It’s Time

This weekend I had a gallbladder attack after a day of perfectly healthy eating. And long, boring story short, I went to see my surgeon today and scheduled my gallbladder removal surgery for next Friday.
I’m not nervous, I feel good about the decision. I am curious and hopeful about the surgery. I’ve never had surgery of any kind so I’m really… curious to see how I do. I’m really hoping I have an easy recovery because I don’t have any help and getting back to normal ASAP is crucial to taking care of four kids!

I promised myself I’d take pictures today everywhere I went and I DID! I was so proud of myself! For most of these there was at least one person watching me. I get embarrassed but for no reason. Everyone who sees me taking pictures smiles; some comment about how great it is to document moments like these.
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Once in the exam room I stacked three boxes of exam gloves to use as a tripod for my camera.
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Payson got moody right away because once he got settled on the exam table he immediately wanted off. He did that through my entire appointment. Cried for me to pick him up and sit on my lap and then immediately arched his back to get off. He’s such a whiny butt.
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Allan says often, jokingly, “We really need to let Payson’s hair grow out and then dye it black and comb it over so he can look like the emo kid that he is.”
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Brooklyn put her sippy cup on Payson’s carseat. It spilled and completely saturated Payson’s pants. He went into the hospital (I registered and got bloodwork done) wearing only his shirt and diaper. And shoes.
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Brooklyn and Sierra goofed off and Payson cried while I registered. Ember stood on my lap and filled her diaper.
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A diaper change before getting my blood drawn. (They were testing my iron levels)
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These were taken earlier this week, Payson bit off the nipple on his bottles so he’s switched to sippies all the time now. I was shocked when he didn’t mind the change at all. We’re weaning him off his binkies, too, and he’s doing ok with it. He falls asleep with a binky but doesn’t use them during the day anymore.
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Working Hard

I’m doing my best to stay positive this week. In the midst of a lot of work and challenges, I really need to cling to the fact that my life is beautiful. I need to overlook the struggles, let them go, let them be, because they won’t let up. I need to notice my children and how beautiful they are. I need to listen to their voices, the way they play together, the funny way they phrase things, the sweetness there to be found daily. I need to soak up the evenings with Allan. To notice him there in the room; to really see him and enjoy adult conversation and his handsome face 🙂

It’s hard. It’s hard to find the good in the midst of so much stress but it’s there in plenty. I just need to open my eyes.
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Brooklyn has been asking for bangs for months. Maybe even a year. I’ve always said no because I’m selfish with my kids’ hair and want them to have long, flowy locks. haha
Today she was asking me again and I decided she was old enough to be the one deciding what her hair looks like and so I grabbed the scissors and bangs are here.
She looked in the mirror and… looked devastated. “Why did you cut my bangs, mom? I didn’t want bangs! Why did you do this to me??”
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It took a while for her to adjust and now she loves them. Crazy child.
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Payson’s been obsessed with making lego staffs to copy the staff Max holds in Where the Wild Things Are. I made him a “crown” today out of felt. He picked out a couple pieces and I stapled them together. I thought about making a nice crown but realized he’d love the stapled pieces of felt just as much so I might as well save time.
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Two Little Girls Outside In the Evening

Allan called me as he was getting ready to leave work and asked if I’d like to come outside this evening with the kids while he did some yard work. I quickly answered, “Yes, I’d love that.”
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I put Payson to bed since he was cranky. Just the girls enjoyed the cool evening air. Brooklyn was too fast on her big wheels to get a picture. Don’t tell her but she’s finally getting a real bike in August for her birthday.
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The girls brought out the little toys they got at the dentist yesterday. It was delightful listening to their sweet voices in play.
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Dentist, Baby’s First Book, Mama

::A journalish description of our trip to the dentist followed by cute pictures of Ember::

Yesterday all three kids had their scheduled cleaning appointment at the denstist. I was dreading it as the day before I’d been so beat down emotionally I didn’t know how to go on.

