I did not want to title this post "updates" like so many of my previous ones. Every time (ok, the few times), I pop in here, it's been a long time since my last post. I'm finding it very difficult to either have time to blog, energy to blog, or I have a ginormous case of writer's block. Our days are so incredibly busy, so I'm sure there are things to share, but nevertheless, my days end without a new post.
To be completely honest, part of me has been feeling swallowed up by my days. We are finally getting into a rhythm I think...the rhythm of our family of 4 on "normal" days or weeks. This Spring and Summer was one activity after another since Lydia was born, and I guess I need some down time...or quiet time. We went to Michigan for our family reunion, we had VBS, we had our church basketball camp, and weekends out of town most of the summer for additional extended family time, etc. I guess it's just life...always changing.
First of all, our house needs work! I need time to clean it top to bottom. Really clean and organize. It's just very difficult to do right now. Stevie occupies himself quite well...until I attempt to get something done and another mess is made by his 2 year old hands. :) Lydia often speaks up when I'm trying to get things done too. I've learned I have 30.2 seconds to throw a diaper away, wash a bottle, and use the bathroom myself. And, I only have 2 children.
So, I suppose I'll share some of the changes going on here...that are helping me not feel so swallowed by my days.
Lydia is growing up! She has nearly gotten over the colicky-ness she had! Umm, that's a big reason there wasn't much blogging going on! After 4 months, I've figured out chocolate is a doosey for her. (Oreos, cookies, chocolate ice cream,and chocolate animal crackers in particular...) And all the crying left this Mama in search of chocolate! What a terrible cycle we were stuck in until I figured it out. We thought it may be milk so I cut out quite a bit from my diet, but it didn't help every time. And sometimes, we were all out stumped by the cause (apparently part of the definition of colic). At 3 months, she was a lot better, and at 4 months...sooo much better and happier. She is so much less gassy, and her diapers smell more normal, haha.
Lydia's also getting about half formula now (regular formula...another reason we don't believe milk to have been the issue) and half me. After so many sacrifices, I had to finally just let what happens, happen. I'm not a crazy breastfeeding lady. I just want to give my kids the health benefits of nursing for at least 6 months, and my body is dead-set against keeping up with my kids. The herbs really helped, but we hit that terrible hot week/s in July while we were camping in Michigan and it was over. I drank and drank water, took my herbs, and pumped for a half hour to barely get an oz. What broke this camel's back, was coming home to find our freezer door was left unsealed...and the contents were thawed, some refrozen...including the tears, sweat, and work of 11 bags of milk stored (a little less by that point because she was eating more). I pumped and pumped and tried feeding her all day during growth spurts. I was even getting up at night to pump while she slept (and yes, that is absolutely insane). I've also had other nursing issues I'm not going to get into here. So, if there are other mothers who have gone through the same, I understand!
Anyway, now she gets "only" a bottle at dinner time, and I don't even pump! The feeling of this...well, it's enough to topple me over with joy! I can "fix" dinner (with intermittent interruptions) and give her a bottle without pumping after! It's really the break I need. So, on the nice weather days, I lace up my shoes, give Matt the bottle and our sweet little girl, and I head out for a run! 15 minutes (haha, for now...boy does having babies change this body) of rejuvenation! I love my kids dearly, and those 15 minutes away, renews me and energizes me. Yup, even if it's only 15 minutes. Then I come in and Matt usually takes his turn to go for a run or bike ride and take Stevie, which he loves! It's a win, win, win. I really treasure the time I have with Matt when he gets home from work, so I used to drag my feet about going out for a run (and you know, not go!). Then I realized how little time I'm actually away and how much better I feel, and well, I'm hooked. (On most days...so far..., I'm back to being hooked. ;) )
Another thing I've done is...ok, don't laugh... I've signed up for chore lists that come in a daily email. I actually look forward to seeing what things are on the list each day. You see, when I make my own to-do list, I write everything that needs to be done and am discouraged if I don't finish it...let alone get past the first 2 things. The email focuses on one "room" in the house per day and gives 9 "options". The goal is to complete 3. I love it. You pick 3 and that's your goal...completing any tasks beyond that is also very encouraging for this gal! (So, it doesn't always take much for me.) I have a manageable goal each day for this season of my life! If you're interested, I'll share the site.
I have also implemented "Table Time" for Stevie each day around 10am. (The teacher in me can't stay away for too long.) The first week or so has gone pretty well. He sits in his booster seat at the table with a snack first. Then he has a little art caddy (thank you Target dollar bins!) that contains a few items for him to do or play with each day. I try to coordinate this with Lydia's morning nap (that also seems to last 30.2 seconds, haha, where does the time go?). Stevie gets some extra attention and special time from me while I set him up. Some of the things in his box (only 2 or 3 each day) are different books, magnetic ABC's and a tin to stick them to, construction trucks and quick oats, play-doh, coloring books and markers/crayons, a white board, little cars, etc. (I'll probably do a whole post about this with pictures.) This table time serves a few purposes. I really felt like Stevie needed some extra special time now that he's a big brother especially. With Lydia being so needy since her arrival, I want to be sure he knows how special he is too. So, he gets a little extra attention and time away from his sister... and also away from his beloved Bob and Larry and the t.v.! He gets to play with some different things than usual, and after he's set playing, I'm a little more free to throw a load of laundry in or get something done. I also figure it's not bad for him to have some organized sitting time too. We encourage him to sit with us during church with his church bag most Sundays, but we also let him play in the nursery when he needs to get extra wiggles out. Another perk of this time is knowing where he is and what kind of mess he's making. ;) So far, he's really liked it.
I guess overall, I've been really encouraged with more structure to our day, and Matt and I are working on our goals for our family days for now and in the future. I am still definitely open to fun "extras" and ditching the schedule every now and then, but I think this just helps us run better. I'll take any tips from other moms...especially moms of more children (who may or may not be laughing about my getting the swing of 2 kids).