Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day in the life and moving backwards

When I get bogged down with photos I find it easiest to start with the present and move backward.  I culled down 1,770 photos taken since John's birth to 850 the other day.  My goal is to keep 100 per month so I still have a ways to go but oh what a great, crazy, photogenic 2 months it has been!

Right now I'm sitting here enjoying a peaceful 30 minute window of catching up on the blog while John naps upstairs and I watch the clock to go pick up Catherine from preschool and playgroup!  This means that most of the day I got to spend with just this goober.  Once we got the big kids set up at school and preschool, we headed out for a coffee date, then a big exciting trip to Costco, followed by lunch, tummy time at home and now this very precious crib nap.  John doesn't sleep much or well in the carseat so when we need to be out and about with the big kids or running errands it generally means he's in the sling, where he sleeps beautifully.  

Prior to going back to school and the big kid routines I started tracking John's sleep.  As Matthew's not quite ready to walk to school by himself and he has to be released to a parent in the afternoon our days are bookended by these points at 8:15 and 3:30p.  Add in Catherine's playgroup on Monday at 10a, then preschool Tuesday and Thursday with pick-up/drop-off at 9a & Noon, John's crib naps will be few and far between and he's not yet a great carseat napper.  I had hoped to find a pattern we could work around but mostly I observed he's not in any sort of patterned stage yet!  In doing it I mostly created an interesting picture, but I did glean a few insights as to how long he can be awake before he gets overtired and learned his window between tired and overtired is very, very small.  The biggest takeaway of using an app was that I have an awful memory combined with the fact that I am a terrible, terrible judge of time!!  I'm not so certain that without a clock around I can "feel" the difference between 15 minutes and an hour.    
One tired bear on the way to pick up Matthew!  
Monday we said goodbye to the last of our company for a while and got back into our weekly routine.  Catherine kicked off the week with a bang with her normal Monday playgroup followed by lunch and more playtime with another friend to do plenty of catching up from the holidays!  Being gone from the house definitely helped both her and me with the Amma and Papa withdrawal.

 Catherine has been my big helper the last two days and picked out John's outfit on Monday.  She was very proud!  Mostly I was happy she didn't pick the baby zebra costume we happen to have in the drawer!  Technically this Christmas onesie is a 6 month sized outfit, but it seemed to fit John just fine *sniff*sniff*
 Matthew decided John needed some high tech spy gear.  No idea what he's supposed to be spying on though!
 Before my parents left, I tried to get a decent picture of them with the grandkids as well as a nice picture of our family of 5 to replace the large print in our dining room.  This might be as good as we'll get without a pro:
 Jumping in for a picture of all seven of us!
 Amma, Papa and the grandbabies:
 Fun cropped outtake.  Our first attempt at photos was poorly timed with John's tiny overtired window!

****And this is as far as I got on blogging before someone woke up and we had to rush to pick up Catherine across town, twiddle our thumbs for a dead 10 minutes because we were to early to pick up Matthew but too late to go home and walk.  Now Catherine and Matthew are enjoying more of their gingerbread house and coloring while I attempt to blog.  John is enjoying his second crib nap today****

But right, the photoshoot.  While I was setting up and trying to grab the last fleeting amounts of natural light in our house for the day John woke up and Matthew jumped in to help, so we played around with the camera remote and the live view screen on Papa's camera (thanks for switching cameras with me Papa!!).  Though all I see in some of these pics is my double-chin and unwashed hair I'm resisting my initial instinct to delete them and even share them as I try and internalize the idea that mom stays in the picture, even the practice ones :-) 

****And this is where I got interrupted blogging by being recurited for a trip outside to build a snowman/throw snowballs, a threenager meltdown and some general baby fussiness****

Over the weekend we cleaned up our holiday decorations, took down the tree and in general got our house back in order.  Normally I toss the gingerbread house and feel incredibly guilty about it, even though it's made with a hard as brick dough and cement-like frosting, so this year I decided to let the kids go wild at least for a bit!  8 minutes of demolition and they had barely made a dent, so we packed up the pieces and the kids have been enjoying it.  My rule for avoiding the dentist office (for cracked teeth at least) is that they have to have to dunk them in milk :-)
 Why are my kids naked?  Who knows!  They've started doing "light shows" in the basement where they dance wildly with lights and sometimes decide they need to be naked, kinda like a kiddie rave I suppose.  It is envious how carefree they are!
 John spent much of Amma and Papa's last few days napping on my chest or in arms.  He was going through quite the fussy streak!