Tuesday morning was spent getting ready to go. Feeding the children, dressing the children, doing hair, brushing teeth, nursing baby.
It was busy but not stressful at all for some reason. Normally getting ready to go peaks my stress levels.

We got out into the car on time and arrived at the dentist’s office looking nice and smelling nice and having remembered everything.
Wow.

I asked Brooklyn to hold Ember for me for a couple seconds while I wrapped the wrap around my shoulders. Ember, in a new and seemingly scary place, watched me with big eyes and an expressoin that very clearly told me, “How could you abandon me? Take me from this girl! Please pick me up!!”
I got the wrap on my shoulders in about ten seconds and as I was leaning to pick Ember up Brooklyn said she smelled bad. So, time to change the baby.
They have a nice changing table in the bathroom at the dentist’s office. I laid Ember down and she started crying her loudest, most sad cry. She has only done that maybe one other time in her life that I remember. She usually just quietly fusses; she’s not a big cryer.
I knew she was feeling terrified and desperately needed mommy snuggles in this new, strange place. I talked to her gently while I speed changed her diaper.
I picked her up and put her right into the wrap and as I was tightening it up she was looking into my face with an expression of pure joy coupled with a sweet, secure smile. Oh gosh my heart just skips a beat hourly with my little girl and her precious, tender ways.

I left the bathroom and Brooklyn told me they’d just called us back. All five of us headed towards the back. This office is a movie themed place with children’s movie posters on the wall surrounded by lights. They have TVs everywhere (Payson and I counted 9 in the cleaning area) along with video games, toys, and lots of other games and cool chairs and stuff!

The staff is the nicest I’ve ever met. They talk to the kids on their level and make them feel relaxed and heard.

Brooklyn lit up when the first thing the dental hygenist said was, “Oh my goodness you’ve had some big changes since you were here last.” Brooklyn broke out into a huge, but slightly shy, sweet smile as she knew the hygenist meant her lost teeth 🙂

Sierra’s turn was next and in very typical Sierra fashion, she was a total zombie through the cleaning and checkup! They have TVs mounted from the ceiling with movies playing and any time there is a movie or TV show on Sierra is gone. There is no getting her attention unless you break the view of the screen. lol

But she did good and did try to pay attention. It was just cracking me up how into the movie she was.

Payson went last and made me beam with pride. He was talking to the dental hygenist and smiling the whole time. He answered all of her questions and looked so adorable. I was amazed at how when he’s “on” he’s on. He is the cutest, most clever, sociable, happy, smart little kid when he’s in the mood to be.

Ember was in the wrap the whole time. She looked around a lot but also kept looking up at me and smiling that same, thank-you smile and then immediately nuzzled her face into my chest and just stayed there snuggling while I patted her back.

I am always nervous about dentist visits because Sierra’s teeth are so bad. Because of a lengthy fight with viruses when her teeth were being formed (or coming in or something) her molars are extremely soft and weak. We brush all of our kids’ teeth very well every day and yet poor Sierra’s are so fragile.

The dentist has told me he’s pretty sure they’ll end up capped at some point but today at her checkup all her teeth were perfect! I mean, the molars are still extremely soft and vulnerable, but no cavities and still hanging in there. He said he was happy with how they are at this appointment. Sierra has sealant on all her molars in hopes that it slows down the wear and tear. Her teeth are such high maintenance she doesn’t get morning and night brushing, she gets after every meal and snack brushing!

Brooklyn and Payson have amazingly great teeth. Payson has a gap in his bite due to binky use. The dentist said that he usually says around three years old to wean off binkies, bottles and thumb sucking. At that age the body can still naturally fix the bite. Sierra had a severe gap in her bite at Payson’s age (from thumb sucking) and her bite is perfect now, so I have confidence his teeth will look fine in the end.

