Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review: 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

Sold a house (we sold one before but just to a relo company so it was a different experience). Bonded immediately with a newborn. Had mastitis. Hosted a massive housewarming party.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions and will you make more this year?

Hmmm, be right back.

Ok, had to go check and see what they were! Considering I didn't consider them a single day after writing them, I didn't do too bad! About a 40% success rate which is pretty good with everything else that was going on.

Yes, I have a list in mind for this year but don't know if I'll get time to write them out today. Stay tuned.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Uh, me for a start. My BFF gave birth to one of my all-time favorite baby boys ever in March, and my sister delivered me another nephew (what, it was totally for me!) in November. I had a number of other cousins and friends have babies this year and each and every one made me smile widely.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My grandfather's wife, Vicki, passed away rather unexpectedly this past spring. I'm really sorry for the loss of her and the companionship I know my grandfather will miss. I am pleased that the two of them came to visit in 2011 so the older kids have some memories of her.

5. What countries did you visit?

Wow, what an optimistically-worded question. Didn't leave the country this year and don't plan to until at least 2015. Might make an exception if it includes hot sun and a sandy beach, though.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More time to connect with my husband. Regular access to a boat this summer. Time to myself and a chance to get away from the daily grind (which I will accomplish in a couple of weeks when I take Archer and go see my sister's family!)

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day we confirmed we were expecting a healthy baby boy to complete our family. The journey to that place was longer and more complicated than we had anticipated so it was especially gratifying.

The day we sold our house after 12 hours on the market.

The day we moved into our Forever Home (you know, unless we move).

The day Archer was born.

Seeing my grandfather holding newborn Archer was pretty special.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I'm going to go flippant on this one and say it was hosting a housewarming party of approximately 70 on a hot and humid day in July, two weeks before I was due to give birth. The cankles, they were EPIC.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Hmmm. For a year in which I had to reallllly lower my standards, I really don't feel like I truly failed at much. We survived a really tumultuous year (though mostly in great ways) and are coming to the end of it in a pretty good place.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had the flu (the real flu) in January. It was awful.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our new house. Not only is it a truly wonderful family home, it came with a great, social neighborhood, committed community and great schools.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Moving expenses. Real estate transactions. Mortgages. Doctors and hospitals. Jeesh, it's been an expensive year.

13. What did you get really excited about? 

Giving birth for the LAST time.

It was a really eventful year in general, but much of it was tangled up in the anxiety of transition for me so I wasn't necessarily excited in advance.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Probably Pink's Just Give Me a Reason. The two big kids sing the duet together and it is hilariously adorable.

15. Compared to this time last year are you:

Happier or Sadder? Happier, no question
Thinner or Fatter? Huh. Thinner, but no fitter unfortunately. Just not carrying a fetus.
Richer or Poorer? Poorer in cash (see: moving, giving birth) but richer in assets and long-term savings

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Spend time with friends. Read. Put down my phone and disconnect.

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying about things I couldn't control. Yelling at my kids. Grouching at my husband.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with my peeps. Low-key, the way I have grown to love it.

19. What was your favorite TV program this year?

Hm. Probably The Killing (I watched it this year)

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

The one that really stands out was Me Before You. I also loved The Storyteller, Wild and Eleanor & Park. It was sad to read Maeve Binchy's final book, A Week in Winter.

21. What was your favorite music of the year?

It was kind of a bomb, music-wise. I just don't get a chance to listen to it very often.

22. What were your favorite films of the year? 

I enjoyed Skyfall much more than I expected to. Several of the kids' movies were very watchable, and I truly enjoyed Frozen. Between pregnancy and having a new baby, I probably slept through 80% of the films I attempted to watch this year.

23. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 33. Archer was about five weeks old at the time and he and I took a two-hour nap together. I don't remember anything else about the day. Oh wait, we went out for dinner. That was nice too.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A house cleaner. I don't know why, but I let the state of my house stress me out a lot. Probably because I spend so much time in it. For the record, I keep a very tidy house, it's just not always spotlessly clean.

