Wednesday, November 15, 2017

FREE Alphabet Bundle

 I love making new homeschool activities! I've got a free one for you and all you have to do is enter your email in the ol' subscribe box there on the right side of the screen. Not only will you get the five page alphabet bundle but you'll receive updates on new blog posts. Now who wouldn't want that!?

Now lets take a look at these super cute printables. The alphabet bundle includes a two page beginning sounds activity and three pages of alphabet tracing (uppercase, lowercase, and a combination of the two). Since these are sent directly to your email (be sure to check your spam folder and add Arrows & Applesauce to your contact list) you can print as many as you'd like. Or, if you're into saving a few trees, use these super cool clear pockets and a dry erase marker to help them last longer.

Squeaks is just starting to make the connection between letters and the sounds they make. I think these are going to be a hit with her. She's catching on so quick. I see lots of fun alphabet activities in our future. Yay!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Our Homeschool Day: Calendar Time

I take a very relaxed approach to how we homeschool. I really don't want to rush anything and squash any natural desire to learn. We have been focusing more on learning through playing rather than using structured activities. Lately though Squeaks has been asking for some activities more than others, so I thought I'd share what homeschool looks like for us these days. Most weeks we only do school maybe two days. Other weeks we do maybe half an hour a day. I leave it up to her and try not to push her to do more than she can focus on. If she starts getting impatient, I know it's time to stop for the day. It is only preschool after all and she's only three so there's no need to push it. I also try to structure most "lessons" around an interest she has. For example, one week I asked her what she wanted to learn about and she said octopuses so we did a lot of ocean themed activities that week. She's more likely to retain information if she's interested in the subject.

Aside from the themed activities we do, there are three learning tools that have been consistent hits that I'd like to share. I'll share each one in it's own post because each one is so fun and full of great activities.

Most homeschool days start out with calendar time. Both Squeaks and Little Dude love calendar time. Although I think LD mostly likes it because I sit on the floor with them and he can crawl on me. I try to include him as much as possible though even if his little two-year-old brain has the attention span of a gnat. I made our calendar board from a foam presentation board I got at Walmart. The Calendar itself was from Target and the activities on the board are a mix of Pinterest finds and my own creations. I laminated everything and attached it to the board with TackNStick so it can be easy reconfigured.  In addition to the links listed below, I include a number and letter we focus on for the week and the current weeks Awana Bible verse. (She just started Awana a few weeks ago and shes loving it. Plus she looks crazy cute in her little vest.)
 I'll start at the top and work my way clockwise down the sides first.
Months of the year banner -I attached each month directly to the board instead of hanging it as a  banner. We use a clothes pin to mark the current month.
Days of the week wheel- Squeaks loves turning this wheel while we sing our days of the week song. (See my songs board here.)
"Today's weather" wheel- We sing a weather song for this too. We live in California so we don't get a huge variety of weather, but if we visit the mountains this winter we'll use the "snow" option. 
"What Season" Wheel- Yet another song for this one. 
Our letter, number, and Bible verse for the week are behind Little Dudes head.
Rainbow Colors- I literally just Googled "rainbow", found an image I liked, opened it to PicMonkey and typed in the color names. Easy-peasy.
Shapes- I cropped it to fit everything on the board, but aren't these little shape people cute!?
Numbers 1-10 poster- I offer this one free on my Teachers Pay Teachers site. Enjoy!
ABCs chart- Squeaks loves pointing to each letter and singing her ABCs.
A closer look at the sides, although I've rearranged a bit since then.
The kids love adding the new day to the calendar (each day attaches with a velcro dot), turning all the wheels, and singing our songs. I also use a mini white board (Target dollar spot) to let them practice writing the letter and number of the week. I don't get to strict with penmanship yet though. We always end saying the Bible verse and praying together for the day. Altogether, calendar time takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how many times we sing each song (there could be multiple encores of the ABCs) or how much time we spend with the white board. So fun!

Up next in our homeschool routine: Busy Binders!! You're going to love these!

How about you? What's your favorite way to start your homeschool day?

   

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Flash

I realized while scrolling through recent posts that I haven't been sharing Flash's monthly pictures. Have you felt deprived? My deepest apologies.