But… weaning my cranky boy off his binkies. Um, scary.
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We went to Costco after the dentist since both are a long drive from my house (we live way out of town) and I needed eggs and some vegetables. Costco is the best for organic though they’ve raised their prices quite a bit this year! At least at my Costco they did.

I saw this little baby book while there and got it for Ember. When I handed it to her while she was sitting in the cart she smiled so sweetly and kept giggling at me while she chewed it.
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She loves chewing books. She learned how to roll from her stomach to her back this weekend and now rolls all over the place. It’s crazy how fast she does it! She’ll roll over to paper and books, her favorite snacks 😛
I am constantly scrambling to pick up stuff the older kids have left behind so that she’s not getting ahold of anything that she can actually swallow!
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Watching her with toys and baby books is a lot of fun. She’s so passionate about playing. She gets such a determined look on her face when she goes to munch on her stuffed bunny or shake a rattle or lunge for a book, like that action is the most important thing in the world and she must get it done and get it done right.
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She’s loved her toes for quite a while, I just haven’t gotten a picture of it until now. She sucks and chews on them sometimes. Mostly she just likes to hold onto them while she kicks her legs all around.
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I wanted to get some pictures with her. I set up my camera with the remote but it’s not working. I dropped the remote yesterday and I suppose it’s broken now 🙁

So the mirror had to do. I might buy a new remote, I loved it so much. But… that is $20 that wasn’t in the budget for this month so it’ll have to wait.
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Stupid Day, Stupid Work

Today is a day when I feel like venting. I type out sentence after sentence only to highlight and delete over and over and over again.

No use to have that here, though.
The little kids played together for a little while this morning.
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I read some more of my book while nursing Ember.
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The book is Wuthering Heights and I really like it so far. I’ve read about 50 pages.
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We Played with Clay, We Played With a Shoe, We Played with a Baby, Too!

Allan took the girls camping last night. They met up with grandma and grandpa at the lake. I’m home with just the little two today. It’s been so quiet and so easy!

These pictures are all from yesterday. I haven’t picked up my camera today. All I’ve done today is nursed Ember, made Payson food, changed diapers, played with the kids (silly songs and finger rhymes, mostly) and sat with Payson on the couch while he watched TV and I nursed Ember and fell asleep. lol. I’ve had a couple almost sleepless nights this week and am a walking zombie. Not to mention the headache. I had no idea sleep deprivation was what was causing my migraines during the last year but now I have noticed a 100% correlation. Less than 7 hours of sleep = terrible migraine.

I’m debating a Costco trip today. I am feeling in the scrapbooking mood lately and want to print some pictures! I am horrible at making blog books because it takes me SO long! I can scrapbook a page in like five minutes. Not to mention the ONLY photobook program I like is Picaboo and they’re super expensive. They start at $30 for only 20 pages and then are a dollar a page!
I don’t know if that’s expensive to you but it is to me! lol

Yesterday I was up early so I went outside to say goodbye to Allan. The mornings in March are glorious. The cool air, the crisp morning smell, the birds chirping. My favorite part of the day. Well, ok, 8pm after the kids are in bed is my favorite. Morning is a close second.
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Payson’s diet is confusing me lately. I have no idea what I’m doing with him. His diaper situation (I won’t talk poo in detail for your sake) has been bad and I’m feeling despair about how to heal him. I don’t know what to do! I can destroy him emotionally, in an already fragile state, or continue to harm him physically with damage to his gut. I’m so sad about having to make these choices and follow through with him. I feel sorry for myself a lot having to be his mother. haha. I love my little boy but the food stress he brings to my life is way too much for me to handle.
Except I handle it, and I’m probably a better person for it so I suppose God knows what he was doing giving me a child with these problems.
All I want is my little boy to be healthy. And that’s just not happening. He’s either depressed, feeling deprived and neglected, or having diarrhea because I let him have a few normal foods. There’s no win-win situation possible that I can see in the near future.
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I made Sierra some clay to roll into letters for Kindergarten. We’re learning about letters t, c, and u this week. I do these types of things with her because they’re fun but I always laugh a bit inside as I do. She’s known her letters since she was two (names and sounds) and has been able to read for months now. She’s learning all kinds of spelling tricks and how to read bigger words all the time. Yet I’m teaching her letters. haha! But, even though she’s smart I really don’t want her to miss out on the super fun Kindergarten stuff. And I’m SO glad I am including all the Kindergarten stuff that she already knows because she has a blast doing those activities. And Brooklyn does, too!Photobucket
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You aren’t going to believe this… the girls played with that clay (recipe at bottom of post) for at least four hours! They were having the best time ever with it! I was shocked.
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Meanwhile… me and Payson were playing all kinds of fun games together. His favorite of the day was when we were having adventures with shoe and the cookie cutter.

