Monday, February 28, 2011

"I Can't"

Over the past week or so I have begun to truly hate the phrase "I can't!" It is CJ's new favorite phrase and I actually think I hate it more than when he would say, "No!" all the time.

"CJ, put your toys away!"

"I can't!"

"CJ, go potty!"

"I can't!"

"CJ, sit down!"

"I can't!"

I have told him that can't is a bad word and I do not want to hear it anymore, but I swear he says it more. If you repeat any of these instructions to him he'll just keep saying, "I can't!" over and over again. We all know that he can do all of these things. It's not that he can't it's that he doesn't want to. It has been a major source of aggravation in our household lately. The only thing that has gotten him to even reluctantly attempt to do these things is to tell him that we can't do things for him like let him have whatever toy he wants to play with or watch whatever TV program he wants to watch. That's not even guaranteed to work. He has lost quite a few of his things over the past week over these very same battles.

Someone please take the words "I can't" out of my son's vocabulary!

Friday, February 25, 2011

They Can't Share Anything, But Sickness

My children are great at sharing with each other. One thing that is. Illness! Three out of the four children have been taken down by a cold within the last three weeks. And I wish I could say it was the oldest three, but the very oldest is the only one who is not sick. CJ started with a cold around the time I went into the hospital to have Alyssa. It quickly turned into a raging double ear infection for him which we thought we had cleared up with Amoxicillin. Kaitlyn started getting cold like symptoms shortly after that, but I didn't really think too much of it with her. However, last week when my 2 week old baby girl started sounding congested I began to worry. What if it's RSV? She's so little and there's nothing she can take. She continued eating fine, acting fine, and had no fever though.

Today though things seemed to take a turn for the worse. Actually, it started yesterday. She did not want to be put down. Then last night she was very restless and kept coughing pretty hard and it seemed like she was having a hard time catching her breath. CJ also ended up waking up complaining that his ear hurt during the night. So when he ended up sleeping for more than 12 hours last night and then woke up crabby and saying his ear still hurt I decided to call the doctor. I asked for both him and Alyssa to be seen because of her cough. Neither had a fever though. So off to the doctor we went and CJ still has his ear infection so his antibiotic was changed. What's worse is Alyssa has an ear infection too. So now she's on medicine and we have to watch her closely. If she gets a fever she's immediately going to the hospital. We have to monitor her breathing too. If it becomes difficult to breath we have to call the doctor.

CJ and Alyssa were the only ones we were actually being seen for, but I had all four children with me as it's February vacation. The doctor heard Asthmatic Kaitlyn's cough and did not like how it sounded so she put her on the schedule too. She heard wheezing and decided it was time to move her Asthma action plan into the danger zone. She is now taking a steroid for the next five days along with her albuterol treatment every four hours and her Singulair. So everyone is pretty sick here.

I'm most worried about Alyssa of course. My breastmilk should help her get over this, but for whatever reason it did not prevent her from getting an ear infection to begin with. Perhaps because I also have a cold. We will continue to breastfeed her and give her the antibiotic and just hope that her breathing remains fine and she does not get a fever so we can avoid the hospital. And our doctor will be calling to check up on her this weekend too which is nice that she does that. It was also great of her to check on Kaitlyn even though we weren't originally there for her.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Box Tops Award Prize

This month I had received notification from Kaitlyn's school that they were having a Box Tops contest. All students who brought in even one Box Top would get a munchkin on this particular day. Then if they brought in 100 Box Tops they'd get a gift certificate to the book fair the end of March and 200 Box Tops would win them some other prizes and the student who brought in the most would get a choice of a $20 gift certificate to any in town store. So we gathered up all of our Box Tops which family and friends have been saving for us and that we've collected over the past year or so and sent them in with Kaitlyn. She brought in a total of 580 Box Tops. She just got her munchkin that day and we didn't hear anything else. Then last Friday I got a phone call asking me what gift certificate she would like because she had brought in the most Box Tops. She wasn't home, but I figured she'd get the most use out of a Walmart gift certificate.