 Since this recent fussy period and ongoing tracking has sleep on the brain, I was lulled into a false sense of security about John's sleep after an awesome New Year's Eve!  A good friend hosted a great New Year's last year with families and had offered to host again!  Though Mom and Dad were eager to babysit for us, we thought it'd be weird to show up at a family party kid-less they came and partied with us!   John slept from the time we arrived at 7 until we left well after 1am without a peep, probably his longest stretch of sleep ever!  I assumed this meant he was back on track with not being up all night.   He couldn't even be bothered to wake up for a mustache pic, or probably more suprisingly for the 25+ kids with horns and noisemakers at midnight!  Unfortunately when we got home he was awake until almost 3am unwilling to settle, but it was worth it for a fun evening with friends!
 Kids ready to party!
 Matthew has a Hugh Hefner moment with his button up PJs and "champagne"
 I have acquired some photobooth props to use for parties I host as well as a stash of New Years Eve stuff to provide for the party and of course in the building excitement to the party I couldn't keep the kids out of them.  Catherine just wanted hugs apparently!
 And John just wanted to chat with Amma and Papa!  His favorite thing these days is sitting up and "chatting" and smiling with you.
****And here is where my blogging got interrupted by the 4:30-9pm dinner craziness/witching hour wherein we retrieved and moved bookshelves from a friend, had dinner, the two big kids lost post-dinner game playing privileges so James and I played cribbage instead, we read stories and put 3 kids to bed, cleaned the kitchen, finished our cribbage game and then retreated to our respective computers for an hour before bedtime***

 Daddy even sneaks in to chat every once in a while!
 Most of the second week of Amma and Papa's visit we hung out around the house.  Dad helped James put wired internet upstairs which was quite the project, John went through his aforementioned fussy growth spurt pinning me in the rocking chair and Matthew and Catherine bounced around Amma and Papa's laps, went out with them for dinner and movies and played plenty of legos and dress-up!  We all got a healthy fill of football watching done as well.
 My sous chefs for New Years Eve appetizers:
 While we were gathering the New Years paraphrenelia, I found a tiny party hat perfect for a tiny baby!
And while I still haven't quite captured them yet, I've been experimenting with some "just diaper" pics to capture John's adorable baby rolls.  Plus, who doesn't love a baby in a science and math nerd diaper :-)   It's hard to keep Matthew out of the picture though.  I don't know what they were looking at here but it cracks me up!  So serious!

One of the hardest things in wrapping my mind around our Cystic Fibrosis debacle is looking at John now and ever wondering how I spent 4 weeks looking at him and thinking he was sick or possibly near the downward spiral of failure to thrive.

The first Monday of winter break I had scheduled a "Snowman Brunch" for Matthew and Catherine's school friends to kick off Winter Break.  Unfortunately, Catherine ended up a hot mess with a cold/fever so we moved the snowman breakfast until after Christmas.  This worked out well as the kids then had time to write their thank you notes, and open up one last present of new pajamas!  For Santa gifts the kids can ask for 4 things that they want, need, wear or read.  We've discussed that Santa sometimes only brings 2 or 3 of these things which was helpful because Matthew really wanted Ninjago pajamas and Target screwed up Santas order and they arrived after Christmas.  However, this meant James and I could use it as their one last present to open after thank you notes were written.   

They were both thrilled to have new pajamas to wear to their brunch!  They also chose to wear them New Years, and there were a few days we didn't change out of pajamas so you might have seen them a lot :-)   The kids had a great time at their brunch.  We made snowman pancakes and then the rest of the time they played.  Snowman brunch bled into our normal playgroup so we had a good 4 hours of friends and chaos and plenty of coffee that morning!
 Besides parties being fun (especially when the kids' parents are my friends as well) I *try* to use them as opprotunities for the kids to help and learn about being good hosts.  We did a "trial run" on the snowman pancakes a few weeks ago and then the kids counted out all the supplies needed for each guest.  When the kids sat down Matthew went into full-on Heather mode and started demonstrating to all his friends how to build the snowman.  This was as he started "First, take 2 chocolate chips like this for the eyes . . . "  He's clearly been to too many craft days with me!

Sadly, that morning was when Uncle Matt had to leave :(  He stole some last baby cuddles the night before he left and read some final stories to the monkeys.  
 And that is where I'll leave this update!  Next up is the previous two weeks including Christmas, Christmas programs and the rest of our adventures with Uncle Matt, Papa and Amma and a crazy mom who for two weeks had two DSLRs at her disposal :-)

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