Um, what?

See, we were singing some songs together and then he was pretending to drive this truck-shaped cookie cutter around. I grabbed the thing closest to me, his shoe, and started to talk to his cookie cutter with it.
He lit up (he loves imaginative play) and we had a little conversation. At one point shoe (who I was playing with) asked cookie cutter (Payson’s toy) what he wanted to do and cookie cutter said, “Fly.” Which is so funny if you know Payson because he’ll often come up to me holding a toy out to talk to me and when I ask the toy what it’s doing Payson will look at it, notice it’s hovering in the air (in his hands), and reply, “Flying.”
haha

So cookie cutter wanted to fly. So shoe and cookie cutter flew all around the house together and ended up in Brooklyn’s room. They had lots of fun in Brooklyn’s room. They ate food (math counters), they put on clothes (sleeves from an old onesie of Ember’s), they took naps (even pulled the blankets up high to keep warm) and built homes for themselves (out of legos).
There were about a million hilarious things Payson said while we played but this has been way too long so I’ll just write those in a notebook. haha
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These counters were food, then poop, then bottles, then a tower… my kids love these counters so much. I have no idea why because they’re boring little squares to me, but they could play with them for hours.
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After playing with Payson for quite a while I went to peek in at the girls. Thinking, surely they couldn’t still be playing with clay.
But they were. They were playing all sorts of creative things. One thing Sierra had built was a snowman. The girls have been a bit obsessed with snow talk since our little trip to the mountains the other day and Brooklyn’s snowboarding trip.
PhotobucketSierra had accidentally squished her snowman right before this picture. Which is so sad because it was an adorable little snowman before it’s “death.”

Brooklyn, seeing Sierra’s snowman, got to work on one of her own.
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The thing they played the most all day was that their littlest petshop animals were knights saving their queen and king. The clay was their armor.
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Those above were Brook’s and these below are Sierra’s.
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Brooklyn finished her snowman.
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Where was Ember during this day? In my arms, or sitting nearby playing with toys or… reading books. I gave her books to look at for the first time yesterday. I tell her stories very often but never by reading books. She loves when I tell her stories (her favorite is Little Red Riding Hood) but I realized not once have I sat down with a book with her.
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She doesn’t take after her big brother and sit and listen intently while I read the book. She takes after her big sisters and lunges, open mouthed, for the delicious treat I’m holding out.
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I could tell she loved chewing on the book more than her toys. She was making slurping sounds she was so into consuming that cardboard. haha
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My toe walker was nearby.
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And then Brooklyn asked, like she does a hundred times a day, if she could hold Ember. I wanted to say no, like I always want to say, because Ember was very happy playing and every single time Brooklyn picks her up Ember gets crazy cranky. But being nice and wanting to nurture Brooklyn’s motherly instinct I said yes.
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Sierra was reading the book that Ember had been playing with.
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Brooklyn was being crazy.
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Ember kept looking at me with this expression that I could tell she was so happy I was in the room but she really wanted me to save her. haha
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She always watches Brooklyn in an overwhelmed stupor when she’s in her arms.
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Ember kept fussing and fussing and I was going to take her away but Brooklyn said, “Oh baby do you need a bottle?”
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And then she tried to brush her hair.
PhotobucketAnd that’s the problem with Brooklyn holding Ember. Brooklyn thinks of Ember as a toy. She really couldn’t care less if Ember is having a good time or happy. I show her all the time how to treat Ember when she’s holding her but she doesn’t want to treat her like a real baby.
I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing letting her hold Ember a little bit every day. Ember hates it and I’ll take Ember when she gets fussy. I figure that’s all good. I don’t want to never give Brooklyn a chance to hold her sister since she asks all day long. But then Ember hates it SO MUCH so I don’t know if it’s mean of me to allow it for any amount of time.

