Graham

How do you say “hello” after months away from blogging? I guess with an excuse- about the time of my last post, I found out I was pregnant, and very shortly thereafter, I was hit with such extreme fatigue that lasted about half my pregnancy, went away for a few weeks, and returned along with a myriad of later pregnancy woes. I guess the fatigue wasn’t quite as debilitating at that point, but all the other aches and pains and complications made up for it. I am quite sure I was not made to have a dozen children!! The only thing I really enjoy about pregnancy is feeling the baby moving.

There were days when I wondered how I would ever make it to October. But here it is, the middle of November, and I survived! The only thing I miss is the “pregnancy glow.” Although I feel better than I did my entire pregnancy, even on my best days I look pale and haggard and sleep deprived!

Graham Matthew was born five weeks ago. He weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces and was 20 inches long. He was my biggest baby, but he went down to 7 pounds, 9 ounces- or that’s the lowest recorded. At his one week appointment, he was still about there, and in the next couple days, he didn’t seem to be gaining, and I was a little worried. But finally around 2 weeks, he took off and got back up to his birth weight, and now he’s close to 10 pounds. He’s grown quite a bit in length, too. He’s outgrown most of his newborn clothes. Sometimes I put clothes on him and think “this is the last time he can wear this” and at least once I put something on and realized that I really needed to take it off because it was just too small.

We are so excited to have a little boy! It’s just so much fun. He isn’t the world’s happiest baby, but I’ve had more difficult ones, so it’s not too bad. He does think he should be held a lot, and unfortunately he doesn’t really like his sisters to hold him much anymore, so it can be a little hard to get things done. He almost does better away from home than at home, which is great when we have a lot going on. This is actually my the first day I don’t have anywhere to go in 10 days. I was more than a little happy about that!

I’ll let the following pictures tell the story of the last few weeks. All the pictures are from the first 2 weeks or so… except the last one, which was from a couple days ago, when Emily turned 4.

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There is so much more I could say. It’s been good, sometimes achingly so, but it’s also been difficult. Emily adores her brother but is so angry about all the time I have to spend taking care of him. It’s hard to homeschool with a newborn. The girls fight so much I sometimes just want to bang their heads together. I hope we settle into a comfortable normal soon!

And I really need to publish this and get on with my day. This short post took way too long to write. I might not be back for another 9 months. I don’t even know if I want to blog again or not, but perhaps I will give it a shot.

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Valentine’s Day

I read some things this week here and there online about Valentine’s Day. Some people think it’s overrated. We should love each other every day of the year, right?

If that’s the only day of the year you show love to your spouse, your family, then it reeks of phoniness to profess your love with words flowers and cards and a fancy night out. But if you all express your love in many ways all year long, I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrating a little. I look at it the same way as birthdays and Christmas- those are times we often go to a little extra bother to make things special. If we did those special things every day, they wouldn’t be special anymore, now would they?

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That being said, I think it’s an awesome idea to randomly have special days interspersed throughout the year. Why can’t a husband bring his wife flowers in April or August when there is nothing special going on? It’s always fun to give or get a special note or card any time of the year. And why not use your china and have a candlelight supper sometime when there isn’t a special occasion?

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But sometimes life gets crazy and you put off that random special night… and suddenly it’s Valentine’s Day or someone’s birthday. Sometimes it’s the reminder you need to finally add a few special touches to the day.

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(Kierra wanted to use this packing paper I salvaged for them to make a V Day mural of sorts. I was so tickled by the tic-tac-toe games!)

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Last year I did a little decorating and we had a fancy little supper here at home. Kierra was so enthralled that she decided Valentine’s was her favorite time of the year- at least until her birthday and then Christmas rolled around! She had been looking forward to Valentine’s Day for quite awhile.

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That’s what’s so fun about having kids- their enthusiasm for the small things is (sometimes!) contagious. Without two little girls who love pretty things, I would be inclined to keep things simpler.