So that day Kaitlyn came home from school with all sorts of goodies. Along with the Walmart gift certificate she also won the gift certificate for the book fair, a school t-shirt, and a Smencil. She also had her name announced to the school as the student who brought in the most Box Tops. She was so excited.

Now ever since then she has been asking on a daily basis if she could go to Walmart. We kept putting her off. She kept talking about how she was going to buy stuff for all of her siblings too with the gift certificate. I kept reminding her that she didn't have to do that, but she had it all figured out, she was spending $4 of it on Alyssa and $3 each on Natalie and CJ and the rest of the $20 was for her.

So today we finally went to Walmart. She was super excited. I again reminded her that she didn't have to get anything for her siblings and told her pick for herself first and we would figure out if there was anything left to get anyone else anything. We walked back and forth up and down the toy aisle of Walmart and seemed to be there forever. Finally Kaitlyn had a puzzle and a book with Tinkerbell paper dolls in it for a total of $7.50 and she said that was it she was done the rest were for her siblings. So CJ got two matchbox cars, Natalie got a book of search a words, and for Alyssa she bought her some pacifiers so she stops sucking on my finger, lol. We were under the $20 limit. Before we left though knowing that CJ was on his first adventure out in underwear I asked him if he had to go potty. He said yes so Joe brought him to the bathroom. So the girls and I were browsing around the girls section and Kaitlyn decided she wanted to add some $2.50 hair things to her stuff. So with that we left. Kaitlyn still has some $.89 left on her gift card so she did some good shopping and everyone left happy. I thought it was very nice of Kaitlyn to share her gift card with her siblings though. She definitely did not have to do that.

The paper dolls ended up being a good purchase too as it entertained the girls for about two hours this afternoon while Joe, CJ, Alyssa, and I took a nap.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monica's Musings #13

Time for some more random thoughts from me.

I have really been enjoying the newborn stage this time. Don't get me wrong, I loved all of my kids as babies, but this last time just seems different. I guess with Natalie I was nervous because she was my first. Then with Kaitlyn I worried how I'd show Natalie that I still love her. Then with CJ I was so worried about him the first few months and him not growing I don't think I had time to enjoy it. But Alyssa is my last and she has just been such a great baby. She loves being held and I don't mind spoiling her like that. No need to tell me I'm spoiling her. I know I am, but I just can't help it. She's a mama's girl and all of my kids have always wanted daddy over me.

I might just be completely insane. Here I am, my first week without Joe here full time to help out and I'm in full swing potty training mode with CJ and a newborn. It really seemed like a golden opportunity though with him. The kids are home from school this week and we aren't really going anywhere because Joe has the car and it's way too cold to step foot outdoors with a newborn who has a cold already. So underwear it is all day long for CJ. My hope is by the end of the week he'll mostly be going to the bathroom on his own so I can send him to school next week in underwear and stop messing with pullups. I truly hate pullups and never used them until now because I had to due to CJ going to school.

I'm finally starting to feel like my old self again. For months of my pregnancy I was just completely miserable. Couldn't move around without pain. Now I can go up and down stairs numerous times doing laundry and not go into a coughing fit. I can give CJ a bath again without experiencing pain. It feels good and I really enjoyed bathing CJ again last night. That used to be one of my favorite things to do with him. I didn't realize how much I missed doing it.

The girls have been fighting with each other non stop for the past few weeks and it has been driving me insane. Not much I can do about it either since they share a room. No where to send them to get away from each other. Ahhh, if only they knew how lucky they were to have one another. I always wanted a sister. I suppose if I had one though I wouldn't have appreciated her until we were grown though.

Well, I guess that's about all I've had on my mind. So until next time...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Older 3 with Baby Alyssa

So over the past few weeks the kids have of course wanted to hold their new baby sister or just in general love on her. I know it won't be long before Alyssa is right in there with the rest of them fighting over foolish things so I want to cherish these moments when they arise. There are a lot of CJ with her because every time he holds her he insists that we take his picture. And well he's just so sweet with his baby sister.

