Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No Napping Saga

I am at my wits end and I seriously feel like I'm losing my mind. I mean how many days in a row can a woman go without having any break whatsoever? I love Bailey with all my heart but I'm completely frustrated and exhausted because I cannot, for the life of me, get that child to take naps. She'll happily sleep if I lay next to her and nurse her for the nap's entirety but that obviously not realistic.

I'm not sure if this is just a phase or what. I really felt like we were getting somewhere a few months back but in the area of napping, she's regressing. I feel a little fried because from sun up to sun down there is not a time when I'm not caring for her. My saving grace is that she sleeps through the night so I at least get that time but during the day, she's constantly attached to me. This means that I can't ever make use of nap time and exercise or do laundry or clean. I can never focus solely on the older girls, who sacrifice so much of me as it is. And I definitely can't just relax. Ever.

To make matters worse, the byproduct of a non-napping baby is a grumpy one. It seems like she's always wanting to be held and nursed in the afternoons, and that's because she's exhausted. She'll usually have a meltdown around dinner time where she ONLY wants to nurse and it's kind of hard to sit there doing that when I'm throwing dinner on the table. It's so frustrating because if I do get her to sleep during these times she'll wake up the second I put her in her crib.

I'm not trying to be overly dramatic here but I'm really feeling very discouraged. Life is wonderful and my precious baby lights up my life.. But in this area, I just feel hopeless. I feel like she'll never nap. Like I'll never rest again. Like what I want to do will never get done. Like I could cry.

I'm not opposed to the Cry-It-Out method, when done correctly. We let Brooke cry around 6 months for a similar reason and it worked wonders for her. We had a happier baby and a MUCH happier Mommy. However, letting Bailey cry seems a lot more challenging because now John works nights and I don't want her screaming to interrupt his sleep, though he swears it won't. I also don't want the other girls' nap time to be messed up either. I know that it would just take a couple of days and she would "get it" but those two days seems like climbing Mt. Everest to me right now.

My asthma has been acting up so bad and I've been up at night not being able to breathe. From that I'm beyond exhausted and I know that that most likely lowers my tolerance for having absolutely NO break during the day. I'm trying to take it one day at a time and prevent myself from looking at it like it will never be any different.. ever.. but that's not so easy. It's just hard to wake up in the morning knowing that you will be "on duty" ALL. DAY. LONG.

Here's to finding a solution to this madness.. And FAST. This is one fried mama right here. Holy smokes!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vacation Recap

Last week we went on a wonderful vacation to the Poconos. It was only about 2.5 hours away, making it perfect for travelling with little ones. We stayed in a house, fully equipped with all of the conveniences of home, and it was so much nicer than being crammed in a hotel room! The girls had a great time and John and I enjoyed our time together as a family SO much! Because pictures say it all, here are some of my favorites...

Monday, August 22, 2011

4... Going on 20!

My Brooke has me cracking up lately. For starters, she thinks that she's way older and far more grown up than she actually is. She thinks that she is everyone's mommy and hardly ever seems to act her age.

We were talking about her going to Pre-K the other day and I said, "Are you going to be sad when you go to school?" She said, "Mom, I'm not going to be sad." I then said, "So you won't even miss me??" She acted all frustrated and stated, "MOM!! I am going to miss you but I WON'T. BE. SAD." Lol. It's just so funny to me how she thinks she's so big. We then had another funny conversation about school a couple of days later. I said, "I can't believe my little girl is going to school in a few weeks!" To which she replied, "Mom, I am FOUR. I'm not just a little girl anymore." In that moment I couldn't help but wonder how that same statement will go over when she graduates, on her wedding day, when she has her first baby, etc... I could get choked up thinking about how quickly the time has flown and how it will only continue at this pace... Or faster.

Sometimes I wish my girl knew how short of a time span her childhood is going to be. She's always worried about things that only I should be worried about. She checks Adrienne for accidents, cleans up after Bailey if she spits up (and gets all offended if I try to do it!), prompts me to help her clean up her toys, etc... I'll admit, she's super helpful, but I want her to run free, make messes, be a KID, and enjoy her life. That girl is one of a kind and she completely melts my heart over and over again everyday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loving Me

I have always been self-conscious about my weight. I was overweight in early elementary school and somehow I still feel like that chubby little girl inside. Fortunately, when I was in 5th grade I took it upon myself to lose the weight and I slimmed right down. We also moved from New Jersey to New York about a year after I became thin so I completely started over without people ever knowing that I was once fat. I never really broke free from feeling fat, despite the fresh start.

Throughout high school I was thin, even though I never felt that way. I look back on pictures of myself and wonder why I was ever insecure about my weight. I was never the kind of person who could eat anything and everything I wanted without gaining weight. I always had to be conscious of what foods I took in so I'm guessing that's why my weight was always on my mind.