25. What kept you sane?

Texting with my sister. Zoloft (quite literally). The internet and my smartphone.

26. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Sometimes, Good Enough really, truly is good enough. The kids will survive, a strong marriage will survive, and life will go on even if all you can manage is Good Enough.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Things That Are Making Me Smile Today

My adorable five-month-old (!!!) who slept from 7 - 7 last night with one brief wake-up at 2:30. I feel AMAZING today.

My big kids who are currently upstairs in their bathroom bathing plastic animals and toy cars in the sinks. They can be total stinkers but they are incredibly good at entertaining themselves.

My husband, enjoying his first true vacation this year. He's spending it ice fishing in some tiny northern town in South (?) Dakota. It sounds truly awful to me, but is the one thing he does for fun that he finds truly relaxing. To each his own.

A babysitter coming in 15 minutes to watch the kids while I get a haircut. And go to the liquor store because I somehow managed to embark on a five-day solo parenting stint with no wine in the house. Poor planning.

My BFF and her kiddos coming tonight for dinner. Brighton spent a good 30 minutes using half a Costco pack of baby wipes to wipe down the leather living room furniture in anticipation. Rest assured, nothing is actually clean after all that effort.

Planning and shopping for our annual Boxing Day Extravaganza. Since Christmas is quiet for us, Boxing Day is our "big" celebration. We are up to four other families coming and it's going to be complete and utter merry chaos.

Feeling the urge to start blogging again. I have so many things that I want to share, so many amazing experiences I've had this year of change and transition. Here's hoping for some regular napping from the baby so I might have time to actually do it.

Monday, November 11, 2013


My lovely husband could sense that I was in desperate need of a break and booked me into a non-refundable (meaning I couldn't back out) hotel on Friday night. We all went out to dinner and then he took the three kids home and I headed off for some sorely needed time on my own. It was exactly what I needed. I watched a little TV, read a magazine and went to bed at 9 pm. Although I woke up several times throughout the night, each and every time I appreciated the luxury of going straight back to sleep knowing I wasn't responsible for anyone else. I came home feeling so refreshed. Naturally one night doesn't make up for the whole sleep deficit, but to have that time to myself was invaluable. Plus Archer had to make peace with his daddy and doesn't scream now every time I hand him over.

It was good timing since we had the Epic Party of Poor Judgment on Saturday night (more about that tomorrow). I came home and made cupcakes, checked the guest list and got the last minute details sorted out, and even had the energy and inspiration to do a little mini photo shoot with the kids. I don't have too many good quality photos of the three of them yet, and the year in which we move and have a baby isn't one where the budget accommodates a pricey professional photographer (much as I would love it to). Anyway, I got a shot deemed worthy of our holiday card (which is ordered now, wahoo) and the picture below, which is my new favorite shot of the two big kids. It absolutely captured the two of them perfectly and I couldn't love it more.

Here's to mini-breaks and finding some of that lost mojo.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Party On

Man, yesterday was an awesome day. I love for my kids to feel special and this was the first year I think Pacey really *got* that it was his special day. There were lots of happenings at school, including a visit from me and the other two kids to read a story to Pacey's class. Parents are invited to eat lunch with their birthday kids too, but I didn't want to tackle that with Mr. Unpredictable Baby. A book came home with Pacey that was made by the kids in his class; they all wrote something they like about him, something he is good at and the gift they would buy him if they could. The results were incredibly cute and entertaining.

SO, on to the next event: the Class Party. We decided to bite the bullet and invite Pacey's whole class for a birthday party. We figured it was the best way to get to know the kids and their parents, since we are new to the area. We are, therefore, hosting approximately twenty kids for bowling on Saturday (eep!)

Party venues make it pretty easy on parents these days, provided you're willing to shell out the dough. Which I am, to a point, if it means not having twenty kids in my house. The part that always gets me, though, is the party favors. I kinda hate them. Even if you buy several crappy toys plus a treat or something, it comes out to at least $5 per kid. That ends up being a lot at a big party like the one we are hosting. I'm pretty proud of the solution I found this year:

For something like $10 or $12 I found an etsy seller who made these customized party bag toppers with cellophane treat bags. They come separately, so you can fill the bags with whatever you would like and staple them shut. M&Ms purchased in bulk and about 20 minutes of measuring and stapling and voila. Consumable party favors that thank the guests for coming (the point of the favor, IMO) and won't clutter up their houses with junk. I normally try to stay away from candy seeing as his birthday is only six days after Halloween, but this year I decided not to make that my problem.

