Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gentle Reminders

While I in no way feel like an ole' pro right now, I do feel like we are moving more in to the world of routine. One month in and life as a family of six is starting to feel slightly normal. Let's be blunt... I am no longer counting heads as we leave a place to make sure we didn't leave one behind. That constitutes success for me.

Having arrived in this much calmer, a bit more even-keeled place, I am now able to look back on some of my pre-Annie obsessions and have a little giggle. I sure can be pretty dramatic, no? In one of my more tearful stages of pregnancy denial (read: anywhere really between month one and seven), I was often in complete turmoil over the fact that there would be an 8 year (EIGHT YEARS!) gap between my oldest and youngest. How would they ever come to be close???

Perhaps, I should have remembered to which oldest kid I was referring to...

Our Molly girl. She's always had a fierce love for those siblings of hers...

It is this. This single moment on a random afternoon, when I happen to click a seemingly nothing picture on my phone. Seconds later, I look down and I am completely lost in the beauty of it. While just a picture to most, this is a Momma memory from years ago that carved a gentle and soft space in my heart. You fellow Moms know exactly what I mean. It is in this moment that I am reminded of all the beauty that grows out of the unexpected. Give love and just let love grow. And you know what... even in the worst of instances imaginable (hello, pediatric ER)... that love grows right on through. It calms a weary heart. 

Another delightful surprise? My sweet son, the lone male kid in this house of girls. Initially, I had worried for him with all of this... perhaps feeling isolated... alone.

I should have known that I'd birth his mini-me.

Sometimes, it is okay to not be in control. I am so thankful for the gentle reminders.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

1 Month in!

It is so very hard to believe that sweet Annabel has now been a part of our daily life for an entire month. I say this... but when I think about the sleepy nights, engorgement, issues with latching, 18 million pediatrician visits (thank you, hip dysplasia and jaundice!), piles of laundry and treks with 4 kids out in the real world... when I think about that part? Yeah, a month seems about right.

We have been so so blessed to have such incredible community this past month. Seriously, I'll start crying right here at the ole' keyboard if I think about it too long. In 4 weeks, we have had countless visitors, love texts from afar, 4 weeks of 4 nights/week of dinners brought to us (and they are still coming! LOVE me some care calendar), fun mail and my sister-in-law even paid to have my house deep cleaned by a maid service just yesterday. That joy... that walk in to a clean house that you didn't have to clean kind of joy? Well, let's just say that it ranks up there with joy of new babies in  my life. Shallow? Maybe. But, I'm owning it.

We have also been VERY VERY fortunate that our littlest love as our Orthopedic Surgeon put it, "quite possibly the most mellow baby he has ever seen". Sure, she is going to scream at you if she gets hungry... but who wouldn't?! Try to mess with her hip in a brace... accidentally push on her body a bit too rough (ahem, Lucy), bang 8 million pot lids together right by her little ole' sleeping space. At most you'll get a squeak... perhaps a big ole smile if you are lucky.

We sure do love our super lazy lady.

She is slowly starting to wake up more which is pretty fantastic. Especially since now, at any given moment we are met with this super smile...

Asleep time... awake time...

 I'll take whatever I can get with this ladybug. We love our "Nanners", so!  Excited for all that is in store next month!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Days of School

Back to school season is hands down my favorite time to look at social media. All these little pictures of kiddos in their back to school gear, faces beaming and the day full of limitless potential for greatness... forget the thermometer... the season is changing!!

Annnnnnd, this morning I might have celebrated with a pumpkin spice latte just to stick my Fall stamp of approval on it. 

Molly and Gabriel started back last Tuesday. First and Third grade never looked so good.

 or felt quite so magical.

Not to be out done, our little spit-fire started at preschool this morning at a brand new school right by our house. While I am sad to be away from our beloved Tiger Robin and friends, I am excited to have all my little chicks a little closer to home.

Lucy woke up with a smile, ready to rock some french braids, her rainbow dash necklace...

And start her day at school.

I walked back to the car after dropoff this morning stifling a little giggle because this new school has NO idea who just breezed through their doors. They'll catch on quick!!

I returned home, threw on pajama pants and snuggled my newest little all morning long. Not a bad start to the school year at all.

Cuteness overload

Just because I am slightly embarrassed with how much I have blown up Facebook and Instagram with my pictures of Annie, I have been saving these ones for the ole' blog. I know that it is likely that I have a horrible case of parent goggles but I think that these are all precious.

So, prepare yourself for cuteness overload. Annnnnnd don't say I didn't warn you!!!

Be still my heart.

Keepin' it real

I can't tell you how many times we have mentioned to each other just how thankful we are to have a sleepy and happy baby. I say this with full knowledge that regardless of how sleepy and quiet your kiddo is... no new baby is easy. We are exhausted. Bone deep exhaustion which we work really hard to not show to our other three kids. Let's be honest. 2 weeks from school starting, 100 plus temperatures outside and the overall odor from my less than ideally clean self... I think they are on to us.

Big families are really fun and hard and loud and... just about any other adjective you could think of. And with working in health care, I know how much hard we have avoided with four separate births.With Annie, our little hiccups here at the start have been minute compared to all the possible medical needs, developmental stressors, financial strain that could exist... We are humbled and grateful.

So, when our doctor told us that Annie's biliruben levels were on the rise, we really weren't all that surprised. I mean, we were 4 for 4 in the whole jaundice way of the world. Annnd... just like with each baby... the levels are slightly higher than the rest. So... we trekked to our awesome pedi office and welcomed our newest little glow worm to the May clan.

She's pretty cute, no?

Don't get me wrong... jaundice is no laughing matter but the "gear" was down right hilarious. Annie was ready to hit the slopes. 

 Luckily, a week in and she was off the bili bed. Just in time to get all fancy, head to the doctor...

and add a new little bit of apparel to our lives. Hooray, Pavlik Harness. 

It would seem that if you spend majority of your gestation holding on to your ankles like a folding lawn chair and then decide to enter this world sunny-side up, your hips, well... they don't like to stay in one place. So Annie, will be rocking this Pavlik harness for a good little bit while her hips (fingers crossed, and toes and everything else possible!!) stabilize in the joints. Right now, she has to be in it for 24 straight hours and I am hoping here in a week or so, we can finally take it off for a bath. Kid's getting ripe!!! This is one time that I am praying she doesn't take after her mom and can avoid a full on surgery, closed reduction and good deal of time in a full body Spica cast. How do you even begin to buckle that up in a car seat?? Let's hope we don't have to find out. September 3rd will be the date that we know more if surgery is on the horizon at our follow up ultrasound. Prayers are greatly appreciated!

The questions from little kids and parents out in the community have been my most favorite part. I love how kids are so comfortable with their innocent curiosity and general concern for our baby's well-being. And I love how uncomfortable those questions make their parents. Haha! The kids ask questions, I give the answers and then they just go on like it was nothing and love on my baby. So validating to my profession that highlights the importance of children understanding medical issues on a level they can process.

Jaundice, sleepy baby, hips out of their joints... still the ultimate snugglebug.

Sweet sure know how to calm our sleepy hearts.

Stay tuned for updates!!

Quick Cake.

When you have a 10 day old it is pretty expected that some key things are going to get pushed to the side. Um... hello... Showering???? But. I really didn't expect to overlook something as major as you know---ordering your oldest child's birthday cake. Whoops. Sorry, Molly. We will try again next year.

Luckily, we already had Molly's friend birthday in July because I was completely prepared for my overall lack of quality parenting. I am still high-fiving myself about that one. We really did have a lot of fun and at 9 months pregnant during a Texas summer, there was no place I would rather be than a pool. 

I documented all that quality fun in one single picture taken at the party.

Bam. Proof of fun.

So. Fast forward an action packed month to August 14th when we are sitting at a stoplight mid-afternoon where I casually overhear Molly tell Gabriel, "I can't wait to see my frozen cake tonight."

Um.... well...

So, in case you too ever find yourself in this fairly common predicament (read: I am not a neglectful parent this probably happens all the time... right???) this is how you fix it in a flash.

Recipe for: Holy Crap I need a Disney masterpiece of a cake on the fly

Step 1: Park in the closest spot you can grab at grocery store and throw kids in the cart. The more that fit the better. Shoes are NOT a necessity.

Step 2: Push the cart faaaaaaaaar too fast down the aisles and maintain a crazy look in your eye. The crazier you look, the more likely you are that people will actually get out of your way. 

Step 3: Buy a cake that looks something like this.

Step 4: Don't panic. Bright clown looking cake will go away soon.

Step 5: Grab sugar cubes, and a tub of white frosting. 

Step 6: Race home, avoid your husband's questions regarding your plan... if in need.. just shoot him the crazy look you used in the grocery store. If he has any sort of survival skills, he will offer to help or back away quietly.

Step 7: Scrape off balloons. Mix, very little blue dye in the white tub of frosting and do one final layer on the cake.

Step 8: Line with sugar cubes (aka ice blocks), ransack your preschooler's room for hidden frozen characters and write your child's name with cookie frosting you purchased a couple months ago. 

And voila!

This whole parent of 4 thing...piece of cake. 

*** enter teeth clenched emoticon***