I told Josh after attending a baby shower recently that I now know why moms of multiple kids give unsolicited advice to new mothers. Because it's dang hard to keep your mouth shut! With three kids under four I feel like I have a very specific and refined skill set and I just want to share the wealth. I kept my mouth shut though. Not that this particular new mom needed my advice I just had an itch to give it. New moms need to feel like they know what they're doing I think. I know I did. Too much lecturing or "advice" and they loose their mojo. Parenting takes some guts. You don't want to take their confidence down right out of the gate.

By the third kid you really do develop a more relaxed approach to parenting. I remember when Squeaks was a baby (feels like it was yesterday) and I took these monthly chalkboard pictures with her. I'd spend a good hour picking out a cute outfit, making her chalkboard perfect, and taking at least 50 pictures before choosing my favorite. By the third kid, you check for drool and just go with it. I still really wanted him to have his monthly pictures like Squeaks and Little Dude, but his are definitely more relaxed than theirs were. Yet I'm still totally in love with each months picture.


Really everything about Flash is more relaxed. He's such a quiet peaceful little guy. You could set him down and forget he's there if you get too busy. Of course he's too cute to forget though. He's just as content as could be to lay on his play mat or DockATot (mine was made by my mom and I LOVE it). He's also a big laugher though. He smiles very easily and Squeaks can get him laughing better than anyone. I got this video the other day of him playing in his exersaucer and Squeaks, for some reason, started saying "chicken" to him (kids are strange sometimes). Anyway, he thought it was hilarious. Enjoy!


I'm excited to see this little man grow. Excited to see his relationship with his siblings grow. They crack me up and I'm beyond proud to be their mom.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Don't Lick That!

Little Dude has always had massive amounts of energy. Even when I was pregnant ultrasounds were difficult because he would never sit still long enough to get a clear picture.This is just his personality.

From the moment he was mobile he was testing the limits. He started climbing things very early and still climbs anything he can. The other day I walked out of the bathroom and found him standing on the back of his rocking horse reaching on his tiptoes for something on the kitchen counter. If the horse hadn't started to slide on the tile floor causing me to lunge to catch his, I might have stopped to take a picture. This kind of thing is a daily occurrence though, multiple times a day in fact, so I have plenty of pictures. I've developed a calm (exterior) approach when reacting to his dare-devil ways. If I say "no!" too much or too emphatically he tests it further. "Oh mom is excited about something! Let me see how excited I can make her!" So I try with all my might to calmly say "please get down", "please don't touch" (unless he's in danger of course). Sometimes I have to let him touch and let him test though. I have to pick my battles. If I didn't he'd constantly be hearing the word no, and I really do want him to explore and learn his limits. So if he wants to slide a dining chair around the house and use it to climb up and test all the light switches, then go for it Dude. If he can run instead of walk, he does. If he can jump instead of sit, he does. Constant motion.
This is his personality in a picture.
He saw an opportunity and took it. He was half way to the roof before I got to him. This was at 18 months old.
It's only recently that I started noticing some of his behaviors were a little more extreme than others. He would put everything, EVERYTHING, in his mouth. He started licking things too. That might make you giggle a little, but the things I've had to say lately are super strange. "Stop licking the dog gate!" "Stop licking the window!" I tried to remember when Squeaks outgrew the baby-everything-in-the-mouth stage and realized he is way past it. 

In my homeschool preparation reading I've come across sensory activities on many occasions. "Sensory" is a real buzz word in the preschool community these days. Sensory play, sensory development, and sensory disorders. Then one day I came across this article and it ticked a lot of boxes. I believe Little Dude may have a very mild sensory disorder, more specifically he is a sensory seeker. The input he's getting from his surroundings isn't enough for him. He needs more. 

I'm at the very beginning of learning about what this may mean for him, but like I said, I believe he has a very mild case. I've already made a few changes that have been helpful for him.