Pretty cool, huh? Now, to figure out how I'm going to make it through two hours with 20 first-graders all hopped up on birthday party excitement!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Portrait of a Seven-Year-Old

Aw man, my first baby is seven today. It seems like just yesterday and also several lifetimes ago that he entered this world in a confounding whirlwind of mystery and surprise. I'm so grateful this kid is in my life. He is constantly surprising me and I so look forward to what the next seven years of his life hold.

Today, my Pacey:

Weighs 42 pounds and is 42 inches tall. We joke that he's "square." He's kept up this pattern of gaining a pound for every inch he grows (we should all be so lucky) and this explains why his legs look so long and skinny all of a sudden. Just for interest, this puts him in the 50th percentile for weight and height on a growth curve for children with Ds. He's 10th% for weight and nowhere near the curve for height on a typical curve :)

Has lost four teeth and has another one loose. Very unusually, he has lost the four middle teeth on top first.

Has a long list of sight words he knows and has learned to tie his shoes.

Can operate pretty much any gadget you hand him.

Is just the best brother ever. He's started to push back against Brighton - appropriately - when she's pushing his buttons, but in general they are still thick as thieves. He is so incredibly gentle and loving with Archer. He is truly helpful in keeping the baby happy and occupied when I need to do something else. I'm so glad they all have each other.

LOVES superheroes, cars, Lego Ninjago (the show, I haven't crossed over into the dark side of proper Legos yet) and Angry Birds. He'll still play with anything though and remains better at occupying himself than any child I have met ever.

Is still very social but has learned a lot about boundaries over the last year. He's less likely to be physically affectionate with people he doesn't know, but will introduce himself and his siblings to anyone he meets. "Hi, what's your name? My name is Pacey. This is my sister, Sister." (kills me every time).

Continues to be a real daddy's boy. It makes my heart happy.

Loves, loves, LOVES sports of any kind. He's rocking the court in basketball just as he did in baseball. Many people who have met him this year have commented on his athletic abilities. Only another year until he can get involved with Special Olympics (!!!)

Happy birthday, Peanut.

(I hope this video works. Perhaps if you can watch it you'd be kind enough to comment and let me know?)

EDITED: Working on video. How do I not know how to do this yet?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fun: We've Had Some.

Halleluiah, the baby slept last night. Never fails to amaze me quite how much some decent sleep can change your whole outlook on life. Here are some fall fun photos to celebrate. I posted many of these on Facebook/Instagram so they may be repeats for some of you...

Three little skeletons

This showcases my youngest child's most excellent
pouty face

Best big brother ever. Look at that cheesy jack-o-lantern

My little baller. He's doing iCan Hoops, similar to
Miracle League baseball. I'm just as impressed with
this program, if not more so.

Selfie x 4

Impromptu trip to the apple orchard

PLEASE no comparisons to Miley Cyrus ;)

I still see a lot of resemblance between these two

We need THREE pumpkins, mom

Underwhelmed by the pumpkin patch

Annual trip to the Landscape Arboretum for the scarecrow displays

Didder and Doodoo

I have yet to capture a really good photo of the three together

Apple orchard

Atop hay mountain

B and her friend K. They were most annoyed that the keys to the tractor
weren't available.

Monday, November 4, 2013


On November 1st I decided to participate in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), which requires one to post every day during the month.

On November 2nd I neglected to write a post and gave up.

I'm missing my mojo. This is typically my favorite time of year. I love the change of season, the celebrations of Chris's birthday, Halloween and Pacey's birthday in the space of a couple of weeks, and the official start to The Holidays. This year I just can't seem to get excited. The thought of putting together a card is overwhelming. I feel totally bogged down in STUFF that I can't seem to organize and manage so the thought of adding more stuff is just not appealing. I'm still not able to find time to exercise and I'm suffering mentally for it. It'll be winter soon which means more time indoors, trying to fill hours without going insane at the mercy of a chatty four-year-old.

