Happy Thanksgiving

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the
blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. "
~Abraham Lincoln

I think Old Abe summed it up pretty well. We are so thankful for our everyday comforts and bountiful selection of food at our fingertips. We are deeply grateful for our little Hank, who's survival touched so many hearts. And most of all we are thankful to the Lord who blesses us daily.

Entertaining the In-Laws

Sorry I have been away, I have been busy entertaining my in-laws. As you can see I keep them so busy and entertained they don't have a moment to be bored.

Climbing the Wall for a Date- Literally

You know your desperate for a date when signing up for a rock climbing class sounds like a great date! I knew if I signed us up for a couples climbing class that: 1. Max couldn't stand me up by staying at work late, 2. Since we prepaid I wouldn't flake because of being too tired and, 3. It would force us to get in at least one work-out a week. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

For the last month on Thursday nights Max and I have enjoyed a whole hour and half of learning how to rock climb. It was really fun. I was surprised at how mentally challenging it is. You have to plan routes and really not psyche yourself out about how high you are and you have to have full trust in your partner at the bottom holding your lifeline.

The first climb I went up to the top first try and was thinking, "No sweat! Wow, I must be in pretty good shape. I guess popping out all those babies didn't wreck me after all!" It wasn't until the next class when she moved us to the real (not parent/toddler) side of the wall that I realized she had us try an easy (aka children's) route to build our confidence and let us get our feet wet. I didn't make it even half way up the beginner route on our second class but was finally able to on our last class. Max on the other hand seems to be a natural and topped out at every route he attempted. He is already climbing at an intermediate level!

Our instructor taught us all sorts of moves and strength building exercises. Oh how my forearms hurt! We learned how to belay each other and got to do some test falls to see how it feels. Our weight difference is such that if Max really fell, we would probably meet in the middle. She leashed me to the ground when he tried his fall so that we didn't meet in the middle. I learned how to tie some fancy knots (well, for me, who the best knot I tie is a double knot on a kids' shoe lace), and found that climbing is a sport we could really get into! We are so thankful to my mom who was our faithful babysitter. We could have never attempted such a date without her. To all my mother hens out there, don't worry. We have no plans of outdoor climbing until all the chicks have left the nest.

Sweet Turkey

25 Years Later.
They just don't make things the way they use to! This was my all time favorite dress as a little girl and it is now Hailey's favorite dress. Yes, it does have the Little House on the Prairie feel to it. She is such a sweet girl. This morning I was tidying up and found her Christmas list to Santa. If I didn't know her better, I would think she knows and was trying to manipulate us.
1. Smores (Remember Butterscotch the pony? This is her sister the paint. Not gonna happen this year.)
2. Bell to come alive. Anna painted a life size unicorn on the wall in her room. She has named her Bell and is like her imaginary friend.
3. Twin doll.
4. The homeless to have a home and have food.
5. My own room.
6. A good new year for everyone.
7. Santa C. You give everyone a present every year and now since you did such a good job, I have a gift for you. (Cookies???)
Love Hailey.

Such the humanitarian she is. Santa has his work cut out for him this year. I see about only one thing he can swing (the doll).

7 Months Old

This month has brought about some big changes in our little guy. He cut his first two teeth at the beginning of the month. He is normally such an easy going fella that I forgot what a fussy baby was like. That week reminded me of when Kaitlin was a baby. I am so thankful that it was just a week!

Hank is also learning to sleep in his bed all night. This is as hard on me as it is for him but I was getting so tired that it was hard to function. He was nursing hourly, so we let him cry it out for the first time last night. He cried on and off for an hour and then slept the rest of the night. I am hoping tonight goes a little easier as I was in an all out sweat and couldn't sleep for an hour after he fell asleep. I was just waiting for him to cry again and was having all these lunatic thoughts like about how he is my last baby and do I really want to not have him sleep with me ever, EVER again? Max had to talk me down more than once. I am sure when I get that first night of uninterrupted sleep I will be glad I did it, but today I am second guessing myself. I mean this is the last chance I have to cuddle with a baby all night long, smell his freshly bathed hair, and drift off to sleep with him cooing in delight. I am so torn (if you can't tell) but the black circles under my eyes and my irritable disposition are winning.

He is still not fully sitting up unsupported but is very close. This month Hank has started rolling his wrist and extending his arms out when he gets excited or upset. He now loves to pull Max's arm hair out and put his hand in my mouth or claw my neck as he nurses.

If I Only Had a Brain...

I used to be smart. No, I was never as smart as Max, but I could hold my own. I know I had a brain. I completed a double major in Biology and Microbiology in four years. I then earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and graduated Suma Cum Laude. Really, I did have a brain once. Then I got pregnant. Then I got pregnant again. Then I got pregnant again. Then I got pregnant again. Now, I have no brain.

Apparently I have this thing called “maternal amnesia,” which is characterized by the following symptoms: incompetent, dull-witted, frazzled, and preoccupied with domestic affairs. That about sums me up these days. I literally feel like I have fog inside my skull. It kind of aches a little, I can’t remember anything, and I am reduced to babbling about potty training, diaper blow-outs, spit-up, and how many loads of laundry I got washed, folded AND put away.

