Eight is Great

For some reason, I have always been caught off guard with how old Raegan is getting. As in every year, all year long, other kiddos who share her birth year celebrate their birthdays and I think, “WHOA! _____ is FOUR (or SIX or now EIGHT)?! That means RAEGAN IS GOING TO BE THAT OLD SOON, TOO!” And for real – this internal monologue is always in shouty caps in my brain because it’s just so shocking to me.

At the exact same time, I’ve felt this particular year that she’s been eight for ages. I keep referencing her as such in conversations with people or when I tell stories about my children. She’s already my “8yo” which I’m guessing stems from the fact that because she’s so darn helpful all the time, I figure she must be moons and moons older than her sweet little face implies.

In all reality, both sides of my confusion are right. It’s both incredible that we are here already AND she’s a wise old soul wrapped in a youthful ball of energy.

I guess this makes eight the sweet spot of childhood because she is in many ways grown but still so capable of letting loose and having pure fun. And I am legit thankful for her every day. She helps with her youngest siblings (and about squeals herself in two whenever WA does some cute new thing) and keeps her surrounding brothers honest, too. But more so, she shares her big heart with us and others and all I can really say here is if you don’t know or have a Raegan in your life, I sure hope you find one because she is a gift on a daily basis.

And tomorrow she is EIGHT.

In keeping with this year’s birthday blog post tradition, here are Eight Great Things to know about Miss RL:

  1. Unicorns are still the best thing ever. She wants them on her PJs and shirts and pants and head and birthday cake and just anywhere she can get them please and thank you. img_5718
  2. She is – and has been for quite some time – our best sleeper. If you’ve been with the blog for the long haul, you may remember that she didn’t let me sleep through the night at all of the first 8 or 9 months of her life and almost broke me with her sleep-dep-inducing habits, but, friends! We made it through to the other side and now she sleeps like a freaking champ (unless the power cuts out the white noise and then heaven help us all)! Miracles do exist and irony lives.
  3. Give this girl some pasta and she’ll love you forever. She now knows what boiling water smells like and is always super pumped when I tell her that yes, yes it is for noodles (which she accepts in pretty much all form). Apple/Tree, I tell you!
  4. She devours books. Her favorite thing to do each morning is turn her light on 15 minutes early before get up time (which she’s allowed to do because of her sleeping champ status, much to the chagrin of her brothers) and read. Again: Apple! Tree!
  5. She is so darn good at creating. This takes the form of coloring and crafting and just flat out playing and imagining. She can turn any toy or item into a story. And if you’ve never heard it, her reading/narrating voice is the absolute best.
  6. As much as she likes quiet play and reading, she also loves being part of the action. From soccer and baseball to bike rides and the trampoline, Raegge keeps moving all the time.
  7. She finally lets me put her hair up in ponies! This may seem like a funny item to list, but seriously – this is her third year in full-day school and it’s the first one in which she’s come to me on a regular basis (actually more like every day) to request her hair being put up. You got it, Sister!
  8. She’s growing like a weed. Like her daddy and many a brother around her, she’s all legs for days and growth spurts as of late. Apparently that means some growing pains, too, which hopefully we can start to alleviate, but goodness me. So big. So fast. All of the sudden and totally expected. EIGHT.

Happy Birthday, Biggest Girl. We are beyond blessed to call you ours.

The Second Grade Sickies

In what feels waaay too freakishly similar to what we went through two years ago when HD ended up with a mystery bug to start off the school year, we are now on Day 5 of fevers and headaches and stomach aches for our current 2nd Grader, Miss Raegan.

Because of the nervous-making mumps reports in the great state of Nebraska, I took her in on her first day home sick from school, last Friday. Strep test was negative, so we hunkered down for the weekend, prepared to treat symptomatically/over the counter. And that’s what we did, day after day after day for the 3-day weekend. Not really an exciting way to spend Labor Day weekend, but honestly, I prefer quiet weekends and it is what all of us needed to start off the school year anyway.

But I’d really rather not have illness be the driving force behind our stay-at-home choice. And poor Raegan – she’s so sad that the real week has started now and she’s missing school. Again. (and will be again tomorrow because she’s definitely not yet fever free which is the real marker for returning to the classroom).

In the midst of these attempts to get our big girl healthy, I’m also flashing back to almost four years ago because the last week also feels freakishly similar to having a newborn in the house which we just about did at this time then (Trumy’s bday is this coming Friday). I share the level of the house on which RL sleeps and normally she’s our RockStar best sleeper in the bunch, but not when she’s sick and definitely not with this virus.