It was around this time last year I found out I was pregnant and so it's been a full calendar year since things last felt stable.

The baby is having (I think) a growth spurt and may be starting to teethe. He's fussy and clingy during the day and where he was sleeping about 11 hours with just one wake-up to quickly eat, the past two nights he's been up multiple times. The unpredictability is the worst. Well, that and the fact I need some physical SPACE TO MYSELF and I just can't get it right now.

Pacey's still not 100%. It takes time to get over pneumonia, especially when you've been fighting it off for several weeks. But it means more time off school, and more time we are stuck at home. The way I'm a good SAHM is to NOT be at home too much. It's so isolating and I just don't have the mental energy to keep up the steady stream of stimulation the kids need. Although he's making progress and responded to treatment really well, there is still the low level underlying anxiety I get when he gets a bad respiratory illness. I feel so darn helpless against his compromised lungs and immune system. Plus, you know, I feel bad that he feels bad.

Brighton has taken her picky eating to a whole new level. I've written before about how I choose not to fight the food battles with her, in large part because I get it. I'm picky too. But now things that she has happily eaten for months are becoming suspect and, therefore, refused. Dried cranberries are "too black" or "too red." Apple juice (you know, just plain old apple juice) "smells not good." I have reached my limit with it and if she rejects something she has asked for and eaten happily in the past, I'm not offering alternatives. I know as well as the next person that you cannot force a child to eat, it's my job to put the food in front of her and her job to eat it, etc, but man, I feel like a crappy mom when she's not eating.

Jeesh, I guess it's good I'm not writing my own personal Guide to a Pity Party on here every day. That would get old pretty quick.

I am going to try to come back and write about some of the good this fall. The fun things we have done, the neat changes I've seen in the kids. Just need to work on an attitude adjustment first. Any suggestions?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick's On Me

I should know better than to write out in black and white how well one of my kids is doing health-wise. Since my last post, Pacey suffered a low level sinus infection/cold that managed to turn into pneumonia this week. Poor kid. He missed the Halloween festivities at school, including the annual parade through the town the school sits on the edge of. We did let him go out last night for awhile. It was unusually mild and we dosed him up with meds and bundled him up. He did fine and I'm glad he didn't have to miss out entirely. Another great Halloween...they get better every year the kids get older.

Just because his smile is cute :)

Directly after I took this picture he rolled over for the
first time. Milestones are just as cool the third time

Two pirates and their parrot

This little parrot was remarkably chill through the
whole Halloween experience

She wasn't tired at all, nope, not a bit.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Apple a Day

...does not, in my case, keep the doctors away.

A quick aside about apples. My lengthy love affair with Jazz apples ended recently with some pretty mediocre fare coming out of New Zealand. And it's sacrilege for a Minnesotan (even an adopted one) to say this, but I don't particularly care for Honeycrisp (I know!) My new favorite is, I think, another new variety cross-bred at the U here, the SweeTango. I actually accepted a sample of one at Target the other day and I'm in love. Sorry Jazz, you're out.

ANYWAY. This was the week of doctor's appointments. Here is what I learned:

1) The reason my baby's sleep got worse and worse over the course of a week, to the point neither of us slept at all Tuesday night, was that he had an ear infection. Luckily he spent all of our sleepless night clawing at his ear so it was an easy call to hit the pediatrician first thing the next morning. Baby's first course of amoxicillin, possibly the earliest of all three kids. Wahoo! Poor kid may have inherited my poor ear drainage. Here I thought his first winter might be the easiest since he's not in daycare. This is...not a good start.