When I got pregnant with Brooke I gained a lot of weight and when I look back at pictures, my face was SO FAT! It's hard to believe how big I got. Between Brooke and Adrienne I didn't really focus too much on my body because I knew that I would be wanting to get pregnant again relatively soon. After Adrienne was born, however, I dropped most of the baby weight and worked out faithfully. I had finally accepted my body type and I felt pretty decent about my figure.. Until, I unexpectedly got pregnant with Bailey.

Immediately after Bailey was born I was determined to get back to the "old me." Knowing that I would never have to "share" my body again kind of fuelled my motivation to work extra hard on my figure. When I came home from the hospital from delivering her I had automatically lost 27 pounds. Then, when she was just about 2 weeks old I joined Weight Watchers. My goal was to drop another 25 pounds. At the time, it didn't seem possible but week after week I pressed on. The WW plan was awesome and it was actually super easy to lose the weight... Fun, even! I'm only 3 pounds shy of that 25 pound goal and I finally just cancelled my WW subscription because I actually feel confidant enough to do it on my own now.

Here's the problem, though... Here I am, at a weight that I haven't been at in about 5 years and I feel absolutely NO different. My clothes are falling off, people are commenting on my weight loss (which embarrasses me every time!) and I've dropped at least 3 pants sizes. Still, when I look in the mirror I see the same Jillian that I saw 22 pounds ago. I always imagined how I would feel when I was this weight again. I thought that I would feel gorgeous. I thought that I would feel confident in my appearance and proud of the effort I put forth, but somehow I don't.

I'm supposed to be raising confident, secure women in this house, as a mother of three girls. How in the world am I supposed to do that when I don't even feel that way? I would be deeply saddened if my own insecurities about my body ever translated onto Brooke, Adrienne, or Bailey and I found out that they, too, had these feelings. I guess loving me has to come from within and not from what's on the exterior. We're living in a world that bases just about everything on beauty and how thin you are and it's so hard to depart from that in my own personal line of thinking.

I'm learning more and more on this weight loss journey that being a child of the KING is what really matters. Without that, any earthly achievement won't matter. It's okay to want to be thin and healthy but that needs to be secondary to being complete in who Christ wants me to be. My prayer is that I will become content in this imperfect body and focus more on the heart of the issue!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ready for Fall!

Fall is by far my most favorite time of the year. I could list endless reasons why, but this year, I am particularly excited to get the girls back into some type of regular routine. This summer has included a new baby, which shook us up quite a bit, and a pretty carefree schedule. I long for the coming days where we'll buckle down into a more solid schedule.

Brookie definitely got the morning class at school, which is great! I look forward to the quality time that I'll have for Adrienne while Bailey naps and Brooke is gone. I think it will be really good for her to have a little bit extra of me... And me a little bit extra of her:)

Adrienne is also going to be starting gymnastics on Tuesday mornings. It's a "Mommy and Me" class so I'll have to go in with her and chase her around, with Bailey in tow, but I think it will be worth it. After all, I did it when Brooke was that age! One of my friends is going to take the class with us. Her daughter is a few days younger than Adrienne so it should be lots of fun!

I'm still not quite so sure what to do with Brooke and gymnastics. She wants to continue going because she loves it but the class that she's been in since she started is on Tuesday mornings. It will be impossible for her to do that with her school schedule. I could take her to an evening class but then we would have to rush out of the house another night of the week. Or, I could take her on Saturday mornings but then we wouldn't have one single morning where we didn't have something to wake up and do. Ya know? Sunday mornings are so busy so I kind of want Saturdays to be a morning to move kind of slow. She's really awesome at gymnastics and is learning so much so I don't want to pull her out if that's what she wants to do. We'll see...

Wow, when I sat down to type this I was excited. Now that I've finished, though, I'm a little anxious. This gives me a lot to think about and take in. Part of me is ready for the change that will come this Fall but now that it's all written down, YIKES! One step at a time, right?? Everything will turn out great... It always does!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Day Where I Didn't Chose Joy

I really think that joy is something you have to aim for each day. True joy can only come from the Lord and if it's the real deal, you still have peace inside when your kids are acting up, when the baby won't nap, when getting dinner on the table is utter chaos. When you have joy, you just know it!

Well, this morning, I woke up defeated already. I know what the Bible says about the joy of the Lord being our strength but honestly, I was having a hard time leaning on that today. To put it best, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The girls were up abnormally early, which is frustrating. I also knew that John would be working overtime tonight (going in at 7 instead of 11) and for some reason, that just makes me cast a dark shadow on the whole day. The morning was rough... Bailey wanted to nurse during her entire nap, even though she always takes a nap in her crib. Brooke had been begging for her nails to be painted and I kept promising her "when Bailey is done eating" and that took a better part of the morning. Adrienne was into the bathroom playing with the water over and over again. A bunch of little things seemed to be causing me stress and I was completely overwhelmed.