For the first time ever, we’ve got a kid having fever dreams. Have you ever had those in your house? Hoby pokes (WA’s version of Holy Smokes; I’m probably going to say it a lot forever, so, fair warning). It has been ROUGH. Poor girl had nightmares for three nights straight and would wake up in major distress each time. Then the last two nights have involved tummy aches and needing Mama at all hours of the night (last night I gave up and just climbed in bed with her) and yep – minus nursing and diaper changing duties (thank goodness), I feel newborn tired today. Both my body and my brain are dragging.

But my main concern is RL. I hate to see any of my babies sick but I really hate to see her sick like this. We’ve got another 48 hours to let this ride itself out and if no improvement, back to the doc office we go. Here’s hoping she is well on her to well before then.

Give Thanks

If you’ve been keeping up with the FB posts here lately, you’ll know that our Crazy May has indeed continued the last few days with RL taking another turn for the sickies Friday night (and then being totally OUT of it all day Saturday) and then Truman following suit (in the messiest way possible) late Saturday afternoon, resulting in more couch “sleeping” and So. MUCH. Laundry!

In the midst of all this chaos I realized I dropped the ball last week on Teacher Appreciation gifts (and also Mother’s Day cards, because adulting is hard), so the kids are taking them this week instead.

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Now I know in the past I’ve done “crafty” TA gifts because I’ve written posts about them (as if someone might pin them – *snort*) but clearly that’s just not happening in our world right now, so instead, a little truth for you. This year I went the “support local businesses” route instead, buying gift cards for teacher gifts (for coffee/alcohol, depending on their preferences – lol) and, a first, store bought (but still local!) cookies to share after LT’s preschool program.

Do I feel bad about this? Not at all. It’s what we could do and no one wants anything coming directly out of my house right now, anyway, so it’s all for the greater good.

img_0100Also for the greater good? Actually expressing gratitude (that gets hard when you’re low on sleep and immune systems), and by this I mean: writing thank yous.

Now. Writing thank yous is something my mom made us do always when we were growing up. I know I sometimes drug my feet a bit on it, but I’m pretty sure I always did them and the habit has stuck with me. I continue to send thank yous because I think they matter and I think they help us focus on the good in our life (and I don’t believe thank yous are just for responses to gifts, an idea that is supported by this book which is a great read), and I want my kids to do the same.

Writing thank yous is clearly nothing new in this house, but this weekend you would have thought I threw the biggest curve ball EVER when I asked the boys to do theirs to accompany their Teacher Appreciation gifts (RL was still convalescing and she wrote a thank you note of her own volition on Friday for a friend, so she’s clearly not part of this).

For the record, I was age-appropriate in my asking. HD was asked to write his in entirety and LT was asked just to sign his.

To protect the not-so-innocent, I won’t go into detail about what ensued, but it was ridiculous and long-lasting enough to frustrate even the utmost of patient parents (which I doubt we were given the lack of sleep and abundance of sickies in our house this week).

Eventualllllllllllly, they got their acts together and completed the tasks (and yes, HD wrote the perfectly lovely note I knew he was capable of doing). It’s not that they don’t appreciate and like their teachers; they just didn’t like and appreciate me telling them to tell them. And I get it. Forcing them to do thank yous creates one more power struggle here at home, but dang if it isn’t one that I’m going to keep after because I do want them to give thanks (preferably with a more grateful heart, but we’ll get there). I want them to know how to look around and see all that is being provided for them and to be able to express gratitude for it because those are valuable tools (and gifts).

Eventually we will find a way to remove the struggle from our thanks giving, which as you can see, RL has down in the best new-writer fashion:img_0128img_0126

 

 

Crazy May

If you’re reading this (i.e., if you’re human), I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how bonkers May is. It is truth. And you already know the hubbub well. If I took a picture of our calendar, it would say much the same (and my anxiety levels feel it, too). But our May is off to a cray-cray start not (just) because of the schedule, but the oddities my children are throwing at us.

860fd21b-d3bb-4cc6-b5e4-f9721a00134dMost current is an at-home with a tummy-bug that started last night RL. She is slowly doing better but she’s super sad to be missing tonight’s Student Success night at school and I haven’t even had the heart to tell her that she’s going to have to stay home and miss her first-ever Field Day tomorrow. For my little Kindergartner who LOVES school, this is like a double whammy of feeling crappy because both her body and her spirit are suffering.