2) Pacey may have actually achieved the elusive goal of "growing out of" his pulmonary disease. We currently see the pulmonologist twice a year, to discuss management over the winter and over the summer (with allergies, etc). I think it's been three years now since he required any active management with medications and we got the ok to come back in a year. Although his pulmonologist was quick to say that kids never truly "outgrow" asthma, often the increase in diameter of the bronchial tubes is enough to allow them to conquer triggers more easily with less intervention. I remember back when Pacey was a tiny seven-pound three month old who was attached via nasal cannula to an oxygen source 24 hours a day. His pulmonologist at the time addressed my frustration with the slow progress and explained that although he would likely wean off the oxygen in the next few months, it would be rough going while Pacey's anatomy just got bigger. I literally just had to wait for him to grow. It was SO discouraging at the time and impossible to see ahead to a picture that didn't include daily nebs and miles of clear tubing. And yet, here we are. Now, the universe can just EFF OFF if it thinks I'm getting cocky...Pacey will always be more susceptible to complications with respiratory illness and I'll never lose sight of that. We will always have rescue meds on hand and I have no doubt the nebulizer will be out plenty this winter. But boy, it feels like a real milestone we've reached.

3) My darling youngest child has a wonky heart valve. His pediatrician heard a murmur at his two-month check up so we went today for an echocardiogram. One of his valve didn't develop exactly right and one of the vessels in his heart is enlarged as a result. Nothing to worry about now; we will follow it each year and the only real potential effect in the future would be a restriction on heavy contact sports (this is me...not crying about that). I'm glad we followed it up and that we know, but it confirms my suspicion that we probably all have structures that didn't develop quite right, we just don't always know about it.

At the end of it all, having been to the Heart Clinic at Children's Hospital, I am reminded again that we are lucky to enjoy such relative health and, even more so, access to excellent medical care. Two things I'm unlikely ever to take for granted.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Some snippets from lately, via snaps

Sleep: not so plentiful right now

B and I had a front yard picnic after school
one day. She thought it was the bomb. 



Professional pouter

Never happier than when he's sitting bolt
upright, pretending he's part of the action

Never were two children more excited to get their skeleton
jammies out

I really think there's a strong resemblance between these two

Atop Hay Mountain at the pumpkin patch

Underwhelmed by the pumpkins

The opposite of underwhelmed by the pumpkins. I love this
child's passion for life 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Choosing the Moments

It's no secret that, while I have loved each of my babies with my whole heart, I don't love having babies. It's not easy for anyone, but I especially find that the closer my babies get to a year old, the better mom I am and the more I can enjoy it.

I'm trying to experience this last baby a little bit differently. This evening I was up in his nursery, rocking him while he had a little pre-bedtime catnap in my arms. His hair was fluffy from his bath and his long legs stretching his 3-month sleeper to capacity. His little chubby fist clutched my sweatshirt strings and his mouth gently worked the pacifier.

In that moment, I was so grateful to have my baby. I hope these moments are what I remember (and then share as a grandmother, casting the whole relentlessly exhausting and frustrating job of motherhood in an inaccurately rosy light), rather than the difficulty of it all, and the times I feel like it's all too much.

(Like now, five minutes later when he's howling because he realized I put him in his swing and the two older kids are covered head to toe in spaghetti sauce and imperiously demanding drink refills. SIGH.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

This Week

My BFF's baby - a mere four months older than A (note the hands, awwww)

My sister, her youngest nephew and my nephew-to-be

A day in the park

"I know, mom! Let's fly a kite today!" Sometimes it's nice to say yes, even
when I would rather be napping

Proof I was there

Archer loved the see-saw

Less enthusiastic about the swing
Happy weekend all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I think I hit my low point this past weekend. I had a string of nights of really bad sleep, Archer had an epic fuss one evening (the kind of inconsolable screaming that took me right back to the Colic Days of Baby Brighton), Pacey started getting sick and I just didn't have the energy to enjoy my sister's visit the way I wanted to. Instead, I had a long, ugly cry about how overwhelming everything felt. Meanwhile she, my 28-week pregnant sister, cleaned my bathrooms, folded my laundry and played endless games of ponies (the torturous likes of which you really can't imagine) with my chatterbox of a daughter. Who is now deeply in love with her auntie and a bit disillusioned with mommy who is not terribly inclined towards playing ponies.