The first time meeting their baby sister:

Gotta hold her with two hands like this see:

Don't cry!

For whatever reason this is the only picture I have of Natalie with Alyssa, but Natalie looks so grown up.

CJ was getting some lovin' from his sister early one morning:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Alyssa's 1st Bath

At some point today (I don't know when and I don't know where) Alyssa's cord finally fell off. So that meant her very first official bath. She did not like it one bit as you can tell in these pictures.

She did not stop crying until she was completely dressed and in my arms. And then she was very content and quietly fell asleep. She smells of lavender. Here's my clean hungry little caterpillar though.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adjusting to Life as a Family of 6

Two weeks down as a family of 6 and so far I have survived it. Everyone else has too. Of course next week might be completely different as Joe will be back to work and all of the children are home on vacation. So I won't really get a feel for how day to day life will be with a newborn for another week and a half. However, given the challenges that have been thrown at me in the past two weeks I'm sure we'll make it through.

So lets see we've got Natalie who's full swing in that pre-teen mode. Honestly Natalie and I have had a rough go of things for a while and since she started middle school it has gotten worse. Her grades haven't been where she really wants them to be or where I would like them to be. We have sat down now and had a conference with a few of her teachers. I think now that Natalie knows that I know what her teachers expect of her things will begin to look up. I could definitely do without the back talk from her, but I know that is only going to get worse as time goes on. Just going to have to hope that she doesn't talk to anyone else the way she talks to me and so far that has not been an issue. So we'll keep plugging along. As Joe likes to tell me Natalie and I are so much alike which is why we butt heads so much. This is true.

Then we have Kaitlyn. She is doing well in school this year so because of that we've been focusing on a little more personal responsibility with her. Many times it feels like it's just completely going over her head though. Last week a homework assignment never got handed in. She did it. It was checked, but it never made it in her backpack. It didn't seem to bother her any either. I asked her teacher for the homework assignment again, but because he adjusts things for her level he wasn't exactly sure what it was and just asked that she try doing both sides of the homework he had sent home yesterday. It really wasn't too much of a punishment for her I'm afraid. So now I am checking her backpack daily until I decide that this does not need to be done any longer.

CJ probably has been the hardest for Joe to deal with. Since having Alyssa most of his care has fallen on Joe. And unfortunately for Joe CJ has been sick the past few days. He has a double ear infection and it's a bad one. I must admit it has been very hard for me to not baby him and mother him. He doesn't want me much though and being the only one who can feed Alyssa I can't really be there for him. It is breaking my heart though because Joe has been losing his patience with CJ and I know CJ is just trying to figure out his place. He loves his baby sister though and still continues to be so sweet with her. He has been very demanding and whiney though. When you tell him to do something he asks you why. Very much a toddler response though, but he also very much ignores what he's told to do. And then add to that a miserable little boy the past few days have been interesting.

Then we have little Alyssa. She's really doing great. I am worried about Joe's bonding with her. She really seems to like being with him, but he seems a little disconnected from her. I think that is because with all of the other kids he has been able to feed them from the beginning. We are exclusively breastfeeding this time though so that leaves the feeding up to me and so far 90% of diaper changes and calming her when she's fussy. I do feel like Joe is actually better at calming her down though and I wish he would take more of an initiative in doing that, but then again I guess I don't want to only deal with a baby when it's fussy. Alyssa is quite a good baby though. She really only wakes up most nights once during the night which I so appreciate. She is getting the color in her eyes and so far it looks like she's got Joe's deep dark blue eyes. Although, I think all of our children have started out with that color and so far only Kaitlyn has kept that clear blue eye color. Both Natalie and CJ have the green flecks in their eyes like I do. I still think Alyssa looks a lot like CJ. I kind of hope her hair stays dark. I'm not holding out hope that it will though.

