About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Keep on talkin' the talk

The synagogue we go to has a monthly kids service. It is led by a woman, Robin, who is really good with the kids and who Elie and, especially, Isaac both love. She has great songs and is really engaging. We happen to like her too. However, Elie and Isaac have a way of believing that even in a large group of kids, they are the only ones that Robin is speaking to or interacting with. On Saturday there was a kids service and we got ourselves together and made it to the synagogue on time. Everyone got situated and Elie and Isaac sat themselves down right in the front row. Lo and behold, Robin started asking questions and because Elie and Isaac were shouting out answers, none of the other kids had a chance to respond. One of the other moms leaned over to me and said, while kinda laughing, "Look it's the Elie and Isaac show." Part of me was mortified. I don't want to have the kids that monopolize the adult attention of whatever interaction is going on. As it is, they will talk the ear off of anyone who pays five seconds of attention to them. It doesn't matter where we are, what is going on, or who it is. If you engage my older two for any length of time, they will talk to you in that small child way that will suck you in and never let you go. You know the one, the one that you feel bad for having to break off because the child is just talking and cheerily sharing little bits of information on and on and on and on and......And part of me was happy that they feel so comfortable with Robin and so confident in themselves. I hope that they always have that kind of confidence and comfortable feeling. I know (hope!) that they will learn what socially acceptable conversations with strangers are, but sometimes (okay, all the time) they do talk a lot, with anyone.

We stayed after school one day last week so that the kids could play on the playground. It is a nice big playground and they really enjoy it. Plus, usually, other families stay to play, so they get extra time with their school friends. Well, this day no one else stayed. So the kids were playing and I was nursing Leila. Across the playground I see Isaac hit Elie for no reason, so I called him over to where I was sitting. He jumped down from where he was and put both hands on his face; fingers pointed up, palms to his eyes, and started to walk across the playground! I knew right away that he was experimenting with trying to walk with out looking. But the funniest part was that he'd walk five or six steps with his eyes covered, take a quick peek, readjust his aim so he was walking in the right direction, and then cover his eyes again. All this while still continuing to walk. By the time he got to me I was so amused by his little experiment that I could hardly talk to him about hitting Elie.

Talia, as of late, has turned into quite the little tyrant. Most of her antics are aimed at disrupting whatever play is going on with out her. If Elie is involved in quiet pretend play with her dollies, Talia will come up and grab a doll or mess up whatever Elie has created for them. If Isaac is playing with something, Talia will grab whatever it is and run away from him. ARGHGHGHGH She is a piece of work and we are really going to have to keep on her, to make sure she doesn't turn into the tyrant of the family.

Today the kids were in the backyard and Isaac yelled "I found the football." Then he says to Talia "Now we'll play football. I'll push you down." I assume this is because he's watched football with us and thinks that is what they do. I quickly explained to him about touch football. He seemed to internalize it because he would hold the football, run after Talia, she would fall down and he would touch her. It was interesting that she understood that she was supposed to somehow end up on the ground, but they don't seem to understand that the football is supposed to change hands.

Leila is doing so well. She is growing so incredibly quickly. I can hardly believe that she is three weeks old today. She's already outgrowing sleepers. Sniff, sniff. And so it begins. Today she was having some quiet alert time and I poked my face into her vision and gave her a big smile. I started talking to her and she smiled back, a huge grin covered her face. It was beautiful. I love being a mom!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We're Surviving!

Yay! We're all surviving! We've managed to get out the door and get to school on time everyday this week. I've come up with some new ways to do things (ie make lunches after dinner for the next day) and we're all working together to make sure that everything that needs to get done, happens before we leave. I'm not even feeling too stressed. Leila does scream a bit in the car, but she typically calms down pretty quickly. The other kids seem to be happy and normal, also, I was kind of worried about how they would cope, but they are doing great!

One big reason I'm feeling pretty relaxed is that we've been getting dinners from other families at the preschool. One of the moms organized a sign up and so we're getting three dinners a week for almost the entire month of May. WOW! I was a bit hesitant about the situation at first. I felt silly for taking them up on the offer of dinners, as though I wasn't deserving enough. I really felt like I *could* be making dinner so I *should* be making dinner. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but I was uncomfortable about all the offers of help. But lemme tell ya, it has been SO incredibly helpful. Our ready-made dinners started with David, Adam's dad, on Saturday night. David and Janna came over and brought a giant dinner with them. So we had delicious food then and there were enough leftovers that I didn't have to cook on Sunday. On Monday our school organized dinners started and they've been just great. The meals we've gotten so far have been yummy, healthy, and have been large portions, so we've even had plenty of leftovers. I honestly did not realize how incredibly helpful and relaxing it would be to not have to worry about feeding the family and myself.