At about 9:45 I heard the front door open. I wasn't expecting any company, though I was so lonely that I wanted it desperately. In walked my wonderful Daddy, who is one of my favorite people in the universe. He brought me a huge fountain Diet Coke, which anyone who knows me knows that that's the way to my heart. Lol. It was such a blessing to see him. As if that wasn't enough, he said he had to run out to the car and get something. In he walked with a brand new Kitchen Aid stand mixer in cherry red!!!!!!!! I had mentioned to my parents that I wanted one a few weeks ago and I NEVER expected them to just go get it. I was so excited and felt SO loved that I cried. It was just amazing!

My Dad, who is also my pastor, gave me a great pep talk. Dads are great, aren't they? Especially MY Daddy:-) I felt a lot better afterwards and I was so, so excited to try out my new mixer!

Here's the thing though... I was happy about the mixer. I was happy that my Dad took time out of his busy day to come see me. BUT, as wonderful as those things are, I wasn't full of joy because of them. Not even the best of circumstances can give you joy. I know this because just as quickly as my happiness came it left.. When nap time didn't go quite as I had planned. It quickly diminished throughout the afternoon while the girls fought and while Bailey resisted her second nap of the day.

I was kind of in a fog tonight after John left for work. Exhausted. Frustrated. Lonely. Weary. Some days of parenting are like that. In my 4.5 years of being a Mommy I have learned that for every day like this there are many more awesome ones and you just have to trek through. I would like to say that next time I will chose joy and not let uncontrollable circumstances dictate my mood but I can't promise that. I'm only human and am never going to be the wife, the mom, the daughter, the child of God that I'm called to be. However, tomorrow is a new day and I CAN wake up determined to have joy and not allow this shifting world around me to bog me down!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Beauty Marks"

My sweet Bailey has two precious birthmarks. One is on her foot and one is on her left forearm. They are both pretty pronounced but obviously the one on her arm is more noticeable because it's on a more prevalent place of her body. In fact, the very first thing I noticed about my girl when she was born was her birthmark. It just makes her HER! (The above picture was taken shortly after her birth and you can clearly see her birthmark.)

People are so mean and thoughtless. Complete strangers ask, "What happened to her arm?" One lady said, "That baby has a bruise!" But today, when a random lady at the store came up and said, "Oh my word! Your baby got burned!" I almost lost it. Who does she think she is??? I was about to give her a few of my own words when John spoke up. He politely looked at her and said, "It's a beauty mark!" I was thankful that he kindly said something because what was about to roll off my tongue wasn't quite as nice.

I love Bailey's birthmarks! I think it makes her unique and it only adds to her beauty. It makes me sad to think that people will most likely make rude comments about it through the years. When I see her "beauty marks" I am so incredibly thankful that God made Bailey "fearfully and wonderfully" and like nobody else in this massive universe. She is so incredibly special and these birthmarks only add to that!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sleeping Babies

Each night after everyone has gone to bed I sigh a huge sigh of relief. I pick up loose ends around the house, tripping on a million toys in process, and somehow the quietness seems odd to me. After all, the days are filled with anything BUT silence!

When I finish tidying up, I go upstairs and tiptoe into my daughters' rooms, so as to not wake them. Brooke is sprawled out on her bed to the point that her tiny 32 pound self seems to completely fill it. Adrienne is lying on her belly with her butt way up into the air... One finger in her "booper" (or belly button) and her thumb on the other hand is in her mouth. As for Bailey, she is on her belly resting soundly and peacefully. She is so at rest that I have to feel her chest to make sure she is still breathing. They all look so angelic and I just stare at them because I'm taken back by their incredible beauty. In that moment, I can't believe that these children are actually mine.

Then, something happens in the silence... I begin to wish for that day back, regardless of how rough it may have been. If only I could have loved them more. If only I could have not lost my temper while playing referee during their hundredth fight. If only I could have put the broom down and read them another book. If only I could have acted more excited over their accomplishments. If only I could have hugged them longer or soaked up their slobbery kisses more.

There is just something about my babies when they're sleeping. They inspire me to make tomorrow better and to fill it with as much love as I possibly can.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oh to be Computer Savvy!

I just spent over an hour working on this darn blog to get it to look like.... This. UGH! Maybe running AND blog design are two things I should throw out the window? Perhaps I'll just stick to being a mommy and cooking and cutting out coupons for now:)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Changes are Coming

This Fall is going to be strange, to say the least. Brookie will be going to Pre-K and it will be the first time that I've sent her to any type of school. I've never dropped her off with a bunch of strangers before so this is going to be HARD.