So this is our life as a family of 6 now. We are all growing and learning and figuring this all out. In some ways 2 weeks seems so long ago and in others it seems like just yesterday.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CJ's Valentine's Party

Today was CJ's first school Valentine's Day party. And with Joe still on vacation we both got to join him in his classroom for the day. He was pretty clingy to me and Joe, but he did do some of the stuff. The town librarian even came and read a few stories to this kids which CJ loved. I love watching him get into that kind of stuff.

The day started out with lots of sugary treats...

CJ didn't eat too much. Of course it was soon after breakfast and he's not a huge sweets eater. When that was done they did some musical instruments which CJ had zero interest in doing. And they marched around the room, but I couldn't get CJ to join in. However, when it was time to sit down on the carpet he was ready to do that. We went on a bear hunt and then did some fun stories with the Children's Library librarian....

I had to throw in this adorable picture of my little Valentine in her Valentine's Day outfit. It says My 1st Valentine...

To Celebrate or Not

Happy Valentines Day to all. I must admit, when Joe and I married we stopped celebrating the day as a couple anyways. I make Valentines every year with the kids to bring to school. I attended CJ's Valentines day party this year. We got a little something for each of the kids, but as a couple we just don't celebrate Valentine's day. There will be no special dinner for us. No gifts exchanged. And that's truly my choice. I know couples say all the time they don't want to do anything for Valentine's day, but then someone always ends up getting something or doing something. That's not the way it works in our relationship. I would actually be mad at Joe if he got me a card or a gift. The reason being that our anniversary is only a few weeks away. I'd rather my husband remember that day and get me something then. I feel more special and not like every other woman getting a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates. Maybe that makes me unromantic or something, I don't know. I just don't need this day for my husband to show me he loves me. I prefer the just because bouquet of flowers or the little token of love he'll randomly shower on me. Like taking the kids when I'm not feeling well or a surprise I love you note left on my computer desk or posted on my Facebook page. And we used to celebrate Valentine's day before we married. I don't need this Hallmark holiday to tell my significant other that I love him. So here in my house we really don't celebrate Valentine's day. At least not as a couple, more as a family I guess.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Week

Not only is today my due date with Alyssa, but it's her one week birthday. We are adjusting nicely I think to having her home and a part of the family. She weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces at birth, was discharged from the hospital weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces on Friday, then Saturday at the doctor she was down to 6 pounds 15 ounces, and yesterday she was back up to her discharge weight of 7 pounds 4 ounces. She cluster feeds sometimes every hour. She actually sleeps pretty good at night for a 1 week old. She goes to sleep around 12 or 1 and gets up once during the night usually before I have to be up in the morning to get the kids ready. So it's not too bad.

This week hasn't been without it's drama though. We were worried about jaundice with her. We were worried about her weight drop. Both of those worries have gone away though. She's not jaundice anymore and her weight is going up. Joe fell down the stairs on some ice on Sunday and bruised his back very badly so both him and I were hobbling around here trying to keep up with everyone. We have survived our first week though. We love having Alyssa here. CJ is super sweet with her. When she cries he talks to her in this high pitched voice trying to calm her down. Thankfully he doesn't scream at her to be quiet like he does to everyone else. He has been having a little trouble with listening though so we are working on that and trying to give him plenty of attention. Nothing really new with the big ones. They are pretty aware that newborns aren't all that fun. Kaitlyn wants to hold her, but it always seems she asks when she's fussing. I think Joe is feeling a little left out since I have to do all of the feedings. I guess diaper changes and burping aren't as fun as actually feeding a baby. Alyssa is really very comfortable with him though. She calms down pretty easily most of the time, except when she's hungry. Which sometimes seems like it's all the time. We sure are loving having our baby here though. I can't believe I'm the mom of four kids though.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Home and Settling in

We were discharged from the hospital yesterday morning. We didn't entirely get the all clear for Alyssa though. She had a blood test that showed that there could be trouble with her billirubin levels. So we had an appointment with her doctor scheduled for the next day. They told us before that appointment to come back to the hospital to go to the lab and have blood work done and then we could go to her appointment.

So we came home with those orders. So good to be home. This morning we got up and got all of the kids loaded in the car to head to the lab. We did pretty good considering. We were only five minutes late. Did the blood test and was told it would be 2 hours for them to call the doctor with the results.