Not to say that everything has been sweetness and light. Yesterday I got a call from the school that Isaac was coughing so much he couldn't catch his breath. So I ran over there and while on the way I called for a drs appointment. I'd been thinking he needed to go, but I was procrastinating, and then all of a sudden it seemed like I needed to take him NOW. Unfortunately the appointment was for one o'clock and that meant that he would have to leave school early, as would Elie. Well, Elie was really sad about having to leave early and so one of our friends so kindly said that she could take Elie home with her. So off I ran to Bethesda to take Isaac to the doctors. The doctor was great and gave Isaac two kinds of allergy medication and more inhaler stuff. So, it looks like we are going to be battling asthma because of allergies. Poor Isaac. It doesn't seem to slow him down much and I'm hoping we can prevent it from ever being a problem for him. He loves sports so much and we are hoping to get him into some organized stuff in the near future. We finally managed to leave the hospital and get home. I was exhausted and worried about Leila (even though she had been nursing anytime we were sitting down while we were at the hospital), but Isaac seems much better since we got medication in him. I hate using the inhaler, but it really seems to make a difference.

Well, Leila's asleep and Talia and Isaac are using a wooden spoon and a plastic sword to beat on the furniture, so I think I need to go find something for them to do! (We actually have to put away clean laundry, which I've also been (amazingly) keeping ahead of.) So we're off to have a normal, productive life, with four kids. Amazing!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reviewing the Last Few Weeks

It's been so long since I last posted about what was going on in our day-to-day life, I can hardly remember what I wanted to say. I've got countless little stories and I'll tell them first and then move on to the big stuff.

When my parents were here we were talking with Elie about what her swimming class was called. She squinted and thought and finally looked at us and said "dawdlers"? It was actually called "waddlers" but I think "dawdlers" is much funnier and much more appropriate. Then we all joked about how Isaac would be the teacher (he's the KING of dawdling) and had a good laugh. Later in the visit my mother was walking with Talia and all of a sudden Talia looked up at my mom and announced "me dawdler!" It is so funny what they remember and what they repeat.

Speaking of repeating on the Thursday before my parents were leaving, Isaac was asking if they'd be picking him up from school. They sadly replied that they were leaving in the morning and wouldn't be there. He said "that sucks!" Alright, so not exactly the words we'd like him to use, but it does accurately express the sentiment we were all feeling!

We were up at the National Naval Medical Center, where we have our doctors appointments. There is a really nice book section outside of pediatrics and some naval wives club purchases books and then the kids are allowed to take one home if they like. So we were there and someone offered to the kids they could pick a book, which they wanted to do. The book that Elie picked up was titled "Jesus loves me." She says "look mom, this book plays music!" Which it did. She then proceeded to push the button and it started playing "Go tell it on the mountain." Mom, Dad and I all stifled our laughter and I told Elie that she needed to pick a different book.

Elie has been secretly practicing reading, or she knows more than she is letting on, because recently she's been reading words and spelling them correctly. (Though clearly she does not know how to read "Jesus Loves Me" nor does she know what that means.) I know that we should not push her and so I'm just trying to challenge her without being obvious about it. I also know that I need to make her reading a priority and have been doing a bad job (even before Leila's arrival) of making time for Elie to read in an environment that is laid back and focused on her success. I mean, who wants to sit and read when your brother and sister are running around, playing and being loud? She'll figure it out, I'm sure, I just have to make the time to encourage her.

Speaking of Elie, someone neglected to mention to me that five is the sixteen of pre-school. Dear Lord. I cannot even begin to explain how contrary, bossy, attitude-filled, and generally unpleasant her behavior has been these days. At first I thought it was because of Leila. But then I got to talking with my mother and with other moms at the preschool and I realize it is EVERYONE. Oh. MY. Goodness. I really don't know what happened to my sweet, compassionate, desperate to please, well behaved little girl. I guess I know she's still in there, but the constant battling is really getting old. And not only is it her, but Isaac has picking up on the constant arguing with instruction. ARGHGHGHGH. We've developed a battle plan, as it were, and we're really trying to give her one-on-one attention, reward her good behavior and quickly nip in the bud the ugly behavior. Gosh, it sounds so easy, if only it were. There are days I see the Elie on the other side of five and she is responsible, considerate, interesting and really cool and fun to be around. But on the days she is five, things get a little rocky sometimes.

