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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Daily Life in Wabo

I have been enjoying reading some other blogs lately, especially this great parenting blog: Up the Spout Again which taught me the importance of a daily schedule, and we have tried to stick to one since reading this interesting article: Flexible Family Schedule.

Here's what our typical Week-day Life Family Schedule often looks like:

- Take big kids to school, 7:05am, just John, while I sleep in until the babies wake up around 7:30
- Feed babies bottles, then breakfast (eggs are not as big a hit as I had hoped)
- Eat breakfast/have Bible study
- Play with babies (otherwise known as giving lots of kisses, allowing ourselves to be human jungle gyms, wiping noses, changing diapers, taking pictures of their hilarity, repeatedly chasing them around the house-indoors and out-, taking away non-toy items, or preventing falls, and saying "No Babies!" and "I Love You" often)
- Give babies bottles, then put them down for first nap, around 11am
- Try to fit in all of this while they nap: pick up baby toys, exercise, shower, eat lunch, do some laundry, prep for dinner, maybe check e-mail/facebook/blogs. We feel like we've accomplished a lot if 2 or more of those things are done before they wake up. If we're totally exhausted, we take a nap during this time, or watch a movie, but that happens less than once a week.

- Feed babies 'lunch' when they wake up
- Try to finish the things we started while they were napping
- Pick up big kids from school
- Give babies bottles, then put them down for second nap (unfortunately second naps don't always occur at the same time as each other - but the days that they do, we are able to focus more on the big kids)
- Enforce/Help with Homework time

- Make and eat big people's dinner
- Feed babies dinner
- Have devotion and prayer
- Chores
- TV/Downtime for big kids
- Bedtime for little kid
- Bedtime for big kids and babies
- John and I have a little bit of alone time to watch TV/play on our computers
- Bedtime for grown ups

All of that happens on weekdays when we don't go anywhere.  It doesn't look like much in a list format, but believe me, that kind of day really wears you out! Wednesday nights we go to church, so we have to be very rigorous about the babies' nap schedules in order to fit both naps in before going to church.  Other nights if we want to take the kids somewhere we usually try to make a big early dinner and then go out afterwards, bringing the babies' bedtime bottles.

Recently, our sweet pastor's wife has been approved to be able to come over and watch the babies for us while we go somewhere, and this has been the biggest blessing!  One day a week she comes over and watches the babies for us so we can get away and do something together, just John and me.  We've gone to Hattiesburg and Laurel most of the time.  It's so extremely pleasant to just be alone.  It's also been exciting to find this little gem of a place - New Yokel in Hattiesburg to buy some organic produce, butter, and other healthy foods.  We've also done a little shopping, since we have been successful in losing weight.  One day we went to an "Asian Massage" store and got rubbed.  I chose a neck massage, and John got his feet massaged until he fell asleep. Oh how we adore our one day away! It's almost like the days before we had kids, or like when we used to have babysitters in Memphis and we could go on dates.  We have to be back in time to pick up the big kids from school, so by 2:40.

On the weekends we do try to plan an outing for either Friday night or Saturday.  Outings are not easy packing the diaper bag full of bottles/food/diapers/emergency clothing changes for the babies, and then having enough room to pack either the double jogger stroller, or both individual strollers.  However, we know the older kids need to do things outside the house too, and if necessary we bring two vehicles so I can leave early to bring the babies home if they are just going balistic.  Sometimes John just takes the big kids somewhere and I stay home with the babies if it their nap time anyway. Our most common outings are going to the Wabo Walmart and surrounding stores, or going fishing at one of the big ponds around here, or going to Meridian, Hattiesburg, or Laurel to the malls in those towns.  A kind older couple at our church told us we could come fish at their pond anytime we want, and it is huge! They also have a 3 tiered building with a roof but no walls (I don't know the official name for this type of structure), that has some porch swings, rocking chairs, and is kind of like a little dock on the edge of the water.  We bring a rug and the babies' play pen and set it up in the middle of this, and I hang out with them while John fishes with the big kids.  The babies can only take about an hour in the play pen though, before they are crying and fussing and Jonah is trying to bite Other baby.  Then I load them in the double stroller and walk them around the lake.