But stomach bugs aren’t all that weird, even this time of year. They seem to suck more when the weather is nice, but they happen, so although not ideal (and definitely still contributing to the crazy), not that unknown.

However, Raegan is not the only girl in our house throwing curve balls this month. On Saturday I walked in to see Wilson on her tummy in her crib which was a HUGE shock because she’s been sleeping the last month-ish in a Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit (worth the look if you’ve never seen them as they are a great swaddle transition) and the whole point beyond keeping them from punching themselves in the face during the night is to KEEP THEM ON THEIR BACKS.

Not my Wonder Baby/She-woman. She is too strong for mere mortals and also for magic baby gear, apparently. So bye-bye Merlin and Hello, Halos, instead! Of course this means she has way more freedom in her crib and as you might remember from previous mentions, she’s in this phase where she often forgets that she can in fact roll from her belly to her back, so now when she should be sleeping or napping, she’s often yelling because she’s “stuck” belly surfing. Heaven help our tired souls (which did not benefit from poor RL being up alllll night with the urps last night, either. Also. Whatever.).

And while this conundrum at this age is new to us, it’s also not that strange. Babies get bigger and they outgrow fixes. In fact, that’s still the best baby advice I ever received from a friend after HD was born: as soon as you think you know what the kid is doing, said kid is going to change. FOREVER.

What is both new AND strange to us, and to others I’m willing to guess, happened Friday night to one of our boys. Not naming because I’m trying to protect anonymity and privacy here, but the gist of the story is that a certain body part on a boy got horribly and inexplicably swollen Friday evening, resulting in a trip to Convenient Care which then lead to the ER (!!!) for an ultrasound to make sure that surgery was not needed on (un)said body part that same night.

Yep. Not even kidding.

The whole thing was a whirlwind and scary but thankfully did NOT result in surgery (for real, I’m cool if #WonderWilson is the only one who ever needs that in our family’s story), and the child in question has been doing pretty OK since. He is on meds and will do a follow up with our family doctor and then later in May a specialist, so I might have more to share then, but for now I’m just starting at the calendar and thinking: good gravy, that’s a lot for a five-day time span.

But that’s motherhood, isn’t it? Lots of plates spinning with unknown new plates getting tossed in to the mix when we least expect it. And so we just keep spinning. Thankful to be doing so for another day, even if it’s a day that requires a lot (a LOT) of coffee to keep it all going.

Rest over Nest

For the last week and a half (or more), my nesting has been in full force. I have been tackling long untouched areas of the house, so much so that one morning I stirred up an alarming amount of sneeze-inducing dust for a 9-month-preggers-with-Baby-No5 woman to exposure herself to unprotected. And every night I have been trying to make sure that the house is tidy enough just in case I’m not actually here in the morning because said Baby No5 decided we needed to head to the hospital overnight. 

But today all of that went by the wayside not because of said Baby, but because of said Baby’s big sister. When RL came down with a stomach bug around midnight last night (& let’s face it; I don’t think my twitchy legs/false contracty belly had really slept prior to that), I went from sort of hoping labor was coming to adamantly hoping it was NOT. 

20+ hours later and I am glad to say that that remains the case because, wow, today would not have been a good one for needing to go to the hospital. Poor RL hasn’t kept a thing down all day. And while it is tempting to say I got nothing done today as a result, that’s not true. I got to be next to her as she got sick (again and again) and reassure her that everything was OK, and I also got to forego all naps and run around the house cleaning moments because those first two jobs took all time and attention today.

And in a bizarre way, I am OK with that because my system is shot and the fact that I did not try to overdo it today to make sure the house is in pristine order is good. Even though I could not nap, I could still let my body and the baby chill a bit and clearly that worked because no signs of labor today is exactly what I wanted and I got that, so perhaps we can get some actual sleep tonight and recover a bit before real sleep dep comes with newborn mode (however based on this sentence, I fear my brain has already gone there a bit). 

So fingers crossed that RL is only one to get sick and that she is all better come Morning because as much as I can sing, “rest is best” (thanks, DT) I don’t know if another day of being forced into it over nesting is something I or my kitchen counter can handle right now. 

No Tears!

Friends, Raegan has been waiting for this day for, well, possibly two years when HD img_7413started Kindergarten, so to say that she was Ready is a bit of an understatement. She was so ready that we had tears yesterday because HD got to start and she had to wait for today! My sweet girl. Can you see that longing look in her eye in the photo bomb from his first day pics? Yep. She was more than pumped to get up today and Get It!