Despite Elie being *five*, they are all adjusting quite well to Leila's arrival. I had stepped back from playing a large part in some roles (like bedtime ritual) so that it wouldn't be a giant shock when Leila arrived and I couldn't take part. Unfortunately, Leila is a snacker, so she nurses in little spurts, while sucking lots of air, so she needs burped quite a bit. Fortunately, the kids are thrilled that this makes me sit down for long periods and I am able to read as many books to them in a row as they want. Talia was really moving away from being *The Baby* and so I don't think she even feels terribly displaced. I do know that when Leila starts being mobile and grabbing toys that there will be an even bigger adjustment period. Right now, it is easy to love a new baby. There is all sorts of attention, mom is doing the laundry much faster so their favorite clothes are always clean, and it's easy to kiss and hold a small baby lump. Elie loooooves to hold Leila and all three kids looooove to help; undoing snaps and getting diapers are popular jobs. They also enjoy singing to Leila (though the inability of the older two to carry a tune can sometimes be overwhelming). The other day Isaac came up to me and said "Can I sing a song to Leila?" I said "Yes, of course." And he leaned over her, with his eyes half closed and in his best lounge singer impression half-whispered "I love this song. I sing it all the time. It's called.....The Wheels On the Bus." Holy cow, I could hardly keep from busting a gut. He was gesturing with his hands and had this hilarious look on his face. Whew, they are such a kick.

It was so wonderful to have my parents here for three weeks. We had such a blast. We went to the kite festival, cherry blossom festival, the park, the commissary, the library. We hiked and went caching and just had an awesome time enjoying each other. It is so hard to live so far from one another because I truly feel like my parents are in my circle of Best Friends. It is so nice to have such experienced, knowledgeable and cool people to support us! Plus we have such a good time together. It was also truly amazing to have my Mom present for the birth of Leila. The plan was for Mom to catch Leila, but in the moment I needed her more to support me. I feel slightly selfish about that, but looking back, there was no way for me to even let her go. I was physically leaning on her and in the moment of pushing out Leila it didn't even occur to me to let her go. My Dad was also a huge help with Elie and Isaac and it was so incredibly wonderful to have him here. I didn't have one worry that the kids wouldn't be cared for and given whatever they needed. Thanks Mom and Dad, you guys are amazing and I am so happy you were here! In addition to being awesome support for the birth, they cooked and cleaned and allowed me to really recuperate from giving birth. I just can't even put into words how charmed a life I lead.

Things are starting to get back to a recognizable rhythm. Mom and Dad, sadly, had to leave to go back to their lives in Oregon (what? they have lives???) and we're starting to do things as a family. Today we participated in a Northern VA Geocaching association event and did a big hike (nursing Leila in the sling was not easy) and six caches. We had a great time as a family and it felt good to be out in the world again. (They were calling Leila a *nano cacher*!) Tomorrow Elie and Isaac have school, but it is the first day since Leila was born that I'll be on my own trying to get everyone out the door. I'm a little nervous, but I'm going to try and remember that being late isn't going to hurt anyone and that I don't need to yell or get crazy while trying to leave.
Whew. I'm worn out already! ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Our Baby Has ARRIVED!!!

Our beautiful third daughter made her way earthside on Monday, April 9th 2007 at 5:43 in the morning!!!! She was five days overdue and we were all REALLY ready for her to appear. My mother and father were present at her birth, along with her brother and sisters and Daddy. She is a loooong 22 inches, a skinny 8lbs 2oz, and had a nice large head of 14 1/4 inches. She has a little bit of light brown hair and is a MASTER nurser already. We are all absolutely in love and it was an amazing birth experience. Elie and Isaac are completely enamored of her and Talia is still trying to figure the whole thing out.

I am completely in awe of our ability to create such a tiny and miraculous being. And the most mind boggling part is that she grew inside of me. She grew in me. I can only think of one thing cooler and that is getting to be her mom and helping her grow outside of me.