Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bear Bear is 15 months old!

Since we hit the year mark in October, I am going to do these pictures when she has doctor's appointments--15 months, 18 months, 24 months, and then yearly. We decided to celebrate 15 months of life by coming down with another upper respitory infection! We ran a high fever, didn't sleep or eat. But after some fun one on one time with Mommy and some antibiotics and steroids we seem to be back to normal. I hope she will start to grow out of these illnesses or at least build up a better immune system.
We had Caroline's well visit today. She is growing like a weed and hitting all of her milestones. She weighs 24 pounds and 10 ounces (75th percentile) and is 31 inches tall (70th percentile).
In case you were ever curious, it is totally true what they say about girls maturing faster than boys. I am blown away at all of the things Caroline understands at this age. She will nod yes or shake her head no if you ask her a question. She tells me when she is stinky, throws her diapers away, brings me shoes when I say "time to go outside", and lays down where I change her when I say it is time to change your diaper. A true sign of the times is the other day when I was giving the boys hand sanitizer she came up and stuck her hands out. I gave her a teeeny tiny bit expecting her to put it in her mouth. Instead she rubbed her hands together and was on her merry way.
The Bear has always been my musical child. Every night we listen to Baby Tad ("six minutes til nite nite") and I rock her and hum. The other night I didn't hum so she started doing it for me. It was the most precious sound! She also likes to "read". She will pull some of her books out and start babbling while flipping the pages.
Before we eat any meal, we always say grace (The Blessing!). Since we are Catholic, we start and end with the sign of the cross. Usually Caroline is chowing down while this goes on. Tonight she did her own little sign of the cross, folded her hands and nodded along when the boys prayed. The boys did not pick up on that until they were at least two.
And just like her brothers, and every kid on our street, she LOVES being outside. She will stand by the door in the afternoon because she wants to be outside with the big kids. Her second favorite thing is playinng Mommy. She gets her sunglasses on, grabs her purse and takes her babies for a walk. She has started putting them in their crib, kissing them and covering them with a blanket. It makes my baby loving heart so happy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I have lost my mind...

I am not a runner. Period. I had to train for a 5K. So what does one do when they are not a runner? Oh they sign up for a half MARATHON. THIRTEEN POINT ONE MILES. I think my commute to work is shorter than that, but I am honestly afraid to check. Come April 24th I will be running the Nashville Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon with my some of my best friends from college. Now I can only speak for myself, but the reason I am running has less to do with the whole "sense of accomplishment" thing and more to do with the fact my friend Katie (who just ran her first half in Novemeber) is teeny tiny. So my thinking is that I get a fun weekend with my girls, plus I will be all set for bathing suit season. We start the official training on February 22nd, but since I have not run in so long I have started running regularly again as to not embarass myself when we all get together for our weekly long runs. I have already made peace with the fact that I am going to finish last out of my friends. But I will finish because let's face it--I have now announced it to the Facebook and Blog World-- I kindof have to. Wish me luck! More importantly ask me how my training is going.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stafford Sanders

What a wonderful addition to our family! Nate and I were both very weary about adding a four legged creature to the brood. We have not had the best luck with pets in the past. First there was Porter a mutt puppy we adopted from the pound. He was a sweet enough puppy. After awhile we thought that maybe some time on Nate's parents farm would be good for Porter. He needed a lot of exercise and no matter how many walks Nate and I took him on, he was always hyper. Porter loved the wide open spaces a little too much and found another home. Then we had Grady the cat who also decided domestic living was not for her. She ran away from home shortly after we moved to our new house. So we basically swore off pets at this point. Then Jack got to be a certain age and really pushing for a dog. We just found out we were pregnant with Caroline and I told him it was going to be awhile. He continued to make mention of a dog and then got Ben to chime in too. In the past year Nate's traveling has really picked up and I was getting lonely at night and not sleeping well. So I started looking at breeds on the Internet. I knew the typical family dogs were out of the question. I wanted a pet the boys could take for walks themselves, so no labs or golden retrievers. It had to be a small dog that wouldn't shed. Our neighbors have a Bichon so we borrowed her one day. She was such a sweet dog and really good with Caroline. So after many, many conversations Nate and I agreed it was time to get a dog. So we told our elf Nick if Santa thought the kids deserved a dog, then we would be ok with it. Christmas morning came and our little white furball was under the tree. The kids LOVE him. We named him Stafford after the great Georgia quarterback. He is such a good dog. He is almost fully housebroken (For the record I potty trained the boys faster than this dog!). Bichons like to be with their owners as much as possible so after trying the crate one night, Stafford now sleeps with us. He sits at our feet while we eat and watch tv. Even when we play in the playroom, he is right there. He is such a sweet dog and we are so excited he is part of our family.

