped and now it looks like she is decorated with purple eye shadow.

  

The girls taking a ride in the dock cart.

Meeting Tess

Now that she’s almost a month old, I thought I’d post the video of the girls getting to hold Tess for the first time.  (Note Jolie’s nervous laugh, and Sophia’s beautiful song.)

How to keep baby Tess happy?  Nurse her 24 hours a day.  (Not as easy as it sounds, but it does offer a solution to fussiness.)

How to keep off extra weight?  Make sure my 1-year old and 4-year old are within 100 yards of me when I take a bite of anything.  (They come running and want bites, too, and before I know it, whatever I had prepared for myself is gone.)

How to gain the weight anyway?  Stuff handfuls of peanut M&Ms in my mouth so that when they get to me asking for a bite, I can shrug my shoulders and do the ASL sign for all gone.  (I of course add the “terribly sorry” look.)

How to keep do-dads in my 1-year old’s hair?  Promise treats at the end of a certain time period.  (See Jolie’s new “do” in pictures #2 and #3.)

How to keep the aunties sending care packages with lots of yummy chocolate?  Blog a picture now and again of the nieces in their cute outfits.  (See Tess in picture #1 – sorry it took so long Tara.)

How to make the transition from 2 to 3 kids bearable?  Have a 4 year old that is the biggest helper in the world.  

 

What this last picture doesn’t show is me crying behind the camera this morning because my first baby was on her way to her “first day of school”.  Not only do we live in a place where school starts at age 4 in the pre-K class, but the end of the school year before they enter pre-K, they go to school for a trial period every Friday in the last month of the school year.  Here Sophia is with her back pack all ready.  She got to drive up to the school with her papa and shadow the other students today.  Needless to say, I missed my big helper, but I love that she had so much fun with the other kids.  I also loved getting to peek in on her while she was in the classroom.  What a proud mama I was.

2 Weeks, 2 Days

With each day, I get a little stronger, and Tess gets a little prettier.  For someone who’s not technically old enough to smile yet, she sure does smile a lot.  I even heard her laugh in her sleep the other day.

We’re living these days for the times when Tess is awake.  She follows our voices with her eyes and stares into our faces for minutes at a time.  It makes me think of night 2 in the hospital.  She fussed and fussed in her bassinet until I got her and tried to feed her in the hospital bed.  She wouldn’t eat, but instead just stared into my eyes for about 15 minutes before she fell asleep.  As if she wanted to get a good look at me for the first time.

It’s difficult to admit, but I didn’t really look at her for the first time until the day after she was born.  It seemed I was so preoccupied with my own after birth pains and trying to feed her and feeling so weak that it wasn’t until the next day that I bent my knees up toward the ceiling in my bed and rested her on my legs so that I could really see her face for the first time.  Her lips were pursed and her chin was up.  Her back arched in a stretch.  I noticed how “bald” she was compared to her sisters.  I kissed her neck and felt her chubby flesh against my lips.  I couldn’t believe that I was getting to experience this AGAIN.  I couldn’t believe that God was entrusting me with another life.  I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to have her in my arms, finally.