And it might sound like Brooklyn doesn’t have any feelings about Ember as a person but that’s not true. She adores Ember and is very sweet to Ember when Ember’s not in her arms. But I don’t know what changes the second she’s holding her. She just wants to play doll at that point. And that’s not to say she isn’t sweet, because she’s still loving, she just doesn’t pay attention to what Ember wants, only what she wants to play with Ember.

I think once Ember’s older it will actually be a great thing because Brooklyn does things like creates an entire nursery in the living room with all kinds of baby “stations” (like toys and coloring and stuff) and then asks me if she can take Ember from station to station. She even included a napping area. haha

So at 6 months old it’s not very good but I imagine when Ember’s a year old she’s going to love that type of play.

I’m talking a lot today. I’m sorry, I’m just letting my mind wander. haha

I always think my kids are cute but some days their cuteness just overwhelms me.
Yesterday was one of those days. They are just so dang cute. I gathered them together to take a picture.
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And for some odd reason they were all super smiley!
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I took like thirty pictures and Ember smiled in 3/4 of them. These few were by far the cutest of the older three but unfortunately Ember wasn’t smiling in them. I tried to clone her in but it wasn’t working so… she’s looking mellow. Oh well.
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I took this of Brooklyn making Ember laugh. Ember, out of Brooklyn’s arms, loves her big sister so much!
PhotobucketPayson is in the other room yelling knock knock jokes at me.
All of his jokes are the same:
Payson: “Knock, knock!”
Me: “Who’s there?”
Payson: “Carrot.” (or some other food)
Me: “Carrot who?”
Payson: “Carrot!”

Here’s the homemade play dough recipe:
2 cups flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
2 TB Vegetable Oil
1 TB Cream of Tartar

Put all ingredients in sauce pan. Stir on medium heat. (You will stir for quite a while and when it starts to thicken it’s difficult and your arm will get veeery tired!)
When a ball forms dump the dough out onto the counter and knead for a couple minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and you’re done!

Beauty Salon

Sierra got a package in the mail from grandma. She is in love with her new makeup. It has Hello Kitty on it which makes a great gift even better.
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She and Brooklyn have been decorating themselves all morning. They have layers and layers of white and pink eyeshadow on their lids. Along with layers and layers of eyeshadow on their cheeks, noses, foreheads and basically everywhere else.
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Some of the stuff in the package was for doing nails. Both girls were very fascinated with those little foamy things that go between your toes to keep your toes seperated while you paint your nails.
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They used up all of one of the lipglosses. Less is More is not a motto my girls support.
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All we did so far today to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day was the traditional pinching of those not wearing green. That’s always a big hit. Brooklyn and I are the only ones wearing green. But I still got pinched because the kids didn’t notice my green socks and because Payson ran around laughing like crazy and yelling, “Pinch!!!” as he grabbed at all of us. He doesn’t know what pinching is or what the heck we were doing but he didn’t care, he joined right in on that fun. haha
PhotobucketRemember months ago (I believe Ember was a month old) I mentioned how much Brooklyn hates giving her old clothes to Sierra and how she’ll insist on wearing them so that Sierra can’t get her hands on them? Yeah, that pajama top in the picture above is one of those items. It’s a size four. Crazy child.

