Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The things Andrew says...

Andrew has always been a fabulous conversationalist.  He is lively and hilarious -- and I don't think he even tries. He is random and easy going. So, it's no wonder that on a daily basis I think "I really should write this down!"

*A few weeks ago, Andrew came into the kitchen while I was doing dishes.  He came up behind me, tapped my bottom and walked to the pantry.  He turned his head around while still looking for a snack and said, "Hey mom. Are you sure you're not having another baby?" To which I responded, "No buddy, we are all done having babies..." Andrew looked for a snack again and then said, kind of loudly, "Well, your just all fat and squishy." *insert rolled eyes and a little sigh from me*

*We were coming home one evening and the gate opener for our neighborhood wasn't working well. I said to Patrick, "This clicker only works when you're just right in front of it..." and out of no where Andrew chimes in and says, "It because the mouses are working it." Haha!

*Andrew calls spaghetti "ska-betty" and so do we :) It's also one of his favorite foods.

*When Andrew wants to say "it doesn't matter", he says "what matters..."

*Andrew goes through phases of not liking girls every day, and only liking girls on Sundays and Thursdays.

*He gets along with most kids and changes his "best friends" somewhat regularly.  Although, Micah is usually the top friend :)

I wish I could think of more of his conversations off the top of my head! He is so funny and loves to talk -- which makes for constant Andrew-isms! He is confident in what he says and it's always so random and serious.  He also gets in trouble often for his words.  It's a fine balance to learn -- especially when you're five.

Monday, August 22, 2016

First day of school // 2016-2017

 Benjamin is in 2nd grade!!! Time has gone by so fast -- it feels like we were just getting ready to start preK and now, he's a big kid! He was mostly ready for school to start, but wasn't super excited about not being able to play and do whatever he wanted all day {hahahahaha!}.  He was ready and antsy to leave 15 minutes before we had to leave.

 Age: 7
Teacher: Ms. Wagner
Favorite food: pizza
Favorite color: black
Favorite friend: Alexander
Favorite subject: science and recess
Least favorite subject: Math. With a hearty grunt and huff.
When he grows up, he wants to be: A scientist/astronaut -- working for NASA

Benjamin was underwhelmed with my desire to take several pictures. He didn't last long with this tradition! 


Andrew is in half day preK this year. I don't regret in the slightest holding him back a year.  It was perfect for him and for me! :) He was a little hesitant this morning, but ready to go.  He was so brave and did so well in class!

Andrew, though, loved taking pictures and asked me to take several of him doing different poses.

 Age: 5
Teacher: Mrs. Chan
Favorite food: pizza and spaghetti {as he says skabetty}
Favorite color: dark, dark black
Favorite friend: Micah and Ben {neighbors}
Favorite subject: being friendly and writing
Least favorite subject: uh, math? {because that is Benjamin's answer. ha!}
When he grows up, he wants to be: a ninja

I love this picture of Andrew! Such a true picture of this boy!
A favorite skill: touching his nose with his tongue!

A few pictures of my big boys together!!! I love days with Benjamin and Andrew and I'm pretty sad that school has started. Even on hard days, I like that we are together.  I like being the main influence in their lives during the formative years of their childhood.  A schedule and structure will be nice, but I would rather hang out with these guys than send them to school! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Caleb is ONE!

How can it be that our sweet Caleb is already ONE?! You can read his birth story here, if you want! He is a delight to our family and we all enjoy him.  He never lacks attention or help or whatever he wants, really.

Caleb is 20.5 pounds and 28 3/4 long -- by far our smallest baby by this time. BUT he's growing normally and super cute. He crawls everywhere and climbs when he can. He really enjoys stairs when he has the chance. He pulls himself up and is so pleased with himself each time.

He smiles at almost anyone.  He waves and points and claps.  He has four teeth and two that are on the way. He eats just about anything and likes snacks and water. His favorite things to eat are fig bars, meat and fruit. That seems pretty well rounded to me!

He loves his paci and blankets.  He likes being held and really loves me a lot. Not complaining at all. Because the feeling is mutual. He enjoys seeing daddy and snuggling with him.  Caleb loves having big brothers and they are super great to him and with him. Benjamin and Andrew always ask to hold him! Elise thinks she is the best momma and that I'm disposable. She didn't come out and say that, but her actions speak louder than words. {I'm laughing so much right now, but I'm also being completely honest!} She loves to care for Caleb and, truly, she does it well.

Here are some pictures to mark year ONE! We love this boy and are so very grateful that he is ours. The Lord was kinder than we deserve to give us this gift!!!

Side view of that restructured noggin! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The ways my days work, right now...