We then headed over to the doctor's office. We were a little early for that so we waited in the parking lot because it didn't look like anyone was there. As we headed in the doctor pulled into the parking lot. She spent a lot of time with us. It was kind of nice being there knowing that we were her number one priority. She's always great, but this was just different. She looked her over and said she looks great. She went over a bunch of stuff with us. Her weight could be a bit of a concern, but hopefully once my milk comes in that will change. We left the doctor's office with her saying she'd be in touch with the results of her test.

So back home we came for lunch. After lunch the doctor called asking if we had heard from the lab. She still hadn't heard anything. We hadn't either. So she gave them a call and then called us back to tell us her billirubin was 12.7 which was good news. We wanted it lower than 14.4 so she was pleased with that. So we will keep pushing the eating and see how she does stooling and peeing everything out. I think it will end up being just fine.

So how are the kids with their new sister? Well, Natalie of course has the most experience here. She has been going with the flow. She loves her little sister and has been helping out as much as she can. Kaitlyn keeps checking on Alyssa. Kind of hovering around. And CJ is a very overprotective big brother. He was yelling at his big sisters today because they were looking at her and he didn't want them to. He is always asking, "Where's baby?" He still thinks her name is "Forty". When we telly him her name is Alyssa he'll call her Lisa. He's very cute with her, but he's also seeing what he can get away with. It will be interesting to see how things will play out between all of them.

Have I mentioned it's so good to be home?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Welcoming our Little Princess

The Barnes Bunch would like to welcome the newest addition to their family. This adorable bundle of joy clearly has a mind of her own. The plan was for Queen Monica to go to the hospital today to be induced. However, after a severe snow and ice storm which plagued much of the country until Wednesday afternoon Queen Monica's water broke. Sitting on the couch after dinner she suddenly felt a gush. She got up to go to the bathroom and figured it was most definitely her water.

King Joe went into panic mode a little and began calling the doctor and the grandparents for someone to watch the kids. The doctor said pack a bag and come on in. The grandparents said they'd be right there. However, knowing how quickly Queen Monica goes they decided to meet the grandparents at the hospital. So they got everyone out of the house and down the slippery sidewalk to the ice covered car. They were soon on their way to the hospital.

They arrived about 7:30 and Queen Monica was checked. Confirmed that her water did break and she was 4 centimeters dilated. So off to a delivery room they went. Contractions were coming pretty hard every 2-3 minutes. Grandma and Grandpa showed up to the hospital shortly after 8 and took the 3 older ones back to their house. Just seemed easier that way.

Queen Monica was really wanting to labor without any drugs however she never experienced back labor before. Plus, this labor was a little longer than she had ever been through. So she had some Nuban around 9:30. Didn't take the pain away really just helped her to rest between contractions. After getting up to go to the bathroom though things got rather uncomfortable again. It wasn't too much longer before she was pushing. They were still trying to break down her bed while she was pushing through the pain. And at 11:00 p.m. on February 2nd Princess Alyssa Margaret arrived in this world. Right on mom's belly as it should be. She was not crying, but she was assured that everything was fine. She was looking around though. They brought her to the warming table and assessed her while Queen Monica was assessed. Alyssa, who the doctor feared could be Queen Monica's largest baby was her smallest at 7 pounds 9 ounces and just 19 inches long. She's a champion breastfeeder. And the old wives tale of lots of heartburn during pregnancy is true as she's got a thick head of very dark brown hair. Queen Monica believes she looks like her big brother. King Joe is unsure still.

Alyssa chose her name. After going through all of the names that were thrown around for her she responded most to Alyssa so that's how she got her name. She is perfect. There was a glucose reading in the beginning which was low, but after giving her some formula through a small tube attached at the breast it went up and has stayed up. Only had to have that little bit of formula in the beginning. Queen Monica and King Joe couldn't be more excited to have her here finally.

So welcome Alyssa Margaret to the Barnes Bunch!