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And really, we did keep it simple- and cheap, at least on my part. For pretty much the cost of a strawberry cake mix and frosting and some chocolate chips, we had the makings of a special evening that thrilled the girls and made us happy, too.

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(the girls picked out the cake mix, the toppings, the heart-shaped pan)
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Cake. Candles. Hearts. Romantic instrumental music on Pandora. Homemade Sparkling Grape Juice. Goblets and China. What more could anyone want, really?

Well, besides a crazy family, that is!

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And seriously, the flowers Kendall bought for us didn’t hurt, either. I was secretly hoping for flowers- not in a “if you love me, you’ll buy me flowers” way, but in a “it’s been awhile and I’d like some again” kind of way. And he delivered- the roses are for me, the carnations for the girls.

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Gifts aren’t my love language, so I am never offended if Kendall doesn’t go all out- in fact, there are times that I have begged him not to get me anything, including flowers. I would rather he save money on gifts and bring home supper now and then when I just.can’t.do.it.any.more. But that makes these flowers all the more special!

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to you all, and may you feel loved and blessed every single day of the year!

November

If I had to use one word to describe this week so far, it would be “coughing.” All of us. I was the last to succumb as we’ve canceled activities day after day.

It’s so hard for me to know when to keep children home, but when they are coughing so much they are driving me crazy, I figure at the very least, they’d annoy everyone else, too. So we’ve been pretty much homebound all week. It could be worse. Fortunately, stay at home moms who homeschool have a fair amount of flexibility- at least I find it that way. The world won’t end if Emily misses story time at the library, for example!

Emily had a birthday last week. We’ve made it through 3 crazy years! We just had a quiet celebration at home, and she didn’t seem to mind. Her “real gift” didn’t come until yesterday, so the excitement stretched out a little longer.100_8273

Even when we keep things really simple, or especially when we do, I like to do something special like use the good dishes for a birthday meal. The girls love the goblets, especially, and always make sure they clink the glasses together before drinking.

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Emily especially loved her birthday balloon!

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I was not thrilled with how this “simple” cake turned out, and I couldn’t find smaller gumballs anywhere, but Emily is only 3, and she was perfectly happy with it, so that’s all that matters.

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Earlier this month, we spent a weekend with Kendall’s family at a cabin a couple hours away. It was all fun and games until the girls got sick in the middle of the night. I never heard that anyone else got sick, so I think it was probably eating too much of the wrong things, especially for Emily, who was the sickest.  She doesn’t do good with self-control (in a lot of areas!). If she sees food and no one stops her, she’ll eat it.

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Grandma and the kids made little chocolate mice.

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cute little nephews

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Kendall’s mom brought a cake along for the fall birthdays. Then the grandsons wanted a picture with the cake, too. Dear little Emmy didn’t get her face into the cake on purpose, she really didn’t! But I have a feeling she’ll get herself into lots of things over the next years-that’s just her nature!

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There are 4 grandchildren on this side of the family so far- ages 6, 3, almost 4, and almost 2. There’s another grandchild that should be here any day now- we’re waiting for that phone call!

There will soon be 8 grandchildren on my side of the family. 6 years ago, Kierra was the only grandchild on both sides. A few years make a lot of difference- if we can persuade more of the brothers and sisters to consider marriage and parenthood, there could be a lot, lot more in 6 more years! Ha ha! I have 4 unmarried siblings and Kendall has 7, although there’s a wedding coming up soon there! Our 2 youngest siblings will both be 16 in a couple months. That’s hard to believe. My youngest sister was 4 when I moved away. These little kids are growing up!

I will leave you with a crazy  picture from our recent family photo shoot, one that isn’t going to be on our Christmas cards. This is so typical of Emily- she really does give the best hugs! I find it amusing how Emily makes it look like Kierra isn’t even very close to me, and in fact, she’s snuggled right in there, too!

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I love my girls!

(sorry about the weird spacing- wordpress does that on its own- it looks fine when I draft it. if you know what I am doing wrong, let me know, okay?)