1. More outdoor time.
Outside play is important for kids anyway but even more so for a sensory seeker. The variety of landscapes, textures, sounds, smells, it just doesn't compare. Since we live in California, heat is generally the main thing that keeps us from being outside. But lately, I've started just opening up the back door and letting him loose anyway. If he looks hot I make him drink water and ask if he wants to come in, but if he's happy I just let him do his thing. As a bonus this has also improved his independent play. Sometimes Squeaks would rather be inside while he's out, so if he wants to play outside he's on his own (well, with me anyway). 

2. Chew-lry
Chewable jewelry. This was a suggestion from a friend whose son has a pretty severe sensory disorder. He also had issues with everything going in his mouth, chewing on weird stuff, licking, etc. This I think is Little Dude's main sensory need. If his paci isn't in his mouth something else is and it drives me crazy. So I went in search of a safe alternative and found this ridiculously cute silicone shark tooth. It's made specifically for toddlers to chew on. Score! And he loves it.
Diggin' on his chewlry while watching a movie.

3. No more artificial food dyes.
This one was easy and something we were actually going to do even if LD hadn't had sensory issues. I've read so much about how artificial dyes affect kids behavior it's crazy. Did you know they're even illegal or at least require a warning label in Europe!? New info to me. About a month ago Little Dude had a particularly rough few days. In addition to his normal bouncing off the walls, he was whiny. Super whiny. Like I was tempted to lock him in a closet just to get away from the whining. Then I came across an article about how artificial food dye is basically poison and has a huge list of side effects. Asthma, sleeplessness, mood changes, it goes on and on. So I went digging through our cabinets in search of food dyes. I found very little because we shop at Trader Joe's for 99% of our groceries and they don't use artificial dyes in their products. But much to my surprise I found red 40 in the children's Tylenol I had been giving him when he was cutting molars. Ugh!! So we stopped using it and the whining subsided. I mean, he is still two years old, so there's still whining, but it improved greatly. No more artificial dyes for us!

4. Probiotics.
This is not new information for anybody. There are endless blog posts and articles about the benefits of probiotics for every aspect of life. Improved sleep, digestion, mood. So I did some research and found a good children's probiotic. This is the kind of thing you really have to stick with to see results. It's not an overnight improvement. LD has been taking them with breakfast for a few weeks now though and I believe I'm beginning to see benefits. He slept through the night five nights in a row! Before this I could count on one hand how many times he had slept through the night since he had been born! Woohoo!

So do you have experience with sensory disorders? How has it affected your daily life and what steps have you taken to overcome it?

Friday, November 3, 2017

New Ways to Follow Along

A few of my links haven't worked in awhile and I'm just now getting around to updating a few details. You may have noticed (if you're OCD like me)  that my domain name finally matches to title of my blog. Yay! The same with my Facebook page, Twitter account, and Pinterest page. But wait! There's more! In addition to those classic social media favorites you can now my blog with Bloglovin AND I have added an Instagram account. If that wasn't enough, you may have noticed a new button on my side bar. I'm an Etsy seller! Homeschool printables and more fun stuff to come. For goodness sake, I'm practically an empire! So pick your favorite platform and keep in touch.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

3 Things To Keep After Adopting

 If you've been reading my blog long enough you'll know Halloween is my least favorite holiday. After having kids it has gotten much more fun, but I'm still not a huge fan. This years Halloween was full of good memories though so I'll ignore the ghosts and spiders and focus on my happy kiddos.
Dory, Nemo, and the hungry caterpillar (or if you're using your imagination "Shark bait". wink wink.)
Now that Halloween is over, November begins a period of celebration I can really get behind. Like Easter, I have come to feel that this time of year is a special gift just for our family. For some reason God has decided to group life events in clusters for me and November holds a few that are dear to my heart. It's my mom's birthday month, Thanksgiving, Evelyn's birthday (I have come to a place where I can celebrate her!), and all month long we get to celebrate National Adoption Month!

I'm the kind of person that loves keepsakes. I get sentimental about the littlest things. For example, Josh and I have a shoe box full of little memories from our highschool years. Movie ticket stubs, a deflated balloon from our first Valentines day, a menu Josh made from the first dinner he cooked me. Theses are things I'll never throw away. My keepsake hording only increased once I had kids. Squeaks specifically has childhood memorabilia coming out the wazoo. 