Life with four children isn't harder than I thought it would be, but it is a little more chaotic.  But if we survived the chaos of three kids -- what's one more! {although I realize that mentality isn't for everyone!} We have almost a year under our belts of four babes. Whoa!

Here are some things I've learned:
*I know nothing. Never ask me for advice. I'm winging it.
*Somedays I want more children.  Most days, I know better of myself.
*Each child is SO different and there is no one way to parent all children.  I HAVE to be willing to take each child and learn them and go from there.
*Know, study and learn your children.
*Low expectations.
*A family that has dance parties and dinners together, enjoy each other.

And my number one motto that I say on a regular basis -- if you don't laugh, you will go insane! So have fun and laugh a little. I forget this too often.

Here are some things that I want to remember about my days:
*If I do two loads of laundry each day, I can stay on top of the amount of laundry we produce.  If I do three a day, I can take off one day and still feel good about life.  If I get lazy about laundry, my life is miserable because it's my least favorite chore.

*Keeping the island in the kitchen clean and tidy helps me feel a little more together.  My neighbor is so great at this and I can see why!

*I sweep our floors about eight times a day.  I mop every other day.  I vacuum twice a week, but should do it every day.

*I make my bed every day to make my messy master bedroom look a little more tidy.  Some times it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

*I am currently working up the courage to throw away a pile of socks that I have held onto for the last 8 months.  I keep it in a red bucket on my dresser.  I lay them out on my bed at least three times a month without luck of finding the missing partner.

*I clean our guest bathroom 2-3 times a week because it's also now the boys bathroom.  And boys are really gross.

*I go to the YMCA once or twice a week and have been doing HIIT workouts at home.  I try to run one or two evenings a week.  These things are so vital to maintaining some sanity.

*I'm grateful for neighbors who have become like family.  We can stand in the front yard and talk, or go to someones house and chat.  Our kids all roam from house to house, depending on the day and whatever activity they have come up with.  It's actually more vital to sanity than working out, I think.

*I make breakfast each morning.  I make lunch at home at least five days a week.  I try to do one fun lunch out each week if we can swing it.  And I cook dinner at least five evenings a week.  On Saturdays, after church, we go out to dinner with our community group.  Some times, we get something quick out or have a family date night.

I'm sure there's more to my days, but I need to fold laundry or I'll get behind!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Andrew's five-year questionnaire

How old are you? 5.
How tall are you? Big. 
How much do you weigh? 48 pounds. {but really like 42}
What is your favorite toy? the knight castle, legos
Favorite book? 
Favorite movie? Star Wars
Favorite TV show? The Little Drummer Boy {but I would say Lego shows on  Netflix}
Favorite food? Ska-betty aka spaghetti
Favorite fruit? watermelon
Favorite vegetable? carrots 
Favorite snack? veggie straws
Favorite drink? juice
Favorite activity? ride my bike and play with the neighbors
Favorite color? dark black.
Favorite sport? Thunder. And when I asked what kind of ball the Thunder plays he said "smooth, no medium!" We clearly are a sporty family.
Favorite song? We three kings.
Favorite animal? dragon. and a lion.
Favorite game? tag. no, no, no. tag bad guys!
Favorite outfit? basketball shorts and a t shirt. 
Favorite holiday? Christmas
What do you need in bed when it's time to go to sleep? darth vader. and blankie.
Best Friend? Grant and Ben and Grace.
When I grow up I want to be? A basketball player.
Nicknames? Ju-ju is what Elise starting calling him and it has stuck.  We mainly call him Andrew or Boo.
Thing I am really good at? fighting, I guess. running so fast. I like to play with friends. I like to do the color/drawing game on your phone. 

By Andrew Reid McBride, age 5 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Andrew is FIVE!

I made a (not) quick video to celebrate Andrew's fifth birthday! I can hardly believe this sweet boy is already five (well, in three days...). He exudes life and joy and feels to the fullest. I remember the joy learning I was pregnant again, the quickness of his birth and the delight he has brought to our family. This video was so sweet to make and to smile at such a beautiful little life... Enjoy! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Caleb's 4 months post surgery follow up/update!

It's hard to believe that four months ago we were barely on the other side of Caleb's skull surgery.  We had just celebrated Thanksgiving and were trying to find a rhythm to life.  And I was most certainly starting to get a little stir crazy from being home all the time.

Four months ago, we watched as God's hand took what was suppose to be a long and rigid ride and made it a smooth sailing recovery. We had NO clue that Caleb would heal as well and as quickly as he did.  He had no clue, honestly, what to expect of him as he recovered.  {He was pretty delightful -- all things considered and took recovery like a champ!}
Right before surgery 11/19/2015 ~ Follow up appt 03/22/2016

God is faithful. God is kind. God answers prayers.
Never, ever stop believing that!
And Caleb will always be a brave soul and a little hero to me.