It really hurts my ego when I go to the store for one item. One little item and I get there and look like a deer in the headlights. “Why am I here?” I ponder to the baby. I ask Kaitlin, no beg Kaitlin to remind mommy why we came to the store. I can’t remember movies I have watched, places Max tells me we have been, or funny things the kids did. It is just gone, zip, nada, zilch. It frustrates me when I go to the pantry to get a snack for the girls only to find the jelly in there and the peanut butter in the fridge. What is wrong with me?

I turned to my faithful Google. He never lets me down and he always has an answer. I googled “Mommy Brain,” for lack of a brain that could actually come up with a more medical term. I was hoping to find a support group or a magic pill I could take and instead found an overwhelming amount of data on how smart motherhood makes you. “Comparing the brain of a non-mother to that of a mother is like comparing a tree in the winter to one in full bloom in the spring, when it is much fuller and richer," said University of Richmond neuroscientist Craig Kinsley. Kinsley and Lambert studied virgin, pregnant, and lactating rats. They discovered “the flush of hormones that comes with pregnancy, childbirth and lactation cause permanent changes in the learning and memory capacities of mother rats compared to "virgin rats." They were able to find food in a maze more easily, catch live food more quickly, and they seemed to have enhanced sensory powers. They're also braver. In other words, as Kinsley put it, the experiments showed "mom rats kicking virgin rats' butts." 1

Did you read that? Permanent changes (= damage) in the learning and memory capacity. Sure I can whip out a snack or a sippie cup faster than some young, little virgin that hasn't been mentally barated by hungry kids screaming at her. As far as the sensory powers, well, we do grow eyes in the back of our heads and can hear something all the way across the house, but I still wouldn’t trade those powers for being able to remember important things like butter or milk at the store! Braver, no that is just too tired to care. You lookin at me? What are you lookin at? Yeah, so what if its 2pm and I am in my sweats, haven’t taken a shower and have baby barf down the front of my shirt. You wanna make something of it? A certain callousness that could be mistaken for bravery comes with severe sleep deprivation. Really these “improvements” have just been misconstrued to keep women reproducing.

There is even an entire book called Mommy Brain devoted to trying to make moms feel better about their new brain and all the scientific research out there telling us how smart we are now that our brain has been submerged in pregnancy and lactating hormones. What a scam. Can’t you just give me a vitamin to make it a virgin brain again? A brain that works, a brain that can do more than babble about the alphabet, colors, addition, subtraction, play slug-bug, and pat-a-cake. A brain that can carry on an adult conversation and remember important dates and not fall asleep while trying to read the news. I guess I will have to go to Oz for that.

Hank's Kankles

Calves that become feet without taking an ankle break .
See any resemblance?

Happy Birthday Uncle John!

It was great to see you for Gigi's Birthday and we hope you have a great day. Love MKHKKH

Kids + Leaves = Fun!

My parents had a leaf party over the weekend and the kids had a ball jumping and playing in the leaves. I think the grown-ups had almost as much fun watching them enthusiastically dive, swim and jump into the gigantic pile of leaves.

X-ray Vision

I knew Hailey was super but didn't know she had superhero powers! She drew this to show me her X-ray vision. No the circular pile under the unicorn's bottom is not poop. She informed me, "it is her tail of course, Mom!" You will notice the X-ray version animals have no ears because they are made of cartilage, not bones. I think somebody has been hanging out with her dad too much.

Thursday Thirteen~ Things I have Done as a Mom Today

1. Got 4 little people dressed and ready to go to school.
2. Changed my bed because Hank peed in it yet again (this makes 4 for the week thus far).
3. Made breakfast.
4. So far I have buckled and unbuckled car seats 21 times and we still have to go get Hailey.
5. Played Slug-Bug.
6. Did a turkey craft.
7. Dishes
8. Laundry
9. Got baby food spit all over me and my favorite pair of jeans-thank you Hank.
10. Got baby vomit all over my shirt and in my hair.
11. Wiped to many little bottoms to count, well, at least I lost count.
12. Ran to the store and the mall with three little monkeys, but none fell down and hit their head.
13. Reveled in the joy of getting to watch my sweet ones grow.

Wordless Wednesday~ Simple Sweets

1st Big Boy Bath

Too bad he didn't like it. The whole family was crammed in the bathroom watching him laugh, giggle and splash. Kaitlin took her big sister responsibility very seriously and was an excellent teacher in this department. She kept saying, "Me Hank happy!" Yes love, you make Hank happy!

A Little R and R

No, not rest and relaxation- RESPECT and RESPONSIBILITY! Last week Hailey and Karlie's school had their core virtues assembly for the first trimester and honored kids that displayed the virtues respect and responsibility. Karlie was awarded the responsibility award for "cleaning up after herself and if someone needs help she always lends a helping hand." Hailey was awarded the respect award for "always being the first one to say 'please' and 'thank you'. Hailey always appreciates her classmates and teachers!" WOW! Not one but both of my girls getting such virtuous awards from school. Now if I can only get them to act that way at home :)