In honor of Nation Adoption Month, I wanted to share a list of keepsakes you might not think of keeping for your adopted child. These are things I am super glad I have for Squeaks and I'm positive she will be thankful I kept them too.
1. Original birth certificate.
This might seem like a no-brainer once you think of it, but a lot of people don't do this. I don't know if this is the case in every state, but in California, once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents are put onto a new birth certificate with the childs new name (if they have chosen to change it). Squeaks' birth parents named her a completely different name and I wanted her to have that connection. I wanted her to see their names and the name they had chosen for her. It isn't  a legal document anymore but I have it. You may need to ask for the original like I did. Once it's changed it usually doesn't end up in the final paperwork.

2. Clothes.
Although we did get to go to the hospital and spend time with Squeaks birth family, due to extenuating circumstances she spent her first week out of the hospital with a foster family. We didn't get to put her in her leaving-the-hospital outfit. The whole thing was a hard pill to swallow at the time. But, just like most of our trials, we can look back now and see that God meant it for good. The night Squeaks came home she was dressed in pajamas the foster family had put on her. Pink long pajamas with monkeys all over them. Something I would have never purchased. But after texting some homecoming pictures to Squeaks birth mother, she was thrilled to see that Squeaks was wearing the same pjs her biological older sister had. Those monkey pajamas are now snugly folded into Squeaks keepsake box.
Squeaks in her monkey jammies.
3. Text messages.
I LOVE reading through the text messages from the day of and days after Squeaks was born. God's fingerprints are all over the place! These are the conversations that led us to her with the people who worked hard to bring her home. The first text messages I received from Squeaks birth mother make me cry even now. The strength and love is overwhelming. Text messages from our adoption coordinator, lawyer, and home study case worker are full of Gods amazing attention to detail. The majority of them have private detail that aren't mine to share. This one however is a favorite because it just goes to show how quickly life can change and how much God loves showing his perfect timing. Our homestudy had been delayed due to some misplaced paperwork. Not just for a few days or weeks, but delayed for months. It was driving me crazy and of course I thought it was all up to me to fix, it was going to derail everything, it was going to keep us from getting a child! I completely let my head run away with itself and forgot my God is bigger than paperwork. Then I got this text message the morning of January 8th completely unaware that Squeaks birth mother was in labor with her at that very moment. We got the call that night. That's the kind of thing that makes you all giddy inside. Knowing God had a plan all along and that every detail is in his hands. So ya, keep those text messages.
What about you? Did you keep anything out of the ordinary from your adoption journey?


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Do You Tell Them?

Our country and our family has had a barrage of tragedy and loss lately. Our family, for lack of a better phrase, is "used to it"...in a way at least. From car accidents, still births, deaths, and sicknesses our family has faced it's fair share. However, most of these events in my personal life happened pre-kids. I could react (sometimes not well) to trials without tiny people watching me. World news hit my heart and I handled it from a non-momma view point. Now I have tiny sponges following me around, learning emotions, and discovering that the world is broken. 

Last Monday, after learning that a family friend had lost her life in the Las Vegas shootings, and that Josh's cousin had been there and narrowly escaped with minimal physical injury (psychologically, the things she witnessed...can't even imagine) I was tested in my ability to hold it together. I started to cry as I stood in my kitchen holding Flash while Squeaks and Little Dude ate lunch. Their little faces watched me and Squeaks immediately wanted an explanation. "Why are you crying momma?" I searched by brain trying to decide what to tell her and I landed on the truth. "My friend died, sugar." She looked very sad and I couldn't tell if I had just overwhelmed her or not. I quickly put on a smile and said "But it's ok! I will see her again in heaven." She looked mildly reassured and said "I'm sorry your friend died." Sweet girl. Of course I left out the horrible truth that her life had been taken in a very violent way, that her husband had been present to witness it, and that she left behind three children of her own. 

