Then Someone Hands You A Baby

November 18th, 2016

A lot of people told me that once you have three kids, adding any more is basically no big deal. You’re already outnumbered and have been practicing zone defense for a while. You probably already drive a minivan. You’re used to multi-tasking while being perpetually tired. The bigger ones can help with the smaller ones.

Although all of those circumstances are true for me, going from 3 to 4 has not been easy. At all. I’m getting my ass kicked a little bit. There’s a Jim Gaffigan bit where he talks about having five kids: “Imagine you’re drowning. Then someone hands you a baby.” I feel like four kids might be the point where I’m still treading water but seriously wondering why the shore is so, so far away.

When I went from one to two, Evan was still a toddler with no commitments. If everyone was tired and wanted to sleep in, we all slept in. When he napped, she napped, and then I could nap. He ate basically nothing but goldfish crackers and cups of milk. We owned 243% fewer toys that could be spread out over the entire house. It was still hard, because taking care of kids is hard, but it wasn’t daunting. By the time I went from two to three, both Evan and Caroline were in school, so although I had to get them up and out the door every day once that was done I just had one newborn to keep alive which I could do entirely from the couch. Linc and I could handle errands or chores or work thanks to babywearing and an infant who started sleeping 8+ hours a night around 6 weeks.

Now I have both big kids who have to be dressed and fed and packed and put on the bus; a toddler who wakes up too early, is trying to give up his nap, needs to be fed a constant stream of pb&j sandwiches; and then I also have a helpless baby who isn’t much of a fan of sleeping.

Being a stay at home mom has always been a weird mix of always having way too much to do and long, boring periods of nothing. There is always something or someone who needs to be cleaned, so my work is never really done. There is so much laundry it feels almost comical – how can we own so many things that constantly need to be washed?! It’s so much mindless work. I can’t trust Linc alone with Finn for very long, so I’m not taking as many showers as I probably should be. (I don’t think he’d hurt him on purpose, but sometimes he gets the urge to just SQUEEZE HIS HEAD BECAUSE HE’S SOOOOO CUTE and doesn’t know that’s not a good idea.) I am currently serving as a 24 hour buffet for the baby, so having to feed everyone else too seems ridiculous. Can’t they all just feed themselves with food that magically appears in our kitchen? I used to love cooking, now it’s tedious. The level of being touched-out has reached new heights – Finn is a very cuddly baby, especially at 2 am, but Linc is also a very cuddly toddler. There are So. Many. Diapers.

I know in my head that this is all super temporary. We missed a lot of our favorite October stuff this year because I was too tired to wrangle everyone out of the house, but there will be 18 more Octobers where I have at least one child at home to do fun fall things with me. Right now I need to choose the less stressful option, maybe let myself be more lazy than I’m usually comfortable with, perhaps do just a little less for the holidays so I don’t end up freaking out completely. I’m hoping my friends and family can grant me some grace for not being as thoughtful and timely with their gifts and thank you notes and baked goods and holiday cards.

One day, in a future I can’t quite imagine yet, having four children will be totally normal for me. It won’t take me 30 minutes to get everyone settled just so I can go do laundry for 5 minutes. I won’t constantly run out of food because I forget how much 6 people eat. I will sleep more than 3 hours in a row and it might even be in my bed instead of on the couch. There’s even a chance I will go to Target and won’t lose ANY of my kids. For now, I will keep my head above water however I can and not pretend I’m doing it very well.

I can, however, occasionally force them into photos.

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Here Are Some Nice Pictures To Look At

November 13th, 2016

I don’t think I’ve ever written about my 365 Project here on my own blog. I wrote about it for Jill’s blog once last year and I share my photos on Facebook and Flickr (when I remember to put them on Flickr – here’s 2015 and this year). But if you just happened to stumble across my blog here, you’ve never seen most of those photos I take every day.

Since pictures are about as much as I am capable of right now, here are a bunch of this year’s photos that make me smile. And who doesn’t like happy photos?

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32

 

54

60

66

94

106

108

114

120

134

149

200

176

245

247

254

272

286

294

302

309

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My Week(314) in iPhone Photos

November 12th, 2016

Late again. Honestly, for most of the week it was a miracle I kept my family alive, there was no chance of me blogging. I don’t talk about politics much here, partly because it doesn’t come up when I’m mostly sharing photos of my family, partly out of a desire to avoid conflict and partly so my parents don’t have to constantly pray for my soul (we have…very different opinions on many things). But in this case I feel like I need to be clear: I am devastated and shocked, to a degree that has surprised me. I wasn’t at all prepared for these feelings and I’m struggling. I don’t expect my blogging schedule will get any better in the next few weeks.