Our boss is interviewing 2 other couples right now to hopefully complete this campus! It would be so nice to run this ship with a full crew! Please pray that goes well.  If it does, they may be here for the summer, which would be much easier than 24/7 with all 5 kids by ourselves.  However, plenty of other moms seem to manage their households well alone, and I have very much enjoyed reading Hello from the natos and Take Heart and Pure of Faith when I get a chance to sit down, during babies' naps, or after dinner and chores.

Yep, I emptied every book from the second shelf!
I can't tell you much about the kids here individually, but please continue to pray for them and their situation.  They have adjusted well to us, however, they would like to go home, or to family. Please pray for their salvation as well. Also pray for John and I to have the right heart attitude about them, even when we would rather lash out in anger, or hide for a moment's peace.

Haha! They're just so fun to play with!
Jonah is a joy.  He's almost walking.  He is taking 2-5 steps on his own, and then just sits down hard on his diaper-padded booty.  He can say dada, mama, dog-dog, and uh-oh in context. He does call most animals dog-dog though he is also learning to moo at the cows, and he blows raspberries at the horses, trying to imitate their snort as we pass on our run.  He gives kisses more freely, although they are open mouthed, he keeps the tongue in, so that's a plus.  He has finally begun to sleep better again since teething.  He still wakes up during the night, but if he's half-asleep I can sometimes just cover him up again, and pat his back until he falls back asleep.  However, if he is standing up in the crib crying, it will require work to get him back to sleep.  If I have enough energy I rock him and put him back to bed.  If I am tired, I just go the easy route and stick him between us in our bed.  He likes that a lot and goes straight back to sleep, and is very cuddly and cute when he wakes up in the morning, giving kisses and hugs.  We followed the "Baby wise" techniques when he was little, but I really think that our highly varied daily routine during his 3-7 months (moving/vacations/starting this job/having some breaks/driving 5 hours rather often) made it difficult for him to develop good sleeping habits.  Then when we tried to transition him to the crib, and started weaning, we tried to teach him to sleep in the crib but every single time he'd scream cry until he threw up and still continued to scream cry, not going to sleep at all, so it just all when to pot.  He goes to sleep with a bottle and being rocked now.

He prefers to stand on the baby motorcycles,
rather than ride them.
The worst part of teething seems to be over and has resulted in 8 teeth now, 4 on bottom, 4 on top. Unfortunately, he isn't a fan of using them to eat, and would rather still have pureed baby food textures than solids (unless the solid is a puff, or something we're eating, which he will crawl over and beg like a puppy to taste). He is a fan of using his new teeth to bite though, which is frustrating, and we are constantly popping his little mouth, saying, "No biting," and moving him away from people when he tries to bite.  Other than biting people, he's usually pretty sweet.  He is very active, climbing on things, pulling everything he can reach off a shelf, off the table, off the couch, inspecting it to see if it looks like food.  If something resembles food he will try to eat it, if not, he will try to tear it apart.  Silence is scary when the babies are awake, and we run to find both babies, because it usually means they are getting into something not allowed. Things in the "not allowed" category consist of them playing on our phones or laptops, pulling out all the napkins and place-mats, or pulling out all of the baby wipes.  This is probably their favorite sneaky silent activity.  Other baby pulls out one and then Jonah pulls out one and they alternate like that until the wipes container is empty.  Once empty, Other Baby tries to eat them, and Jonah tries to pull them apart into little shreds.

Hot, sweaty, and grinding his teeth
Trying to climb into the walker

He loves the Nick Jr. baby TV series "Curious Buddies" and we bought several DVDs from amazon, and he claps and dances while watching them - usually only one every 2-3 days, when we really need him to be occupied, or calm down.  He really loves being outside, and is happy to play on the porch swings, on the ground, or be pushed in a stroller, or his little car, or the wagon. I cannot believe he is almost a year old already.

Some days are easier than others with this job/ministry.  On the worst days, when I feel totally useless, frustrated, and exhausted, I know that at least I am getting to spend time with my precious boy and watch every minute of his growing up. For that, we are grateful and blessed. Although, sometimes it does make us feel like this Parenting small children article.
Looking out the window - favorite staring spot

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