Tubes: Take Two

So 15% of children who get tubes have to get a second set. Guess who is in that 15%? The Bear! We went in on December 28th--shockingly we had already met our deductable for 2009. ;)Caroline has been to the doctor and ENT enough to know that when someone with brightly colored clothes and a clipboard in their hand calls your name, nothing good is going to happen. She cried as soon as they took us to her pre-op room. And she didn't stop until they bumped our surgery up(Probably at the request of the other patients). Since she was so upset, they asked me to come back while they put her under. ALL PARENTS TAKE NOTE--NEVER, EVER, EVER GO BACK WHEN THEY PUT YOUR CHILD UNDER. EVER. It was horrible. I walked into the OR and lost it. Her ENT looked at me and said, "Really not helping much Mom." Hopefully I will never have to do that again.

Let it Snow!

Just when we got back into our school routine, winter arrived in Georgia! On Thursday afternoon snow started to fall. It really wasn't sticking that much, but the kids had fun playing outside. Caroline did not know what to think. She just kept looking around trying to understand what was happening! Thursday night the temperature dipped down to single digits and the snow was covered in a sheet of ice. The kids went outside for a minute until they realized how cold 2 degrees actually is. Thankfully the ice melted enough so I could make it to Bunko in the neighborhood that night.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

Hands down, no questions asked. Not only was Christmas morning wonderful, but the whole season was spectacular! We did an activity from our Advent Calendar each day leading up to Christmas. At night we read from a book we got at church to remind the kids the reason for the season. Last year, Jack was going to ask Santa for a puppy. Nate and I sat him down and explained that Santa wasn't going to bring a puppy to the Sanders house this year because we just brought Caroline home two months earlier. Jack understood, but mentioned wanting a dog once a week for a year. This year he is also playing basketball so he wanted a goal to practice on. Ben wanted his own DS so he wouldn't have to keep asking Jack for his. Caroline loved Christmas! And just when you thought I could not get any dorkier, I got pajammas to match the kids. They got a kick out of it. Jack is already starting to make comments when I dress them all alike so I figured this was my only chance! We had Christmas lunch at my Mom's, then headed to Children's Church. We got home and had dinner with the Robbins and then read the Night Before Christmas. I didn't take a ton of pictures, I just enjoyed the moment. Their expressions on Christmas morning is something I will never forget.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Normally I don't devote an entire post to a tree, but the picture above is too cute not to share! We decorated the tree once Caroline went to bed this year. I felt bad she missed out on the tradition but I thought it was mean to get out all of these toys (ornaments) and then tell her she couldn't touch them.
(PS Nate does not have a major pit stain, it is a shadow. I hope. ;))

Breakfast with Santa and Neighborhood Party

Our church, St. Peter Chanel in Roswell puts on an AWESOME Breakfast with Santa. The food is great and they have a ton of fun activities for the kids. When it was time for the picture with Santa, I was nervous. When Jack and Ben were Caroline's age, they screamed in their Santa picture. It is adorable. Caroline loves everyone, so I was worried she was just going to sit and smile. WRONG! She wailed her head off just like her brothers. When I was decorating this year, I put all three of the crying baby pictures on one table. It is amazing how much they look alike when they are crying!
Our neighborhood put on a fun Christmas Party later on that day. The kids made Reindeer Food and got to decorate a cookie. It was a great day that really got everyone in the Christmas Spirit!

May the Force Be With You

In keeping with my tradition of theme Halloweens, the kids were characters from Star Wars this year. We had Caroline's party the morning of Halloween, then we had people over for Georgia/Florida, and then it was a cold, rainy mess for Halloween. I could not get a good picture of the kids for the life of me!

My Benzie is FIVE!?!?!

Benjamin turned FIVE on November 13th! The past five years have been an adventure with Ben. He was not the world's easiest baby, but he has really come into his own. He has the best imagination and loves to play. He still idolizes Jack and sometimes thinks he is 8 too. At his conference at school this year his teachers said he is a joy to have in class. He is a leader and very helpful. On his actual birthday Grams and Rab came over to give Ben his scooter and take us to dinner at Taco Mac.
To celebrate his big day,we had his birthday party at PLAY in Roswell. Ben invited all of his neighborhood friends and friends from his class. PLAY has a foam pit, trampoline, and a fun obsticle course. The kids had a blast. Grandma made Ben a dinosaur cake which he loved!

Bear's First Birthday Party

We had a Ladybug Brunch for Caroline's first birthday party. Caroline is very blessed to have so many people come and celebrate her special day! We had her baby friends Hannah, Blake and Ella. All of the cul-de-sac kids were here and both sets of Grandparents. Uncle Michael was the only Arndt sibling not at Georgia-Florida, so made the early (for him) morning trip to Holly Springs. We had yummy food to eat and fun crafts for the big kids. By the time we sang "Happy Birthday" to Caroline, she was ready for a nap. She got so many wonderful gifts! We are loving all of the girl toys in the house these days!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I am going to miss this

Yesterday was rough, R-O-U-G-H! Blinking back tears at 6 o'clock rough. Kids in bed before 7 rough. Get the picture? (I am sure it goes without mentioning that Nate is in LA this week for work so I am doing the single mom thing). Then I stumbled upon this blog. When Caroline was a newborn, Nate and I really didn't mind getting up with her because we knew it wouldn't last forever. At some point between then and yesterday, I forgot how much I am going to miss this. The blog post below was a nice reminder.
I’m gonna miss this
How do you do it? How do you stay so calm with four young children?”