Today I'm not smiling as much as usual I suppose and Squeaks is still asking "are you sad momma?" Last night Josh's aunt lost her home to  the fires in Northern California. She lost everything and only had time to gather her pets. I'm feeling helpless and I think the sadness shows on my face while I process. The news that a cousin, who is a fire fighter, is on his way to Puerto Rico to help clean up after hurricane Maria, weighs heavy on my mind. He's leaving behind (willingly and heroically) his very pregnant wife who has seen him only a handful of times since fire season broke out this year. For awhile it felt like the top half of our country was burning while the bottom half flooded. Friends and family in Florida and Texas had to evacuate and wait to see if their homes weathered the storms. Sad. I just feel sad. Lately it feels like there's a new upheaval every week, whether natural disasters or the unnatural and senseless acts of a coward in a Vegas hotel room.

Now, I know God has a plan. Past personal experience has taught me to expect redemption. Expect healing. I have hope and I know that "hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." It's just the initial blow that knocks the wind out of me for a moment. I want my children to understand that this world is not their home. We are meant for more and this world is broken because of sin. I want them to understand that following Christ while full of immeasurable blessings, also includes trials meant to grow us. But right now they are so little and so sweetly innocent; I want them to stay that way as long as possible. 

So here is my question to you. At what age did your child become aware of the heartache in this world and how did you comfort them through it? What do you tell them? Are there tools you use to impart truth and reassurance (apart from the Bible and prayer), songs or books? I'd like to know. 
I took this horribly unflattering picture of me sans-makeup with the kiddos this morning. We skipped an outing and stayed in jammies. Sometimes I just need to make my world smaller.


Monday, October 9, 2017

This Is How It Works Today

If I've learned one thing since we became a three-under-four family it's that you've gotta be flexible. I think you learn that on a small scale with your first child, a little more with your second, but with a third you just have to pray that God helps you keep them all alive and just relax.

Three kids under the age of four is a beast all it's own. There's having multiple children, and then there's having multiple children really close in age. Triplets...forget it. Just douse yourself in dry shampoo and coffee, and we'll see you in 5-10 years. Squeaks and Little Dude are 20 months apart. Little Dude and Flash are 21 months apart. And four years ago I thought I was barren. Ha!
This is a life I dreamed about, prayed for, wanted so badly that I cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion. I'm going to be honest with you (which is a phrase I rarely use because it makes me think "well, aren't you honest all the time!?") it is everything I hoped for and a million times harder than I could have ever known. Any soon to be moms out there looking for articles to read about what its like to have kids close in age or more than one or two kids, just stop looking. I could give you a description of my day, try to compare one vs. two vs. three but the truth is it's different everyday.

Because of California's wonderful FMLA (family medical leave act) Josh was able to be home with us for seven awesome weeks after Flash's birth. After that I had to figure out how to function with three kids on my own during the day and keep in mind I'm at a slight loss for digits with which to grasp tiny, crazy fast little people (Little Dude is a major runner. I no longer judge parents who use kid-leashes.) On our first outing with just me and the kids, we went to the library for story time. As anticipated Little Dude and Squeaks went in two opposite directions for most of the trip, and at one point I had to pry a screaming LD off the library computer keyboard, all while wearing my six-week old, but we did it! Every day I am thankful that God granted me a mellow third child, because if Flash was a high-maintenance kid...I don't even know. It takes me a solid twenty minutes to get everyone in their car seats and all the necessary kid paraphernalia packed in the car to go somewhere. That doesn't include the time it takes to get them all dressed, and presentable to be seen in public. Add another hour for that. The logistics of getting three small children out of the car by myself, in a busy parking lot, is a little mind-boggling sometimes. 
From our first outing to the library. Just me and the kids.
  
I use to imagine how I'd parent. There would be lots of cuddles. My kids would have manners. I would be a patient and understanding mother. My kids would be good listeners, never scream in public. I would never give my kid my phone to distract them. And of course, my house would be clean because I'd be a stay-at-home mom, just clean while they play!
Isn't she lovely!

