Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Have you recovered? I don't think I have yet! We are still putting away toys and clothes while reorganizing closets and bookcases to accommodate all of the Christmas presents! So much stuff! Our kids are so incredibly lucky to get so many gifts from our families but it's so much. Seriously, they have three Christmases at least!

Christmas morning Austen and Peyton were up early. Hailey wasn't so in tune to the fact that she was getting presents this year so she was much more into watching her morning Paw Patrol cartoon than going to check out the presents. We held Austen and Peyton off for as long as possible and then we dove in. Soon thereafter, I noticed that Peyton's pile of presents was really small in comparison to her siblings. I whispered to Tom, I don't think that's all of Peyton's presents. We must have forgotten a whole tub of presents in our hiding spot just for her since we separated them according to each kid. It just so happened to be that all of those presents were from Santa. Peyton had in fact counted the presents for each of them and did say Austen had more than her but she said this matter of factly so she knew something was up with her presents. Being our challenging child, I thought it was a bit humorous that we had forgotten only her Santa presents so I thought it would be a good opportunity to teach her a little lesson since we needed an explanation for why her presents weren't here. I then told her that Santa had not delivered any presents to her that Christmas so that must've meant she had not worked hard enough at being good. I wasn't sure how she would react but she took it on the chin and didn't say much about it as she watched Austen open his presents and Hailey. In fact, she was so good about not getting presents from Santa that it briefly crossed my mind that she was really growing up. She did have still quite a few presents from Tom and I but not many toys in that bunch. Anyway, I was so impressed that I couldn't bear to watch her any longer and announced that I heard my phone in the other room. I came back with a tub full of her presents and told her that the elves had called and Santa wanted her to have these presents this year if she agreed to be good for the whole next year. She quickly nodded. Tom and I told her how proud we were of her and how she handled the whole situation. Maybe 6 is going to be a good year for her! Finally!

Christmas morning

Helping Hailey unwrap her presents

Cousin love at Christmas #2

We tried to get a picture of all the cousins but Hailey was having none of it for the second year in a row. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Christmas #3. Hailey did great for it being such a long day and only napping for about 45 minutes.

Cousins at Christmas #3 with their respective doppelganger!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Almost There

You would think that with my third I would let things slide a little. And I have. But only a little. There are certain milestones your toddler needs to go through and they are neither easy for the child nor the parents.  Below are a few milestones and when we've decided to take them on with each child.

The Pacifier
Austen - 18 months (cut it and Austen threw it away on his own because it was "broken")
Peyton - 20 months (Peyton did not transition well to not having pacifier - she was mad it was cut!)
Hailey - 22 months (cut it and Hailey would just hold it in her hand as a security blanket after it was a nub)

Drinking Out of a Cup
Austen - Well before age 2 thanks to full day Montessori
Peyton - Well before age 2 thanks to full day Montessori
Hailey - mastered at age 26 months but that was just by my training

Potty Training
Austen - 26 months (and probably the easiest to train)
Peyton - 24 months (she wasn't as easy at least at night)
Hailey - 25 months (during the day she was great, at night was harder)

Big Kid Bed
Austen - 27 months (he would get definitely get out)
Peyton - 24 months (she was mad and would tear apart her room once she went to bed)
Hailey - still in a crib at 26 1/2 months (I think we'll wait til she's 28 months - I need a break!)

So the biggest toddler milestone we have left with Hailey is the transition to a big girl bed. With Peyton we did that and potty training at the same time. That was miserable! Too much change all at once and we were tired! Although that too passed after a few weeks and she settled in. We're letting Hailey have a few more months (okay, really us) of getting used to the potty training before we change her bed - just in case she decides to act anything like Peyton! After that we'll be home free, right?!! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Life as a SAHM

I never knew what SAHM meant until last year when I became one. So for those of you who don't know it means Stay at Home Mom. I've been an SAHM for a little over a year now. And, I never thought I would want to be a SAHM. In fact, why would I work so hard, get my master's degree and build a career if that's what I was planning once I got married? The point is I never planned it. My kids went to a great all day Montessori school from age 3 months on and we felt like they were getting a great education in practical life skills, socialization and many other things that I felt that I couldn't just teach them being a SAHM. But the older my kids got the more difficult it became to work full time and the more they realized that I wasn't there.

Some people think that I became a SAHM because I just had my third child and it seemed like that may have pushed me to stay home more but in reality it was my oldest child and all the years that come after that I did it for. Austen was getting into more sports and after school activities that if I had him in an 8-5pm school he would miss out on that. I had a nanny for the first year that we lived in the suburbs so he could participate in practices after school but I wanted to be the one that drove him and/or picked him up. I wanted to car pool with other moms and really know who their friends were and that only comes from having them over for play dates or listening to their conversations in the car. I wanted to be the one to help my kids with their homework so I would know exactly what their strengths were and where they tended to struggle. I wanted to be the one who comforted them or who got to them first when an emergency arose. I wanted them to know I wasn't so far away from them if they needed me at a moment's notice. In fact, about a month before I left my job, Austen broke his arm at school. His teacher recounted the story to me later where she had said not to worry that she would call me. At that Austen had basically broken done crying saying "But my mom works in the city, she can't come get me." Even though Tom and I always made a point of one of us working close to our kids' schools, it still broke my heart that he needed me and I was so far away. (Tom actually made the 10 minute drive from his office to get Austen that day.)

So do I miss it? The work. No. The people. Yes. But, I still get to do communications for my kids' school parent teacher organization and it's a lot less hours and on my schedule, thankfully. I get paid in being part of a great school and meeting many other wonderful parents who have diverse backgrounds, and also seeing my kids' teachers when I am in and out of school. There's a lot to be said for those 5 minute conversations. That's for sure.

I feel like I am exactly where I should be at this point in my life and although some days are hard (I've always said even when I was working that being a SAHM is a hard job and now I know for sure!), I'm not going to lie. But I am so glad that I made the decision to be a SAHM (and my husband supported me). After all, I got to spend the whole last year of Adler's life with her every day. For that I will be forever grateful.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Moving Forward

Time marches on and that doesn't mean that we've forgotten Adler, only that life has gone on without her. We remember her daily in our conversations together and in our own private thoughts, and the holiday season is no different. We hung her stocking up as we usually would (and we will every year in remembrance of her) and her framed "Forever in Our Hearts" picture sits right next to it on our mantel. Don't get me wrong, there's still a hole the size of a Bernese Mountain Dog in our hearts, but we must celebrate and honor her life and that means continuing to do all the things that she loved to do with us. One of those things was just being outside walking with us on a cold and/or snowy night.

This past weekend we did just that. We hit up our local Holiday Walk.  There were trains, hot chocolate, Santa Claus, pizza and lots of Christmas Cheer. The kids had fun going into the stores for cookies or fun little giveaways too and just running around and seeing their friends.

Later in the weekend, we visited a great light display at our local arboretum where millions of lights were wrapped around their many varieties of trees and set to music. It was beautiful walking around their grounds at night, stopping at the bonfires set along the way to roast marshmallows and warm up.

The weekend weather was perfect. Not too cold, but cold enough to feel it when you breathed in deep the cold night air. The stars above twinkled brightly like so many other lights this season. Perfect nights leading up to one of my favorite holidays. So much festivities, so much cheer, so much still to be grateful for this season even though there will always be a Berner-sized hole left in our hearts.