Monday, December 29, 2008

Last Day As A Family Of 5!!!

Well, it has arrived, the very last day that we are a family of 5, 3 kids 4 and under. Tomorrow bright and early, my husband and I will be heading to the hospital for my planned c-section and somewhere after 9:00 a.m. our 4th and final little bundle will arrive! It's all bittersweet. I'm so ready to be done being pregnant and miserable, but at the same time, I keep telling myself this is the last time I get to experience any of this. Not to mention, this is the last time I can count our 4th child inside of me, and it be the easiest to care for!

As it stand, today is chocked full of cleaning the house, and then tonight we are going to do Christmas with my parents. My mom and sister will be staying the rest of the week to help with the kids while I recover. The following week, my husband is taking off work and then after that I'll be on my own! I have to do some pre-op testing and what not today, all that good stuff to get ready for the big day tomorrow. I'm not sure it's totally all hit me, but it will for sure tomorrow!

We did have our last outing as a family of 5 yesterday. A trip to Sam's to stock up on a few things, because when you have this many kids, grocery shopping is best done at Sam's! Then we went out to lunch at our favorite place as a family, O'Charley's. You have to love that the kids eat free there, well 2 free kids meals with the purchase of an adult meal. And really, they are a very family friendly restaurant! We've had nothing but great things to say about this place since we first started going there. I was hoping to get to spend a little bit of time with the kids today, cuddling each, since I'll be in the hospital for 2 nights, and I'm sure I won't see them tomorrow morning before we are off, but I also have a growing list in my head of everything I want to get done. I think Jacob can sense something is going on, because he woke up crabby and clingy today. It got so bad, I put him back in his bed for a few mins to get over it and try to get a fresh start on the day, which he did. I felt so bad being "mean" to my baby boy on my last day with him, but really I could not stand to be around him otherwise. I also feel bad I'm going to have to crack the whip on the girls and get them to pick up some of the little junk all around the house today. Granted I don't expect it to be spotless since Christmas just hit, but I do want all the stuff they've dragged out of their room put back and the room itself has to be cleaned so we can put the extra bed in there!

And yet, here I sit as I think of all the things I need to get done. Really, I do have a reason, I'm hurting and not feeling good. This is just a little break, I did get some stuff done already. But I guess I should crack the whip on myself and just get this stuff done! Besides, hubby will be home in about an hour, and I don't want it to look like I didn't do anything today!

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's All So Worth It!

Sometimes throughout the year, especially on very stressful days, you wonder if it's even worth all the stress, tears, sweat, headaches, etc. Raising kids is not exactly a cake job, like some may think. There are times when you are at your limit or even get pushed over your limit that you think selling your children on the black market sounds like a pretty good idea. At times like this, you wonder how Santa could even begin to see the good in your kids. Most of the time right after they upset you, they redeem themselves and melt your heart all over again.

Then there are days like yesterday, Christmas Day, when you can see the world through the eyes of a child. Everything is so much simpler than what our adult minds can even begin to comprehend. As Santa gets out and puts together his gifts, the anticipation builds. Now that I'm a parent, I wonder if it's more exciting being on the giving end then when I was little getting the gifts. My husband and I were both awake before the kids, waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to notice what Santa had done. Finally, the sweet pay off. We hear the foot steps running down the hall as our oldest bursts in our room "MOM, DAD, Santa Came, Santa Came!!!" Before she could run back out and start getting into the presents, we remind her to go wake up her sister, who then comes groggily into our room totally confused, until she makes her way into the living room. There is something about Christmas Day that just make children glow. As I heard, I think on a commercial, "Christmas is the time where parents become more like children, and children become more like angels." I couldn't have said it better myself. Even if the day is mostly filled with chaos of flying paper and a mess of toys, it is also filled with the joy and laughter of children. This holiday is truly for the kids! I don't care how "commercialized" people say Christmas has gotten, when you see your little ones faces light up and stay glowing all day, you forget about everything. Even if little petty bickering breaks out over "she took my toy" it seems hard to phase you when everything seems so close to perfect. Not to mention you tell them, "You have a living room full of toys, there's no need to fight over one," and then they realize "Oh Yeah, I wanted to play with this other thing anyway."

