Monday, November 30, 2015

Thea is Two-Months

i love you mom from abbie zoe and elaina   [Kids snuck onto my computer and typed that and it's just too sweet to delete!]

My six babies

I feel our family has been in the pit the better part of the year and we seem to be coming to the other side of a lot of absolute junk that has been going on. Being pregnant for 9 months of it made small problems seem huge, too. I cried more this year than I have my entire married life (almost 11 years). And no, no marital problems. But dealing with life stresses can put a strain on even the strongest couple. Happy to say we're still best friends, lol.

Being pregnant is such a joy but it's also not an easy responsibility. It's very taxing on your body, on your mind, on your emotions. I'm absolutely and wholeheartedly grateful for my sweet Thea but being pregnant was difficult. I wish I could say I am at my best during pregnancy but pain, fatigue and hormones make me feel like an overstimulated, caged feline. Couple that feeling with being stuck at home (Daniel drove his pickup to work and that's the only car we've had for a year) and you get some mad cabin fever. I really struggled with some blues after she was born. I didn't miss being pregnant but I was weepy because I knew she'd grow so fast. She is my last baby so I didn't want her to lose all her newborn-ness so quickly. I'd kind of laugh-cry because I'm not a crier and I felt silly for feeling so weepy.

She's over two-months-old now and I've been feeling much better and more myself. It feels like she's always been with us. I keep forgetting she's still so little because she's growing so fast and she just belongs. She was meant for our family. She is cooing and super smiley. She is trying to reach for toys and staying awake for longer periods of time. She is a fan of mommy and Elaina holding her but may put up a fuss with others unless she has her binky. She doesn't really cry. She'll fuss but she hasn't really cried uncontrollably or anything (Silas, my sweet boy, cried a lot so maybe his babyhood being freshest in my mind is why I'm so shocked that she's almost always happy). She sleeps really well at night but I still wake up to check on her. She may go 6-8 hours without waking/nursing at night.

We have a family car now that fits all 8 of us comfortably. Yay for no more cabin fever! We got an Expedition XLT. It's like a circus act getting everyone in and out, though, ha! I'll be taking all six kids to the store by myself tomorrow and I'm super grateful that Elaina helps me out a lot.

Elaina and Thea, the biggest and the littlest

Thursday, November 5, 2015

One Month Old

It is still surreal to know I have four daughters and two sons. When Elaina was a month old I dolled her up in this pretty cream romper with soft pastel pink flowers and got a few pictures. When Abigail came along I pulled the same romper out and ended up with a similar photo/pose for her one-month photo. So I continued the tradition and have a picture of each of my girls sleeping in the romper at the same exact age. They all look so different and yet you can tell they're sisters. My first three girls had a little fuzz for hair but Thea had a lot of hair! She's lost quite a bit of it but still has more than her sisters did at their first birthdays.

Sweet sleepy girl. She has tiny storkbites on her eyelids. She sleeps so well for a new baby! One month at 10/13/15.

She's wondering what the big flashy thing is that I keep pointing at her (camera).

This is the end of her grin. She has these HUGE, silent grins. Seriously the most joyful baby.

Some cute shots. At first she wasn't sure about sitting propped up, then she saw me, smiled and about fell over with her full body grin. Swoon!

I waited a long, long time to bathe this beauty. I wiped her neck and underarms when necessary but otherwise she didn't get a bath until she was over a month old. I have only washed her hair with water and thus far no cradle cap (I swear even the eco-conscious stuff can cause that junk). I don't have an infant tub so we used the sink. She was unsure at first but was okay once she adjusted to the water. Just check out those delicious chunky rolls! She's got rolls on top of rolls. She's even more roly-poly since this pic was taken a few weeks ago.

Fixer Upper

We have been working on our house exterior since March of this year. Replaced wood rot, scraped and painted and replaced the roof. Our house was built in 1909. We've had a lot of things we've had to fix, upgrade and replace on this old house. The exterior was no exception! So let's go on a little journey... you get to see it all in one post but it took months (and a LOT of tears on my part) to get from this first pic to the last!

Replace wood rot.

Unfortunately these guys didn't hang the gutters back up correctly after they replaced rotted wood. Wood that rotted due to poorly hung gutters. So if you recall this was a very wet year for the Midwest. It rained almost an entire month after we got the wood replaced. I bawled my eyes out every time because water would leak between the gutter and house and it would leak into the house. The new wood itself did look good and all ended up being well! Just wish they had hung the gutters up better.

STEP TWO: Scrape and paint!
Colors are Lagoon and Alabaster (Sherwin Williams)

The painters started in September when Thea was one-week-old, giving us only a few hours notice that they would begin work. Daniel started a new job where he was up all night. I was up all night with the baby. Painters started early, right as the sun came up, for 10 business days. Due to lead paint I actually took all six kids over to my in-laws' house for the first couple days while scraping was done. It was insane!

I was so nervous when I saw just the blue on the house with all the old brown trim. But the white trim started balancing it all out. This paint company was overpriced and underwhelming, very sloppy. We complained and got some money off but overall I would not recommend the company. I'm going to have to fix some things on the first level. I hate hiring people to do work, have I ever mentioned that? The end result is still beautiful overall...

Ta da!