Sunday:

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Caroline’s favorite hobby

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Still gotta catch ’em all

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The location of one of my best photoshoots to date

Monday:

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Couch naps are happening here more and more

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Sure, why WOULDN’T you hit me with a stick?

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Trick or treating

Tuesday:

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This bear was such an excellent purchase

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Bus stop hand holding

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Edit all day, edit all night

Wednesday:

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We really like fall

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One of the last days where the sun doesn’t set before 5 pm

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Rolls on rolls

Thursday:

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Snuggle all day

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These pants tho

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Evan’s face when Linc meets him at the bus

Friday:

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His head is SO ROUND

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Someone found the donut holes

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Card night

Saturday:

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Every kid at mini sessions asked if this was a haunted cabin

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I love working

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I do not love this new hairstylist

I’ve spent the last two morning in Mystic, enjoying the fall weather and sunshine and refusing to let myself wallow. They also sell fudge. That might be the real reason I’ve managed to drag myself out of bed.

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My Week(313) in iPhone Photos

November 7th, 2016

This was two weeks ago. I keep failing at this “post more, in a more timely manner” way. But I finished my photography work this weekend – at least the shooting part, now I just have to edit – so hopefully I can catch up and finish the four posts I have in drafts. Although they’re all about how having 4 kids is hard, so maybe I’ll make it one post.

Sunday:

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One of my favorite fall spots

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Beautiful evening for a photo shoot

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I came home to video games and no pants

Monday:

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This is why I hardly blog

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They’re obsessed with our Halloween decorations

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I’m not crying, you’re crying

Tuesday:

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Smirk captured by Lincoln

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CHUBS

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His hood has fox ears

Wednesday:

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Portrait mode – cool, but lousy in low light

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He fell asleep on me…

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…but didn’t budge when I got up to make dinner

Thursday:

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Shenanigans

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Lap naps

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Edit edit edit edit

Friday:

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These are my favorite jammies

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Hand me downs are her favorite

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Movies in the car during piano lessons = game changer

Saturday:

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SNACKS ARE HIS FAVORITE

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End of soccer season reward

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Pumpkin shopping

Oh look, I’m almost finished and now the baby is awake again. One day I will get a full hour of free time.

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Finnegan: 2 Months

October 31st, 2016

Finnegan is 2 months old!

(Lincoln: 2  Months, Caroline: 2 Months)

If tiny babies are good at one thing, it’s making you appreciate how easy tiny babies are when compared to toddlers. But since this isn’t a Lincoln update post, I’ll try to avoid talking just about him. But you guys, the Terrible Twos are in full swing. SO MUCH SWING.

Speaking of swings, Finnegan really loves his swing. He sleeps longer in it (like his sister did) and it calms him down even if he’s fussing. I’m a little afraid we’re going to create a monster who ONLY sleeps in his swing and never flat in a crib, but I also really like sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time so for now he can swing as much as he wants. I’ve managed to leave the house without him FOUR times in the last week (all for work, because October is crazy for photographers, even photographers who aren’t really trying to work). He’s still so-so about taking a bottle but it’s not really negotiable for me. I need to be able to let someone else do baby-care for a few hours, for my own health and sanity. I’m averaging just under 5 hours of sleep a night, at least half of which is with the baby on me.

Baby Finn is wearing 3-6 month clothes almost all the time now, and I’m not buying anything smaller than 6-9 months. He’s enormous: 14 pounds, 8 oz at his 8 week check up, which puts him in the 90th percentile. I feel like he’s only going to get chubbier too, since the only energy his baby life currently requires is being awake enough to eat and poop and he’s mastered doing both of those in his sleep. He doesn’t hate the car or the store or going places, but he doesn’t seem to really enjoy anything yet. Besides snuggles. He enjoys snuggles. Lots and lots of snuggles.

He also liked sitting in this chair for his 2 month photos, which seems weird to me. Are 2 month olds even allowed to look so big? I don’t think so.

Likes: eating, sleeping, looking at things, his siblings, being warm

Dislikes: gas, pooping, bad dreams, having cold feet

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2 Month Milestones 

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Vocalizes: gurgles and coos – Sometimes, not a ton
Follows objects across field of vision – With a lot of head bobbling
Notices her hands – He started sucking on them, but hasn’t really “mastered” that
Holds head up for short periods – You can even see his neck!

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Smiles, laughs – Lots of smiles, but nothing I’d call a laugh
Holds head at 45-degree angle – I’ve never understood this question
Makes smoother movements – There’s definitely less startling than as a newborn

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Holds head steady – No, he’s a bobble head
Can bear weight on legs – Occasionally
Lifts head and shoulders when lying on tummy (mini-pushup) – Hahaha I’d have to put him on the floor to see this and I never put him on the floor. He’d get trampled.

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