Even as I sit here in the day after Christmas hang over, the kids are still just as excited and happy as they were yesterday. They've only begun to explore the spoils from yesterday. You can't help but laugh when you get told that they are too busy playing and don't want breakfast. I think also, days like this go a lot easier when the living room is already a mess of toys that you don't care if they just play in all day. No stress, no worry, just relaxation knowing the house is already a mess and it's supposed to be this way!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got to experience the "glow" for themselves!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Power of Santa!

When we're young, Santa is like a God in our eyes. He is all knowing, all seeing, and yet, through our faults, he still finds a way to forgive our sins (or picking on our siblings) to bring us joy on Christmas day. Sadly, as we grow, we learn Santa is merely the "spirit" of Christmas and that all along, our parents were the ones giving us the gifts and forgiving us for all the wrong we've done. Something they do everyday of their lives.

In the meantime, when the kids are young, and Santa still holds so much power, he can be used as a very handy tool. How many times have you told your kids to behave, because Santa is watching you?! I know my kids now know "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by heart because I sing it to them as a gentle reminder to "Be good for goodness sake!" As I'm typing this now, my girls are diligently, er, ok, coming in and out of their room asking for different jobs that get their room clean. Reason being, "Santa won't bring you new toys if he sees you don't take care of the ones you have." Yes, I do feel a little guilty using Santa as an excuse to get them to clean their room, but it's a lot better than continuously yelling at them to get their room picked up, only for no results. I know that regardless, "Santa" will get up in the middle of the night and him and his "elf" are going to load up the tree with all kinds of goodies and gifts, regardless how clean the room gets. All and all, they have been very good kids this year. They listen for the most part, are polite, try their best to clean their plates, and when they can help it, don't pick on each other too much.

Now I just wish the boy was old enough to understand that Santa is watching him so he needs to be nice!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that "Santa" spoils you and your little ones!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If You Ever Wonder How I Do It...

When I tell people that I'm expect our 4th child, in 4 years, the typical response I get is "You are crazy!" I don't think they mean I need to be committed or anything like, though give me a few months and I might! I think most people have a hard time imagining having 4 little ones in your house, ages 4 and under, and grasping how you raise them without total and complete chaos. I didn't say there wasn't any chaos, but not total and complete. I decided to start the blog as kind of a window into my world, the funny quirks, daily struggles, and the plain nuttiness of being a stay at home mom of 4 kids!

I suppose I should start with an introduction of myself and my family so you can get to know who your reading about better. As other characters pop up, you'll get the scoop on them!

First, there is me, Jill. I am 26 years old, but if you ask me, I'll never admit it and firmly answer that I'm 25 + 1 or celebrating the 1st anniversary of my 25th birthday! I am the momma bear of the house, and the one that keeps everything in order, er as much order as I can. I'm pretty sarcastic and you'll probably find that throughout these blogs. I also try to throw humor in as much as possible, unless it's a really bad day. Currently, I am 38 weeks pregnant, with exactly 1 week to go until my c-section and the delivery of #4. Kind of in crazy, last minute, get everything together mode, on top of Christmas, and all the daily things. I'm so ready to be done being pregnant, because of bodily pain, miserableness, all of the above typical pregnant lady complaints. Honestly, I can handle the kids, its the pregnancy thing that kills me the most! I'm really not to worried about the addition of another child, because after you have 3, you tend think, "Eh, What's one more." We'll soon find out!

Next is my rock, the love of my life, the man I couldn't live without, my husband Nate or Nathan. I switch on what I call him depend on the mood (Nathan Allen when he's in trouble!). He is also 26 and the great man that decided about 4 1/2 years ago to marry me, at the time we were pregnant with our first. We've been together 6 years and have been very connected from the start. It helps when we're both yelling at the kids in unison when we don't even know for sure what the other was going to yell. He is a very hard working man! To help finance our 4 little ones, he works 2 jobs, day job being at an electrical equipment manufacturer and all the rest of the time on his family dairy farm. He dreams of the day he can quit the first job and just do the farm, but alas the price of insurance is a big motivator to keep the first one! He's also always wanted lots of kids, 10 being his original number but had to settle for 4 when I said I wasn't having more than that. He now agrees that 4 is plenty! He's got big aspirations of little dairy farm hands for our kids. I'm not totally on board for that, I think they need to enjoy their childhood and then worry about work. He's as thrilled as any daddy could be expecting the arrival of his 4th and final seed. A little sad this is his last, but at the same time relieved. Also a little jumpy of every ache and pain of his wife, wanting to rush her to the hospital at a moments notice! My knight in shining (cow manure covered) armor!