As a recap:  
*We were suppose to be in the hospital 3-4 days, it could have been up to 6. We were in the hospital for 48 hours.  Literally, we were driving away from the hospital 48 hours after I first stepped foot into the recovery room to see Caleb post surgery.

*Caleb's head and face didn't swell like it was suppose to.  He had minimal swelling the day after surgery and we were told it would get worse before it ever got better. We were prepared for Caleb's eyes to swell shut for a few days.  But that never happened. His swelling only went down and got better by two days post surgery!

*Caleb needed nothing more than tylenol to ease pain at home.  And that was only for five or six days.

*The area on the back of his head that retained all the fluid post surgery {which we affectionately called the "water bed"} was suppose to take around 8 weeks to reabsorb into his head.  We watched that little pocket of fluid dissolve completely by 11 days post surgery.

*Caleb's scar is so light! It's healing so beautifully.  Once his hair grows in a little more, you may never notice it.

L/R: immediately after surgery/one month before surgery/
both bottom pictures March 2016, 4 months post surgery

We saw Dr. Yaun last week and she was so delighted by Caleb's healing! She was also pretty delighted by Caleb himself :) Prior to this visit, she only knew Caleb from being 2-4 months old.  A seven month old is way more fun!

She commented on how well he is healing and that he seems to have NO developmental delays so far. She gave me some interesting stats on other types of craniosynostosis. I found out that, for whatever reason, saggital craniosynostosis rarely leads to delays. I was so glad to hear this and grateful that God was moving in Caleb's development.

Caleb's head does still have a little "point" to it in the back.  Obviously that wasn't the area of the skull she focused on removing, so there wasn't as much room for expansion back there. You would probably not notice, but I do.  I am aware that I will most likely always been more sensitive to Caleb's head shape and what it looks like than anyone else.

Dr. Yaun saw the "issue" I brought up and said we could do another surgery, but it would only be cosmetic.  That's clearly not something we want.  She also noted that as he grows, his head will likely expand a little more and it may become completely unnoticeable.  She also said his hair would hide more than just his scar :)

We go back in six months for another follow up and to make sure everything is healing and growing the correct way still.  It's so humbling to know this whole circumstance -- to know it in it's fullness and to know it as a memory. It's humbling and comforting to know grace so deeply and so abundantly.

God amazes me as He alone can heal and shape Caleb's head. He is worthy of all our praise.  His delicate handiwork on our sweet Caleb was no mistake and is not ever a defect in our eyes.  Caleb's craniosynostosis was a gift -- a hard and humbling and overwhelming and faith-filling gift.

Just a few recent pictures of Caleb so you can see how his head is changing and growing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Weekly recap -- SPRING BREAK!

This past week was really nice. We didn't go anywhere and we didn't over expend ourselves.  With four kids, we have to choose our battles wisely.  Plus, lets be honest, there isn't really such a thing as "vacation" when you have small children.  It's basically doing life and getting out of your normal routine in a new place! Ha!

*We celebrated Benjamin's birthday by having our neighbors over for donuts and playing outside all morning.  We truly love our neighbors and they have all become dear friends in the small amount of time we have all lived near one another. Benjamin loved being made much of and especially every time we sang "Happy Birthday" to him! 

*Patrick took half of Monday off so we could all be together and have fun.  We went to Target to spend a gift card that B got and to Hideaway for dinner! We ended the night playing at the park and enjoying the beautiful day!

*Tuesday we went to Myriad Gardens with some friends.  It was so windy -- but the boys had fun playing and running around.

*Patrick took off Wednesday through Friday so we were looking forward to being all together.  Patrick and the boys got packed up to go camping.  They headed to Lake Arcadia around nap time and set up camp while the littles napped.  After Elise and Caleb woke up, we went out to have dinner with the boys and enjoy some family time.  Elise reached a max a little earlier than I thought she would, so we headed back home and went to bed! The boys had a great time and enjoyed camping -- again!

*Thursday and Friday we just laid low and did some things around the house. Patrick took Benjamin and Andrew to see Zooptopia and they ALL enjoyed it! We got McDonald's for lunch one day {which is super rare for us!} and headed to our favorite park to eat and play. And I think we went out to dinner one night. It's a blur. ;) But we enjoyed being together.

And all good things must come to an end... BUT Spring Break left me super excited for summer with my kiddos.  I can't wait to enjoy and do things and not be pregnant in that mix.  I really love that these are my people.  The Lord is so kind to know just what we all needed -- each other!