ANYWAY. It was nice to see her, lovely to see my kids reconnect with their TeeTee and I got clean bathrooms out of it :)

Today I have just the baby this morning (sitting on my lap, he says Hi) while the big kids are both in school. The house is almost eerily quiet. Without further ado - free time being rather severely limited - here are some favorite things right now.

Pacey, age 6 and 10 months

This kid is ridiculously adaptable. He has embraced his new school experience wholeheartedly. I love seeing him meander down the driveway to the bus each morning, excited to see what school has in store for him. He's already making huge strides (telling time, learning new sight words, etc) and I am very, very impressed with the ways this school is meeting his needs and communicating with me.

I love that he loves his independence. At 3:00 pm the bus drops him off at the end of our driveway (special transport FTW!) and he runs up the drive with a huge grin on his face. He drops his backpack in the entry, pulls his shoes off, immediately wants to know where Sister and Baby Archer are, and then announces he's hungry. It's all just so very normal and exactly what I pictured the elementary school experience to be like as a parent. Once again, I wish I could go back and tell the 2006/2007 me that things would be just fine with this kid of mine.

Not my favorite: the four frillion times he gets out of bed for various things before finally settling down for the night

Brighton, age 4 and 4 months

This girl is a lover. She snuggles the baby, she gets in my lap whenever it's free, gives her dad the hugest bear hugs and *hates* it if she misses hugging her big brother goodbye in the morning. Her imagination is unparalleled and I love hearing the stories she comes up with. She is very helpful and is starting to reliably complete the small household tasks I assign her.

She is very motivated to learn. I feel a little bad that I had to take her down to just two days of preschool a week, but it won't affect her. I did buy a selection of workbooks that she LOVES to work on and was tickled pink to have "homework" after her first day of school (just an About Me page to fill out). She's a smarty pants and I'm excited for her to start kindergarten next fall.

Not my favorite: The rather adolescent looks she shoots me sometimes and the way she says, "MOM, I KNOW" when I remind her of something she OBVIOUSLY already knows.

Archer, age 8 weeks

The smiles. Oh, the baby smiles. It never fails to amaze me what a drastic physiological response your body can have to a smile. He coos too, and will "talk" back and forth with me. I feel like he's my most responsive baby in that way so far. His little fist grasps the neck of my shirt now when he falls asleep in my arms. It's so sweet, as is the fact that he still sleeps best if I'm holding him (though terribly inconvenient at times).

Not my favorite: Formula poop/gas. Good lord. Also, the seeming disinterest in sleeping for longer stretches at night yet.

Chris, age Old

A little shout out to my husband who went on a trip to see a friend this past weekend. There were some...issues with said friend that sort of ruined the weekend for him. It's not my story to tell, but suffice it to say there is a credit card account with my name on it that bears a charge to a certain county jail for bail (not for my husband, I hasten to add). This friend screws up a lot, to be honest, but Chris has hung in there with him and tried to be there in various transitions in his life. I admire his loyalty (however I will be raising an eyebrow VERY LOUDLY if the suggestion of another trip comes up next year).

And now I have 20 minutes left before I'm due back for pick-up so I'm going to unload the dishwasher. Or maybe just snuggle my baby :)

Monday, September 9, 2013


Ah, well, best intentions, right?

I still haven't found the magic formula for having everyone's needs adequately met for ten minutes so I can come and splash some words on a page. Right now Pacey is at school, the baby is napping and Brighton is watching a highly educational show (ha) while she eats breakfast. I am cramming Grape Nuts in as quickly as I can and am determined to post a quick update...it's been a busy few weeks!

I turned 33. I took a two hour nap with Archer and we went out to dinner. The end. Awesome birthday. I feel mostly back to my old self although, you know, on a lot less sleep. My stint as a breastfeeder has come to an end (more on that in a minute) but not before I had mastitis. That sucked. A LOT. However, in the course of getting it diagnosed and treated on a Saturday I found what has to be the best Urgent Care in history. I was in and out with prescription in hand in 15 minutes. Every week I feel like I'm able to resume a bit more of my normal routine. It's a challenge not to feel defeated by the sheer amount of tasks necessary to just keep up with everything, but I am slowly learning to be okay with Good Enough.