Our roof was 100% free to us and they did a phenomenal I-can't-complain job. Funnily enough we had issues with the contractors who replaced the rotted wood and the painters, both of which were paid by us. Go figure! I assume their good job was due to the fact that the city inspector inspects the work when they're done. Can't beat free and can't beat a job that is done well.

So how was the roof free?! I saw that a grant was available for weatherization and roofing on our city website. I applied to have our roof replaced. We were approved!

The city sent out their professional inspector and he measured everything and wrote up the work order. The city hired the roofers and paid them from the grant money. We picked out our shingle color (dark charcoal) from a limited selection. Roofers came out the week after the painters left and got the old roof removed and the new one laid in just three days. They kicked butt and our roof looks amazing! They caulked, put in new flashing, and properly replaced rotted wood around the chimney stack where it would leak (the contractor we hired and paid to do that, back at Step One, didn't do it right and it still leaked).

I was so ecstatic for the first rain to fall after the roofers were done. I had to wait several days and finally it rained... and NO LEAKS. Roofs are so expensive. We would never have been able to afford it after all the other work we had done. I am so grateful for the grant. I am grateful that I don't have leaks inside anymore. If the roofers hadn't come and done the work, fixed the gutters... we'd be causing more damage and making more expensive fixes later on. THANK YOU ROOFERS!


If you've followed me for a long time then you know we've been waiting for this moment for several years. She's finally painted up and all pretty! The porch needs attention but at least the major, major work is done.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Goodbye October

We just celebrated the last birthday of the year, for our little (er big) family with Zoe turning 6 at October's end. I'm so behind on recording all the funnies, all the difficult moments... our lives. I try so hard to not get on the computer all day so blogging often escapes my thoughts until I'm in bed. Then I'm too tired!

But enough of that! Check out these cheeks. Here's Thea at one-month-old! She was sitting up but fell over and was making silly faces.

One-month and tuckered out. She is so so so peaceful. When she does cry it is so cute it about breaks your heart and you want to drop everything and make it all better.

Oh hey, I have other kiddos! Look, I got all six of them in a picture. This is the first pic of all six of my babies together, on Halloween of all days. Coordinating them into clothes with brushed hair and good attitudes is next to impossible. There's always the ONE kid (or two) who has to rebel. But Halloween? They were more than cooperative, as I said I wanted a pic before we went out!

We've got Elsa, Iron Man, a Renaissance princess (her dress is amazing; reminds me of Merida's in Once Upon a Time), a unicorn and Batman! Thea didn't have a costume. She wore her skull booties and a crocheted pumpkin hat while I wore her in the Moby-style carrier.

Get this: I took all six out trick-or-treating BY MYSELF. They did really well. Just had a few touch-and-go moments with the 2-year-old but thankfully our neighborhood is blocked off from traffic during trick-or-treat. We stayed out for quite a bit and had fun. I made baked macaroni-and-cheese for dinner (I used Muenster in it, which all the kids pronounce as Monster Cheese) and we watched Halloween Wars. The kids ate so much candy when we got home and got busy trading their goodies.

Silas was SO cute trick-or-treating. He's a pretty ornery kid. But he just grinned and grinned at everyone. He refused to say "trick or treat". One woman bent down to his level and asked him to say it. He grinned at her for a solid 20 seconds before he sweetly said, "No" and then giggled. She busted up laughing and gave him the candy. He kept trying to look at everyone behind us so I was pretty much dragging him house-to-house. Every time he got a piece of candy he giggled and just had so much wonder and joy in his eyes. I love seeing things through the eyes of a toddler! All is so shiny and new and joyous.

Another Silas funny: he loves to tell a joke. But before I get to that I have to explain that we are Whovians (and by "WE" I do mean every single person under the roof of my house, kids included). We watch Dr. Who weekly. We obsess over all the toys and gadgets one can buy. My kids pretend-play Dr. Who all day, everyday. They LOVE it.

So Silas loves to tell his joke:
Silas: "Knock knock!"
Me: "Who's there?"
Silas: "Doctor."
Me: "Doctor Who?"

Cue insane giggling. Every time! It never gets old to him.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Baby Pics

Thea is almost 2-months old now but here are some pictures of her during her newborn stage. She was born with more hair than any of her other siblings. It's also the darkest haired baby I've had (Daddy has black hair). Her eyes are blue and getting lighter and brighter as time goes on.

Breastfeeding is going great now. But the first couple weeks were really hard. She has a tiny mouth, I was tender and I had the worst afterbirth pains than any other time. Then I got a milk blister (it feels like someone is grinding shards of glass into your flesh when baby latches on - it hurts SO bad!). After the blister healed and the afterbirth pains stopped and her latch improved... we're doing great. I haven't had to supplement and she's SO chubby even her rolls have rolls!

We are cosleeping but she likes her own space. She doesn't like to sleep in the crook of my arm. She prefers to be near but doesn't have to be ON me, like most of her siblings needed to be. It has meant decent sleep for me, for the most part. Sometimes she likes to wake up and party for a couple hours at night, from time-to-time.

As far as personality: she is super smiley and happy and sweet. She rarely gets upset and is easily consoled. She lets me put her down for decent amounts of time so I can get some things done real quick and get back to snuggling her. She's also pretty quiet, content to watch everyone and even doze off on her own (like she did just now when I set her in the bouncer so I could get some homeschool lessons done).

She's the perfect little addition to our family!