Part of it is just how God made me, I think. I am pretty calm with my children. And, honestly, often I stay calm even in the midst of chaos because, frankly, it’s better than the alternative. A shrieking, freaking out mama is not going to make an already stressful situation any better. So, for the most part, I stay calm and try to be in the moment with my children.

But how do I do it?

There is one little bit of inspiration that literally descended upon me almost two years ago, while I was holding Nuggey in the bathroom, that has completely revolutionized my parenting. When I keep this truth in mind, I find it as easy as apple pie to stay calm in the midst of toddler chaos.

I remember that I’m gonna miss this.

It was dark, during the end of bathtime, and Prince Charming was gone. I was doing dinner, baths and bedtime myself those days, as my husband worked late. It had been, undoubtedly, a long day with the kids. Big Mac was three, Nuggey was one and a half and Small Fry was a baby. It is as clear as day still, this memory.

I was sitting on the toilet, drying MckNugget off after his bath. Small Fry, unable to roll, was sprawled on the floor of the bathroom on some towels, wearing nothing but a diaper and a grimace. Big Mac was still in the tub. He was squawking to get out and Small Fry was bellyaching for attention. But I slowly wrapped Nuggey up in his towel, determined to stay calm, and cuddled him in terrycloth. I slowly rocked him back and forth in my arms and sang Rock-a-bye Baby to my second born.

As I wrapped up the song, I prepared to sit Nuggey up and attend to the chaos that was the other children. After all, there were baths to finish, teeth to brush, diapers to put on, jammies to find and beds to tuck children into. But as he sensed me about to right him, Nuggey tossed his wet head back in my arms and looked up at me. “Uh-gain!”

So I sang Rock-a-bye Baby one more time, but I told him it would be the last. Yet when I finished, he begged again for more.

I didn’t want to do more. I didn’t want to sing to him one more time. I was tired. Tired of children, tired of singing, tired of the day. I just wanted it to be over. But then suddenly, as if fairy dust was sprinkled from the heavens right onto my tired head, the entire reality of my future set in.

I’m gonna miss this.

I looked down at little Nuggey, his damp eyelashes long and dark batting at me, his tiny bottom cradled in my hand, his soft, chubby legs thrown over my arm, his body entirely dependent on mine as I held him in my lap, and I could see the future. Nuggey, a grown boy, sporting a football jersey and facial hair, walked out of the bathroom. It was going to happen, and soon. And while I knew there would be joys with that time in my life, when our young children are teenagers and beyond, it struck me like a ton of bricks.

When that time comes, I’m gonna miss this.

When Nuggey comes home from college, barely speaks a word to me and hibernates in his bedroom all summer, I’m gonna miss this. As my mind fast forwarded to the future, I knew that at that moment, I would give anything for 20 year old Nuggey to be a toddler again, just for one more hour, so I could rock him and sing while I stroked his wet head.

And here, years earlier, I was being given my wish. I was able to rock Nuggey, a nearly helpless babe in arms, one more time.

Given a new perspective from which to see, I sang Rock-a-bye Baby as many times as Nuggey would let me that night. Eventually Small Fry found her hands and started admiring them, and Big Mac grabbed a new tub toy. And I relished that time with my son in my arms, knowing that soon enough he would be all grown, and my arms would ache to hold him like a baby again.

I’m gonna miss this.

My mind cannot help but wander to those parents who have lost children. What on earth would they not give to hold their children again, even for a moment. I bet they would not complain about having to sing Rock-a-bye Baby one more time. Rather, they would probably give their right arm to sing it ten million times until their voice was hoarse and their eyelids closed in slumber.

And women with empty wombs who long and pray and ache for children? What honor am I doing them if I take for granted the fact that I have children, young children who are begging me to cuddle them, sing to them. I will love those women who long for a baby by loving my babies and not taking them for granted.

So, I determined right there and then in the bathroom to try to be ever thankful for the moments I do have with my children. I will not wish away their young years, always hoping to get more laundry done or other children dried off. I will relish each kiss, hug and song. I will leave their childhood behind with no regrets, no “I love you” unsaid, no cheek unkissed, no request to “Cuddle wif’ me!” turned down. Even as the macaroni flies and the Sharpie stains my table, even when there are midnight wailers and globs of Desitin under my fingernails, I know…

…I know I’m gonna miss this.

Monday, January 4, 2010

So, this is going well...

I have just returned from the brink of death. Seriously. I came down with the stomach flu New Year's Eve and have not felt right until today. I promise gobs of pictures and witty posts once we get back to normal around here. Nate did great taking care of the banshees and Stafford. Funny story to hold you over until I resume posting: The boys forgot to put the liner in the tub when they took a shower on January 1st so they "made it rain" in the kitchen.
Love you, mean it,
PS I promise to change the background as well. Or maybe I will just wait until fall rolls around again....