And you know what? It was a great morning. Much better than yesterday, actually. img_7423Maybe it was the sunshine or the fact that now, today, our real big kid school routine begins (preK will be added in a couple weeks and then we’ll have a couple/few months of normalcy before Baby arrives), but wow – total difference in everyone’s attitude and temperament (including Mama’s). Also, she told me I picked “perfectly” with her golden unicorn t-shirt for her to wear today. 😉

img_7435We got to walk with friends to school as we like to do and from there, it was a bit of back and forth across the playground for myself and the littlest boys (naturally the grades in which my kids land line up on opposite sides of the building) but we got to catch up with Big Brother (who ran ahead with his buddies) for a quick photo and hug (and face wipe which I also had to do for Raegan — apparently we need to install some more lighting in our house because I had no idea they still had breakfast faces until we got out in the sunshine of the playground. Whoops.) And then it was a quick dash back to Raegge for all the same before watching her walk in for her first day.

She was a Rock Star. No tears. No freakout when I left her to go check on HD. She just flat out nailed it. And you know what? So did I! I had the sunnies ready to go to hide my blotchy face and tissues in my bag, but no tears, my friends! From any of us! I can’t even possibly explain this except that she was so solid and that helped me keep it together, too. Could the tears still come? You bet. But for now, this – a quick little note to my girl on her first day of school:

Dearest Raegan,

Welcome to Kindergarten, Baby Girl! We are so proud of the amazing person you are and on this, your first day of school, we wish you all the continued fun, learning, and excitement with which you have so anxiously awaited this day. Your strength of spirit, your creativity, and your spark for life are inspirations to your dad and I, not to mention great sources of joy for all who know you. May you always carry the tenacity, sweetness, and love you hold inside you today with you wherever you go, for we know you are off and on your way to do and be amazing. We love you, Raegee. Go get ’em, girlie! 

Love,

Mama*

*OK, there are the sniffles. I knew they weren’t far below the surface! img_7429

 

Someone Loves Scissors (and other random Tuesdayness)

Oh my word. I guess the full moon before Christmas is always an interesting one, but my children have been in FINE form today. I give you a semi-chronological list of evidence:

  1. The Bigs emptied every blessed book from our shelves this morning into two huge piles on our couches in a counting contest to see who could get more in their pile. I’ve never thought there was such a thing as too many books until today. Bright side – the shelves now look impeccable because I sorted them as I made the kids bring them back to me after breakfast? img_4482
  2. Lincoln, the child I can never for the ever loving life of me get dressed in anything img_4478other than pajamas, flat out refused to wear PAJAMAS for PAJAMA DAY at preschool. Last night? Totally stoked. Going to wear footies. Today? Not having it. Not one bit.
  3. While waiting in between drop off times for preschool, Raegan was like a loud pinball in the hallway – literally bouncing off the walls and chairs and floor while she played with the baby and some other friends that play the same waiting game we do every T/Th. Seriously. Who caffeinated my children this morning?!
  4. Truman has become the Mad Thrasher any time I go to pick him up for a diaper change. He wants so badly to do his own thing that clearly my desire to keep him dry and smelling so fresh and so clean, clean is totally insulting. Also, he wants to walk. And he gets mad when things or his feet or poor balance get in the way. Also, he is fighting a cold. And he gets mad when I try to wipe his face. Basically, he’s just having A (MAD) WEEK.
  5. The Middles tend to get into a lot of shenanigans while I nurse the baby for his afternoon nap, but today each one had their own infraction. Lincoln, I discovered after coming back downstairs, had taken his glass glass from lunch and chucked it on the floor, which resulted thankfully not in it breaking, but in orange juice (also fighting a cold) being all over the floor. Perhaps this explains why I did not notice RL’s issue until I went to wash my hands in the bathroom and discovered hair in the sink. img_4481
  6. Yep, the girl who loves love loves to color and then cut paper, finally took the scissors to her hair. It doesn’t help that two boys have haircuts today and she doesn’t, but thankfully I can’t even see where she took the chunk out of her hair, so I guess all is well still for her preschool program at the end of the week and we don’t have to add a third cut to the hair dresser docket.

And you guys, this was all before 1:00 p.m.! These children, I tell ya!

But in some not-exasperating-at-all news, I picked up a post at Her View From Home this week and it is live on their site today. It’s about telehealth which I totally didn’t even really know what a legit thing until we tried it over the weekend. Have you ever used it? Fascinating stuff!

So – the rest of Tuesday….well, TBD, I guess. Here’s hoping the shenanigans are out of the way!