Pacey has now lost a total of three teeth, started first grade and begun speech therapy at a new clinic with a new therapist who is the brunette, Midwestern version of Cameron Diaz (lucky kid). School is going very well so far. He is riding the bus (!) which is nice for many reasons but not least because his school starts at 8 and I was really dreading trying to get us all out the door to join the chaos that is morning drop off. Our elementary school has a huge open enrollment (kids from outside the school's catchment area) due to a Chinese immersion program as well as the bulk of the special education services, which means more parents have to drop off their kids than would be typical. Nice to avoid all that and Pacey loves riding the bus. He is totally stoked with the independence he gets and it's good for me to let go just a little more. He is part of a general education first grade classroom with para support and he spends a couple hours in the morning with his special education teacher in her classroom working on academics (she pre-teaches things they'll do in his general ed class as well as works on speech, OT skills and other areas he may need adjusted curriculum). We send a communication notebook back and forth and I hear from lots of different people about what he is doing during the day. It's a huge relief to have started the year and ironed out all the details. I don't recommend changing school districts during the summer if you can avoid it! :/

Brighton will start pre-K and gymnastics this week and I will start having a few hours with just Archer a couple days a week. I'm excited for her to have something all her own again. She is playing soccer on Saturday mornings through our parks and rec program and takes it very seriously (in a good way). They spent the first few weeks just learning skills and starting this weekend they will play short games. She continuously amazes Chris and I with her passion and energy and she is extremely engaging. Her imagination is incredible and she is a great social director for her and Pacey's play time. She misses her brother during the day and will often tell people we encounter how much she loves and misses him. Her vocabulary and language have really matured and I'm going to introduce her to Ramona Quimby and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle this fall.

Archer has progressed from a squalling bundle of flailing newborn limbs into a nicely rounded, sometimes smiley 7-week-old. After the initial first few weeks of smooth sailing with feeding, his tongue-tie (which Brighton also had, much more severely) started to interfere and I had to take him for a frenulectomy (fancy way of saying a doctor takes a pair of scissors and clips the frenulum underneath the tongue to release it). It's not a fun thing to have to do but I'd been through it before and his was much less dramatic (go figure). Following that, however, he developed identical symptoms to Brighton when she was diagnosed with milk protein intolerance. Think waking up screaming every 45 minutes, gas that would raise your eyebrows coming out of a grown man and arching/fussing during feedings. I took him into the pediatrician and she recommended a trial on hypoallergenic formula - the other option would have been to eliminate all dairy from my diet and continue breastfeeding. Considering I don't eat meat, that would have basically made me vegan and, well, I just wasn't that committed to nursing. Long story short, he improved dramatically on the formula, I am weaning off the pump and that is that. It was really nice to experience a normal, drama-free nursing stint and I'm happy he got six weeks of breastmilk but I'm comfortable with formula feeding too and, you know, it's nice to have a baby that doesn't scream 24-7. He smiles and is starting to use his hands purposefully. He is still happiest upright and has amazing head and neck control. Sleep is improving again and he's waking an average of twice a night which isn't too bad. Day time sleep is all over the place but it's going to be a challenge to get him on a nap schedule anyway, with all the other obligations we have.

We have lots of great things planned for the fall and I'm excited for the change in seasons. My sister will be here for a long weekend to meet Archer and Chris is taking a trip to visit a friend in New York. Life is starting to feel manageable again, which is a relief, although I definitely see what people mean about adding a third kid and how much it complicates things! Ok, I'm off to feed said third baby and give him a bath. His new formula smells...not good. :)

Taking a break from swimming at our friend's
country club 

She's almost caught up to him in height

Notable because he actually consented to be
laid down on a blanket without screaming

Birthday dinner

I love when babies sleep with their arms over
their heads like this. He doesn't get the
opportunity to be out of a swaddle very often.

First day of school (note little sister's face in
the background ;)


Baby: now with 100% more smiles
And a performance for your viewing pleasure: