And Berkley Makes Three

I’m 5 weeks into mom-of-three-kids status – whew. Between Christmas and house guests and the standard newborn fatigue, I’m finally able to share the latest edition to our family – meet Miss Berkley Elaine.

DSC_0128

Berkley is healthy and happy (she just started to smile!). She is already growing so fast –  it seems like overnight she has outgrown her newborn clothes and she’s changing every single day.

It’s amazing how the amount of love you feel as a mother just multiplies when you have another little one. It brings back memories of my boys when they were born, but just as with each of them, there is something new and special about the bond I feel with this sweet girl. I cannot get enough of her – she’s so small and soft and smells so yummy that sometimes all I want to do is hold her and just breath her in – simply put, I adore her.

Of course, with all the joy comes some challenges too. My boys are dealing with a month’s worth of a lot of house guests, a holiday break from school, Christmas and the biggest change of all – a little sister. While the last few weeks have not been without meltdowns and behavioral issues, it has really gone better than I expected.  And while it’s an adjustment, they boys really, really love their sister. And they tell me this often.

DSC_0492

IMG_5772

Handling the three kiddos has been interesting. When it’s just me, it’s pure survival mode. Her basic needs come first (eating), and I do the best I can with the rest. I’m nursing and so I feel like 50% of my time is glued to the couch feeding the baby, and so this leaves lots of time for the boys to run a muck… destroying their room…

IMG_5687

painting the back deck…

IMG_5724

…arguing and biting and hitting and kicking each other. Trying to enforce good behavior when I’m immobile is tough, and so I’ve had to use the “I’m calling your dad!!!!” card that I swore I would never use. But it works, and as I stated previously – survival mode.

But when Blake is home our “zone defense” strategy is that Blake deals with the boys, and I take care of Berkley. And this is working great. I find myself very frustrated that the boys don’t listen well, but all the crying and fussiness and sleepless nights with my little princess do not phase me at all. I think it’s because I know this stage won’t last long and so I’m savoring every bit of it. Blake is just the opposite – he has so much patience with the boys and can deal with all the shenanigans, but I’m afraid too much screaming baby may make him crazy. So we divide and conquer and it has been working for us. Thank God.

I’m at the point now where I’m trying to find out what our new normal is. I’m trying to keep myself sane with daily showers and keeping at least one room in my house tidy. So far so good. I’m still cooking most nights, and some how or another, the kids are getting regularly bathed as well. Aside from the daily pickup from preschool, I’m not venturing out much with all three of them by myself. For starters, Berkley screams in the car. Secondly, I’m not that brave… or crazy. One day (soon – hopefully), when I’m certain the boys will hold my hand when I ask them to and I’m fairly confident they won’t run off, we’ll start leaving the house. But until then, homebodies we’ll be – and I’m totally cool with that.

The greatest thing about adding this little one is the overwhelming fulfillment and completeness that I feel. Before I ever got pregnant with her, I knew I was meant to have her. For a while, Blake only wanted two kids.  At one point when I was worried he would never change his mind I actually grieved this child that did not even exist. But I prayed about it and one day Blake did change his mind. And now here we are with this precious gift and I am overflowing with joy that my little family is complete. And it is complete… and we’ve taken permanent measures to ensure that we’re done. And we’re done.

I’m hoping that once she establishes a more normal bedtime routine that I can get back into the blogging mode. I’ve got recipes and crazy adventures in parenting to share but not the free time to do it. I naively thought that I’d be blogging all the time while on maternity leave – not! I barely have time to go to the bathroom. I’ve been working on this post for 3 weeks! Every time I go back to it I have to change the opening sentence LOL. But I’ll get there. It’s my “me time” and my outlet, so if I don’t make it a priority one day soon, I may go batty.

So until then I’ll leave you with some more pictures of my sweet girl. Hope to chat with you all again soon!

DSC_0324

DSC_0259

DSC_0720

DSC_0646

DSC_0958

 

 

 

We’re having a girl!

So I’m a couple of days late on the blog update… but it’s official – we’re having a girl! I’m going to steal the words from one of my aunts… I love when God’s plans fit with our desires. Amen! It is such a blessing that we’ll get to experience raising boys and a girl, and I truly feel as though our family will be complete come December. And I am especially excited for my husband because I know how much he wanted a daughter. I can’t wait to see him get to live that dream of having daddy’s little girl – it is going to be awesome!

STE_8

STE_2

STE_9
The money shot!!

We went into the ultrasound with a girls name picked out… we didn’t have a boys name, but it wasn’t for lack of trying, we really just couldn’t decide. But our girls name was set… we are naming her Berkley Elaine. Berkley was a name that my mother-in-law came across and we felt it fit well with Brogan and Beckett… unique, started with a B, two syllables, different end-sound, English/Irish origin, you know, all the things one thinks about when they are obsessively thinking about baby names on a daily basis. Elaine comes from Blake’s maternal grandmother who passed away.  She was really special to many people, especially Blake, and I am sad that I never got to meet her. Our babysitter who recently passed away was also named Elaine, so for me, it’s an ode to her memory as well. Needless to say, I love her name. Love it. I can’t wait to see it embroidered on everything…. oh wait, it already is…

Monogrammed Dresses

It took my family less than 12 hours to already go shopping and begin the monogramming. Yes, I am that kind of girl and will have (just about) everything embroidered. Berkley will probably rebel and be a total tomboy after all of the dresses and bows, but that’s okay. For the first couple of years she doesn’t get a choice and so I get to play dress-up.

Brogan is very happy that he’s having a sister. He really wouldn’t even acknowledge the fact that this could have been a boy. As he told me, he already has a brother and does not need another one. Well okay. Glad he got what he wanted too. Brogan has decided he’s going to call her Berkley Blue… who cares that it’s not her real name, that’s what he likes. Blake mentioned it when we were throwing around middle names and it stuck for him. And who are we to argue with Bob? It’ll be fine – she can be Brogan’s Berkley Blue. I took Brogan shopping with me at Target and he got to pick out her first dress and a baby doll. He was so proud to be a part of it, and it just warmed this mommy’s heart!

Excited Big Brother

Beckett, bless his heart, doesn’t really get what’s going on. I keep trying to tell him there’s a baby coming, but it doesn’t seem to stick. Perhaps he thinks if ignores it, he will remain the baby forever.

It’s exciting times for this family! The good thing is that I have cured my curiosity by finding out we’re having a daughter… bad news is waiting until December to get to meet her is going to feel like forever! And at the rate of 16 new outfits within 24 hours – and we’ve got 6 more months of anticipation – means that daddy may be building on to her closet. All good problems to have though… feeling so, so blessed.

 

 

 

 

Bringing Home a Little Brother

When I found out I was pregnant with my second, I immediately started thinking about how it would impact my first.  Little did he know that his whole world was going to be changing.  I worried mostly about how he’d react without all the attention.  With my world so full of him, I wondered how two would fit and where the sacrifices would be made.  So my husband and I tried to be very deliberate about the choices we made when it came to introducing Beckett into our home.

The first thing we had to tackle was the new nursery – Beckett was going to use the same crib and furniture as Brogan (which Brogan was currently using).  We worried about Brogan feeling like the new baby was taking his “stuff” (especially the crib) so we opted to move him into a toddler bed at 20 months (4 months before Beckett’s arrival). The hope was that those 4 months would be enough time to unattach him from his crib.  It was – Brogan never once referred to the crib has “his”.  He was proud of his new big boy bed, and was also excited about Beckett’s new room.

We decided to make Brogan a book that would explain the transition.  We knew there were books out there, but we wanted one that he could identify with, that spelled out exactly what was going to happen to him and that showed pictures of people he knew.  I made it in Word, used clipart and pictures of his family, and even bound it with my binding machine at work.  It went through his new role of big brother, that mommy and daddy were going to the hospital to have his brother, that his Gigi was coming to stay with him while mommy and daddy were in the hospital, and what it would be like with a new baby in the house (crying, mommy holding him a lot, things he could help with).  We emphasized what Brogan was getting out of the deal – a new brother and a best friend.  We really wanted their relationship to get off on the right foot!

When we got home from the hospital with Beckett, Blake took Brogan out to buy Beckett a gift.  We let him pick it out – anything (within reason) that he wanted his brother to have.  We also gave Brogan a gift from Beckett.  Brogan was so proud to have given his brother a present (I think this was more impactful than the gift Beckett got him!) It was really neat watching him puff up with pride showing off the present that he got his new brother!

Welcoming Beckett into the family was a much smoother transition that we had anticipated.  When Brogan was jealous, it was only short-lived and didn’t seem to temper his feelings toward his brother.  Who knows if anything we did in preparation worked, if it was just Brogan’s nature, or if we simply got lucky, but I’m proud to say that they seem to actually like each other!  Brogan has a pretty big personality and is always seeking the limelight.  We worried about this need to be noticed, but didn’t consider that in the end, he would make sure he was noticed!  So if too much attention was paid to the baby, Brogan would pick up his guitar and sing a song, problem solved!

While I’m not so naïve to think they will always get along, I’m praying that this liking each other thing will last at least a little while longer.

The other day in the car…

Brogan: Mommy, I don’t love you anymore.  I don’t love you, or daddy or Beckett. I just love myself.

[silence as I was thinking through how to respond – not the first time I had heard this one]

Brogan: Mommy, I changed my mind, I only love myself and Beckett.

Brogan holding Beckett

What happened to my house?

Pre-kids, my home was reasonably put together, modernly decorated and clutter-free.  My main living space downstairs was cozy and clean, a place for everything, and everything in its place.  And then I got pregnant and started looking into the “equipment” necessary to care for a baby.  I talked to experienced mothers to figure out what we needed.  A pack-n-play, a swing, a changing station, activity mat, bouncy seat, Bumbo seat, Boppy pillows, and the list continued.  Ok, I thought, it’s a lot of stuff, but it seemed reasonable.  I’m not sure where I thought this stuff would go, but certainly not my comfy, cozy living space!  As my due date neared and we were showered with gifts, the reality of this “stuff” finally sunk in – unless I plan to spend all my time upstairs in the nursery, this “stuff” would find a home in my living room.  Initially it was a hard pill to swallow that I’d have to rearrange my perfectly placed furniture, and add clutter to a simple room. However, the changes were made amidst a pregnancy high where I was so excited for my little one to get here, I did it happily. I thought to myself, he’ll only need most of this “equipment” for the first couple of months, then we’ll put it all away and I’ll have my living room back!

Then something happened that I didn’t see coming – Christmas.  Sure, I was able to put up the pack-n-play, downsize the changing station, break down the swing, but rather than be left with the living space I once knew, the toys began their invasion. Now Brogan was the first grandchild for all three sets of our parents, and the first baby in our extended family in a long, long time… AKA spoiled rotten!  This child got everything imaginable!  Where did it go? You guessed it – my living room.  Then it was his birthday and more toys, and another Christmas, and another birthday, and well, you get the picture.  So let’s be honest, I no longer have a living room. I have a toy room with a couch and TV.  And my dinning table shares its room with a play kitchen, shopping cart, four wheeler, drums and basketball hoop.  When Beckett came along we added another layer – more baby equipment on top of the toys! But a silver lining, my furniture is now so beat up, that I almost appreciate the toys taking the attention away.  The good news is that I’ve come to terms with this change and I think I’ve been looking at the mess for so long, it’s almost like I don’t see it (denial, maybe?).  And truthfully, if the toys will keep the boys occupied and not messing with my stuff, then bring it on! In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a small sacrifice, one of many, which we as parents happily make for our kids.

DSC_7841

The Mommy Job Description

So apparently I never saw the real job description for the mommy position.  Sure, I read the baby books that told me I’d feed them, change them and they’d take daily naps. I knew I’d love them unconditionally; I knew I’d laugh when they were silly and wipe away their tears. But somehow, I missed the fine print.

I didn’t know that feeding them was not as simple as it sounded. Who knew it was such a pain in the butt to clean bottles?  And let’s not even talk about the bottles that get forgotten in the bottom of the diaper bag for a couple days!  Oh, feeding them is the easy part, once you get past the swatting baby hand going after the spoonful of puree.  They throw up; they spit; they leave juice spots all over the carpet.  They change their minds daily about what they like; they refuse dinner, claim they’re not hungry… until it’s time to go to bed at which time they are starving!

Diaper changing was clearly stated, but somehow they made it sound like the babies stay still for this task. They don’t.  They squirm, they scream, they kick.  They have a knack for knowing the most inopportune time to give you a “present.”  I have gone back to look and the word “blowout” was definitely not mentioned!

189198_10150108756071245_97156_n

Oh the naps. I just assumed the naps were a given. What was omitted on this topic was that in order for the naps to take place you have to fit everything you want to do within their nap schedule. Trying to make plans went something like this… “You want to hang out, sure, I’m free between 7:30 and 9, 11 and 1:30, 4 and 6.”  Because that works out, like never!

Okay, so they were spot on about the unconditional love.  It’s so true.  I live for their joy; I hurt for their pain. I want them to feel secure and loved, and can’t imagine anything that would ever change that feeling.

So the mommy job description left out some of the detail. Perhaps this was by design, because it doesn’t sound all that glamorous when you get down to the nitty gritty.  Perhaps focusing on the good parts ensures people keep applying!  And so you may ask, why do moms, once they know what it’s really all about, ever sign up for the same under-paid, under-appreciated job again?  Because at the end of the day, when your little one says, “I love you mommy” there is nothing better than that.