Well, there are lots of cuddles, even if the small one being cuddled refuses. "You're being cuddled darn it! Give in! LOVE ME!" But really, all three are world class cuddlers. The rest of that list is hit or miss. Except for the clean house, that's just laughable. There are days where nothing seems to go as planned, so I am slowly but surely being broken of my need to plan. The phrase that has helped me more than any other, the one that plays through my head multiple times a day is "This is how it works today." When I need to let one kid watch Minions for the millionth time so I can get another kid to sleep or wear Flash in my Tula for his afternoon "nap". When my lunch consists of whatever was left on my kids plates after their lunch. When Flash has to stay in his swing a little longer than I'd like because Little Dude decorated an armchair with a bottle of lotion. When I let my older two dig holes all over the backyard and spread the sand from their sand table across the patio because it's giving me time to do the dishes and hey, they're happy. On those days I say "This is how it works today." and my blood pressure goes down. God has blessed me beyond measure. He has given me the exact kids I was meant to have and I am the mom He wanted them to have. Every day these three small people surprise me, make me laugh, and challenge my heart to contain the explosive force of my love for them. Every day looks different from the last. Every day could end with a long list of things I wish I could have done differently. But I am living the life I prayed for and I wouldn't change a thing... Well, I'd like to sleep more. Other than that, not a thing.
My car is slowly being swallowed by kid "stuff".
Painting rocks (and himself) on the back patio.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Flash's Birth Story

I understand a lot of my readers are from the adoption community and a birth story may not be high on your list of things you'd like to read, but I don't like the idea of separating our family story into two worlds, adoption and biological. So, although Little Dude's full birth story is on my pregnancy blog, I decided to write Flash's here. My children are all mine, no need to step lightly.

Flash was born on his due date which I think is pretty cool since it's not statistically common. I woke up that morning not expecting anything as I had only been having mild and sporadic contractions for maybe a week. I had declined my doctor's offers to check if/how much I was dilated. I remembered it being painful, and since my doctor wasn't concerned about anything, she was fine with me saying no. I had been having NSTs (non-stress tests) done twice a week as a precaution. I was scheduled for an NST that morning but since it was my due date I had to go to L&D to have it done instead of maternal-fetal medicine where NSTs are normally done. Around 10:30am the nurse hooked me up to a monitor and there I sat listening to Flash's heartbeat and movement for about half an hour. When the nurse came back she was accompanied by a doctor. A fairly pushy doctor. She did everything she could to talk me into being induced. She said "There is no medical reason for you to stay pregnant". Me- "But is there a medical reason for me to be induced?" Her- "No..." After a few more minutes back and forth I finally agreed to let her check me and do a membrane sweep. I had read that unless your body is already set to go into labor a membrane sweep is ineffective. I had one done when I was pregnant with Little Dude and nothing happened. She checked me and I was five centimeters dilated and she did the sweep. It was about noon now so Josh stopped by (he works for the hospital) and sat with me for awhile but since I wasn't in active labor (and frankly still not expecting to be) he went back to the office. They had me stay on the NST monitor for awhile longer to see if I made any progress. My contractions definitely got stronger and a little more regular but after another hour I was still at five but almost six centimeters. The doctor tried again to talk me in to induction but I was determined to experience going into labor naturally. After the doctor left the room, a very sweet nurse commended me on sticking to my guns but informed me that since this would be my third time giving birth it could go a lot quicker than I was expecting. She encouraged me to stay to be monitored at the very least. I finally agreed to take a long walk and come back to be checked again. By this time it was mid afternoon and I hadn't eaten anything so I went down to the cafeteria. Throughout this whole process I was calling Josh, my mom, my mother-in-law (who was babysitting Squeaks and Little Dude), and my friend Kristi (who is a labor and delivery nurse) to update them and get their opinions. They all encouraged me to stick to my guns and do what I was comfortable with. After walking for another hour I realized my contractions were getting much more regular. The nurse hooked me back up to the monitor and sure thing, I was in labor. I called Josh and told him to go home and get our bag because we were having a baby today! He got to the hospital about 5:00pm and my mom got there about an hour later. I managed my contractions easily for quite awhile and the three of us sat and talked happily. I felt like it was still going to be a long wait till real active labor. This couldn't possibly be as painful as it was gonna get. Around 7pm the nurse came in and had me turn onto my left side to get a better read of Flash's heart rate. My contractions got progressively more intense and Josh rubbing my back started to not help as much. At about 7:45pm I told Josh to call the nurse and tell her I want an epidural. I have felt a lot of pain in my life and consider myself to have a very high pain tolerance but this was insane and I wasn't going to torture myself if I didn't have to. Two contractions later I was screaming my head off. Suddenly I felt a pop and my water broke. I screamed louder. About five minutes later the room was full of people. I was still screaming. The nurse and Josh talked me down and suddenly I had no choice but to push. My body took over and five minutes after that, at 8:25pm, Flash was born. It turned out that his cord was super short and it actually ripped because he came out so fast, but the doctor clamped it quick and he was fine. Josh got to trim it later. Flash weighed 7lbs. 12oz and was 20" long with a perfectly round head (again because he came out so fast) and sweet baby fuzz hair. It all happened so fast! I will be eternally grateful to the nurse who convinced me to stay and be monitored. I was totally prepared to go home and wait it out. I would have had him in the car on the way to the hospital!

Flash was calm from minute one. He laid peacefully on my chest and has been an easy going quiet little guy so far. He nurses like a champ! Our hospital stay was quick and easy. We went home the next evening. I seriously could not have asked for a better delivery. God gave me everything I wanted to experience. No medication, a fast healthy delivery, and a healthy baby boy. Recovery has been a million times easier without all the meds that come with induction. I feel great! Tired but oh so happy.

This first picture was taken while the room was filled with a massive amount of noise from my other two children. And yet, there he is, sleeping peacefully. I can't believe it! And the second picture, while not my most flattering, is still one of my favorites. Holding both my boys. I have TWO boys! Blows my mind.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Cord Of Three Strands

 Oh how I wish I hadn't fallen so far behind on posting! I miss this so much. I logged on and realized I haven't written since our pregnancy announcement LAST November! I can give all the usual excuses, most of which involve being pregnant and running after two toddlers, but I think I'll skip that and share the fun stuff first.

We had a super easy pregnancy. Aside from the fact that my hormones made me a little short tempered here and there (sorry Josh), everything was very smooth. I'd very much like to write a full post about our newest arrivals birthday. It was a very blessed day and I don't want to forget a detail. For now I'll introduce our second son (on the blog I'll call him Flash. I'll explain why in a moment) born healthy and happy one month ago! He weighed in at a strong 7lbs 12oz, 20 inches, and as sweet as can be. 

The last eight months have been packed full of family fun, challenges, and growth. Squeaks turned three!!! She has thoroughly embraced her big sister role. I truly believe she was meant to be a big sister to two boys. I was admittedly a bit sad that she wasn't getting a sister but it was short lived when I considered her personality. She was cut out for brothers. She's so independent, so smart, so clever. A sister just wouldn't fit. As usual Gods plan is perfect. I'm not the type to go into too much detail about this sort of thing, but I am VERY happy to say Squeaks is now potty trained. That was a huge goal for me. The idea of three kids in diapers, yuck.

Add in Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, my birthday (which included a ride in a helicopter!), my little brother getting married (I'm old!), and 4th of July and these past eight months have been non-stop. The number of blog posts waiting to migrate from brain to screen is nearly endless. I'm going to make a serious effort to catch up/keep up with posting because I just really miss this creative outlet.

As far as our newest and biggest family change, Flash fits right in. I'm calling him Flash after a character from one of the kids favorite movies right now, Zootopia. A super cute, very slow, sloth. I think it fits our very relaxed new little man perfectly. He is the total opposite of our energetic, never-stops-moving, mini daredevil Little Dude. Our little Flash is super content, cries only when completely necessary, and even then it's the sweetest tiniest little cry you've ever heard. He's an amazing sleeper and can sleep through a ton of noise (yay!). He is a wonderful addition to our family.

Raising three kids under four years old is challenging to say the least. Josh and I are very tired. Past tired. A little delirious at times. But we're super excited to watch them grow together and develop a strong bond. We're excited to see what God has in store, and should it cross your mind, pray we stay awake to see it.

"Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12
Our first picture as a family of five! I do believe this may be the only picture I have of Little Dude sleeping. He hadn't slept well the night before and decided this was the perfect time and place to catch up on his rest. Squeaks was ecstatic to meet her new brother and, once he woke up, Little Dude was very excited to give his brother kisses.
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