Beauty and Blessings

Today was one of those days when everything feels easy. When every other minute something little happens that makes me smile. When I look around me and feel so very blessed.

We got a bunch (over 40) of books from the library this week and have been reading and reading and reading together.Photobucket

I read my kids 23 books today. My voice was pretty hoarse for a while but it was so worth it. Brooklyn and Sierra cuddled into me and played with my hair and rubbed my arms as I read. We laughed together and imagined together.
I’m so grateful to have a library only thirty minutes away. How blessed to have an entire building full of books to visit whenever I want.
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I’ve been in reading heaven, myself. I love every one of the books I checked out for my personal reading. My current favorite is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I only got a chance to read one more chapter today in it and didn’t want to put it down. But… I was just too busy to read more than that 🙁
Maybe tomorrow, dear books…
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Cleaning, cooking, child rearing and everything else I do in a day is made possible by… babywearing.
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I would not get 80% of the stuff I get done, done, if I didn’t have this wrap. This wonderful wrap. My sanity depends on you, my joyful aqua fabric.
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Payson’s picky eating habits (of only eating meat or broccoli) have disappeared now that he has his bottles back in his life.
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As I was working on cleaning my kitchen I got to smell the amazingly comforting smell of chicken broth simmering on the stove.
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Today was diaper laundry day.
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The diapers I use are: Kissaluvs Organic Fitted Diapers with Thirsties Diaper Covers, FuzziBunz Pocket Diapers, and Happy Heiny’s Pocket Diapers.
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When we bought Ember’s new swing at Babies R Us I used a coupon I had to get a free lightweight stroller for Brooklyn since she’d been asking for one for her dolls.
She pushed Ember around the house slowly today for fun.
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It was hot today. High 80s. I couldn’t resist setting up our little pool…
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Ember wasn’t interested in getting in the pool with her siblings.
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But she sure did look cute in her ruffly yellow swimsuit.
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My favorite part was watching Payson’s huge grins as he ran around and played and splashed.
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Ember doesn’t have swim diapers so while I was holding her outside she peed all over me. So bathtime it was.
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Payson kept asking to come in and then go out and come in and go out. It was frustrating because I was trying to cook dinner. He did look so cute standing at the sliding glass door, though.
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The day up until 5pm was so blissful. I worked my butt off and accomplished so much and we’d all had such a good time together.
But around 5pm I told the kids to come inside. And turns out Payson took his diaper off. Turns out he had to poop right then. Turns out he has diarrhea from a couple tater tots I let him have the other day.
So… he pooped right on my family room floor. And then walked through it over to me in the kitchen.

*sigh*

It was so stinky.
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I spent a full hour cleaning up that mess!! It was exhausting because Ember was in her super cranky evening mood so I put her in the backpack so she was being “held” but was out of the way.
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Then when it was all clean I went to take out the garbage and the garbage leaked rotten meat juices all over my kitchen floor (and me! yay, I’ve been marred with pee, poop, spitup, and rotten meat juices today!) so I had to clean up that mess.

Wow. I’m really sick of dealing with gross things!

But besides those two hours of the day things are awesome. I am really loving this phase of life. I have really terrible moments when the extreme workload gets to me but the rest of the time it’s just such a lovely, blessed life I have.

Cloth Diapering an Adorable Baby

Cloth diapering Ember is so much fun! I’d forgotten how cute Sierra’s cloth diapers are! I’m so glad Ember fits into them now.Photobucket

Ember was being so cute playing with her toys yesterday.
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She’s getting over her cold, finally, and is in such a better mood lately!
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This toy is her favorite:
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I sit her on the ground with toys spread out in front of her and she looks at them all and then lunges for this rattle.
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After a while she fell backward and tried very hard to get back up. I watch her, laughing, and ask her if she’s having the hardest time getting that chubby, bubby body back up and then she laughs, too.
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