Then is our oldest, Abigale or as she is most often called, Abby. She just turned 4 December 9th. She is very much the big sister and takes on the roll of little mommy a bit too much. At the same time, I don't know what I'd do without her help! She is such a sweet heart and will go hug her siblings before she'd even think about hitting or picking on them. She started preschool back in August and as her teacher put it, "At 3 years old, shes just as smart if not smarter than the 4 and 5 year olds." She's always asked questions about everything, wanted everything explained to her, and soaks up everything around her. She is the true meaning of a child that is a sponge and I can see her going very far with how smart she is! She really is a joy in my world!

After Abby, came our 2nd daughter, Emma or Emma Jan. She turned 2 back on September 22nd. That puts her and Abby at about 21 months apart, our biggest gap. Emma is a very opinionated, very independent, and very free thinking little girl. In other words, she doesn't like listening to her parents if she doesn't have to. Her teen years worry me a bit, because of how she is at 2. And yes, we are starting to crash into the terrible 2's which end up in lots of fits and power struggles. She does have her sweet side too, and loves to come up and snuggle with you, on her terms. Unfortunately she picks on her big sister more than the other way around. She is a good girl for the most part and can't wait for the new baby to come. I think this time around I'll have a little mommy, since she was too small last time. Also, our big challenge that will be soon to hit is potty training.

And when we were least expecting it, we got our little boy, Jacob or Jake. Him and Emma are 14 months apart. That was a little bit of bad birth control planning on mom and dad. At least we have our son! We were so overjoyed to finally get a boy, until he grew and grew and grew. You learn a lot about the difference between boys and girls early on. Jake turned 1 on December 11th, 2 days after his big sister's birthday, and already I'm thinking if anything, he'll be the one to send me to the nut house! He was walking by his first birthday, he is very much the explorer and gets into EVERYTHING. He doesn't like being told "No," doesn't really pay attention to any discipline unless it's from daddy, and is a brute that muscles over his big sisters already. I know the girls were never like this, so this boy thing is a new experience for me! But, at least he is a sweet boy when he wants to be. He'll come up and give you hugs and kisses out of no where. He truly is a momma's boy too, when he's tired or upset. Otherwise he'd rather have male bonding, especially with his daddy. It will be interesting to see what this next year will bring with our boy, since the first year has been an experience already!

Just when we thought we were done, and literally my husband had went in and had a vasectomy, our biggest surprise came in May 2008, when a pregnancy test came up "Pregnant." We were pretty astounded at the news, but figured some greater power thought we needed 4 when we tried to stop at 3. Ultrasound scans confirmed my due date at January 6th, but with all of my pregnancies, we knew this one would be coming early for one reason or another. Having 2 previous c-sections (Emma and Jacob), I didn't get a choice for any other exit, which is fine by me. Nate and I agreed we'd like to have it this year for tax purposes, and sooner relief for me. My c-section date is set up at December 30th, 2008, 9:00 a.m. cst the baby should be here! I'm ready to have this baby now between all the aches, pains and everything that goes with pregnancy, but the doctors want to wait as long as they can, unless I go into labor on my own. That's doubtful, since I haven't done that yet! I was hoping to go into labor by yesterday, but at this point, I want it to wait it out until after Christmas. Our 3 little ones at home are really looking forward to Christmas this year, and I want to be there for it! If you haven't noticed, I keep refering to this baby as "it." It wouldn't show us what it was at my ultrasound. I've since had another, but decided to just let it be a surprise since we have boy and girl things! Our biggest struggle has been the boy name. Girl name all along has been Catelyn Louise, but the boy name finally being Joshua Clarence. Nate has had a hard time committing to one. I'm actually having strong feelings that this one is going to be a boy, but at the same time, this baby has left me the most confused of my 4. However I have correctly predicted the sex of all of them so far, we'll see if I'm 4 for 4. And if you noticed by the dates, Jacob and this baby will be a little over 12 months apart.

Now by no means am I a parenting expert. And I may do things that some of you disagree with. But I just figured this could be a place where people can see what life is like with 4 young kids. I do things the best way I know how and with all parenting, it's a lot of trial and error. I'm just hoping to provide a good reading experience for everyone, while at the same time, saving and sharing memories, venting frustrations, and of course, showing off my kids! Thank you!