We wrestled with decision for so many months. I was going to send her to preschool last year but seeing as how I HATE school, I kind of wanted to keep her out of that structure for as long as I could. This year I really didn't want to send her off but after much thought, I realized that it would be a disservice to shove her out the door to kindergarten next year without first letting her test the waters.

She'll be attending the universal Pre-K program in our school district which will either be from 8:15- 10:45 in the morning or from 11:30 to 2 in the afternoon 5 days a week. We requested the morning program but have yet to hear if we got it or not. Either way, picking her up and dropping her off will pretty much consume my day.

We were going to send her to a private preschool here in our little town but the curriculum and facility didn't nearly compare to the public school program. We would have spent the money on it if we felt it was best for her but the universal Pre-K gets rave reviews from everyone we talk to. When we met with the teachers for the screening we were amazed at how they brought Brooke out of her shell and related to her. It was really reassuring! It's also nice because she'll be with the same kids that will attend kindergarten with her next year and she'll also be in the same building for the rest of her elementary school career.

It's going to be convenient that John works nights because he gets home at 7:30 in the morning. That way he'll either be able to run her down to school or sit with Adrienne and Bailey so I won't have to lug them out each morning. They have bus transportation but there is NO way my baby girl is getting on that bus! She seems to think she'll be fine but that's why I'm the mom here:-)

We went today and got her all news clothes and shoes for school and her daddy will be taking her for a trip to pick out her new lunchbox and backpack. It's really setting in that my oldest baby is about to go off into this big, cruel world. It helps that she's so excited and beaming with happiness every time someone asks her about it. I know she'll succeed but the thought of being away from her every day is a little hard to swallow.

Man, I never thought this day would come so quickly. It's just Pre-K but I'm starting to realize that she'll never again just be home as my baby with no agenda. Kind of sad but VERY exciting for her! I'm so looking forward to watching my girl as she grows and adjusts to this next phase of her life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Running.... BLEK!

Well, after taking my entire pregnancy with Bailey off from exercising, plus the first 4 months of her life, I decided it was time to get back into the swing of things. I really am not the type that enjoys physical activity but I LOVE how it makes me feel about myself. It boosts my self image and confidence. Not to mention, it's super good for you, too!

I had been super into aerobics while losing the baby weight from Adrienne and I really enjoyed it. However, having THREE kids now, it's hard to find time alone to fit in the aerobics. Even if John watches the girls for me, they are still present and interested in what I'm doing. It's not that I so much mind that but I feel guilty if someone gets in a fight or starts crying and I don't acknowledge what's going on.

So, my sister had been doing this program called "Couch to 5K" which trains you to go from not running at all to running a, you guessed it, 5K (3.1 miles). She looks great from her running and seems to really be making amazing strides so I jumped on her "band wagon." I'm now on week 2 of this whole process and I HATE it. Not just a little bit but with a passion. The problem is that I have a bad case of asthma and I wake up at night gasping for breath so you can imagine what running does to these awful lungs of mine. I come home from my runs feeling like I'm going to die but I keep telling myself that this is normal and that my endurance will increase. It has to, RIGHT???

I'm also wondering what will happen if I end up enjoying the running... Will I be able to run in the ice and snow? And will my lungs allow me to run, even in the Fall where I usually get EXTREMELY sick? Fall is, by far, the worst season for my asthma and I often end up with at least one trip the hospital. It's horrible. I guess I'm afraid that I'll finally start to succeed at this and then my body will shut down, like it does every year.

Who knows... Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll feel better about running. As for now, I really do hate it. I'm stubborn, though, and I am dead set on succeeding at this.. Even if it kicks my butt... and my lungs!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

4-Month Stats

Well, it seems as though my littlest girl is not so little after all! She had her 4-month appointment today and she weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds, 5 ounces and was 24. inches long. She's in the 95th percentile for weight and 75th for height!! Wow.

I went back and looked at her bigger sisters' stats and Brookie was 15 pounds and Adrienne was 15.5. It's funny to me because Bailey was my smallest baby at birth by a few ounces and she's now my biggest baby. The other girls were shorter than her at this age though so she probably gets some of that extra weight from her length.

It's hilarious to me because my girls stop growing once they hit one, basically. They get big SUPER quick and level off once they start moving around. Adrienne was 20 pounds at 1 and is now only 23 pounds. It's hard to believe that she and Bailey are only about 7 pounds apart.

I'm always happy to get a clean bill of health for my baby, chubby and all! I'm so thankful for her in every way:-)