Monday, March 24, 2014

Scouts and Indian Princesses

Ben and I have been working on his Light of Christ award for scouts. It was a whole book that we worked on together and then it was submitted to one of our priests for review before then being submitted to the archdiocese for approval! So it was a big deal. Finally, it was time for the scout mass where he would receive the award. And this mass included all scouts, so Abbey got to go as a Daisy Scout too!  Here are my scouts!
Cousin Andrew was on spring break from ND so he came up to visit us and meet Matthew.  Andrew is going to be Matthew's Godfather (which brings it full circle as he is our Godson!).
The girls were thrilled to have a play date with Andrew, which included some usual silliness!  Although they initially had to be bribed to wear the mustache, they ended up finding it pretty funny.

And here is a new development...Abbey now carries Matthew around.  I am pretty nervous about it, but she is actually pretty careful and he seems to enjoy it.  It is also helpful when I am busy doing something and he starts fussing to be able to have her or Ben go pick him up and calm him down!
Ben likes to read to Matthew, which is wonderful!  He puts him up on a pillow and reads his latest chapter book to him.  Ben calls it "Baby Paradise" and says that crying is not allowed in Baby seems to work!
Wow time flies....Matthew is 2 months old!
As you can see, Matthew now smiles very well!  He also has great eye contact and loves to look around at things.  As I mentioned, his sleeping dramatically improved after about 7 weeks.  He is still a gassy baby, but it doesn't seem to quite bother him as much (at least at night).  He is a happy guy most of the time, especially when his siblings are playing with him, which is all the time!  I took him for his check up and he weighed in at 10 lbs, 12.5 ounces and 20 5/8 inches, which put him in the 20th percentile, so still a little guy!  But he is doing great and things are going pretty well right now!  As I write this he is 10 weeks old, but for the last week or so he has been sleeping from about 7:30 at night until around 4/4:40 in the morning, which is great!  The only problem is it is hard to get sleep after that, so my day is starting at 4/4:30 most days lately!  But, I am not complaining (ok, a little, but not too much) as we are clearly moving in the right direction and that is a nice chunk of uninterrupted sleep most nights!).
And then it was time for the Indian Princess Pine Wood Derby!  Paul and Abbey worked hard on this sparkly car!
They did a great job!
The event was really fun and I think the girls really enjoyed it!  They were much more into the decoration of the car than how fast it went, but everyone seemed to have fun regardless of who won (which was not us)!
And then it was St. Patrick's Day! 
Check out my little leprechaun!  Thank you Aunt Theresa for this adorable hat!


As usual, lots going on!  But never too much going on to have some Matthew cuddle time...

Matthew had his first bottle!  I pumped some milk to make sure he was ok taking a bottle and he took it like a champ!
And of course, everyone wanted in on the action!  First Ben fed him...
Then Juliette....
And Abbey!
I call these two my little mommies :)
And having fun with Papa!
Brother to Brother talk...
Ben loves having a little brother.  He always wants to hold him or hold his hand and he is always reminding Matthew that they are brothers.
We went to Ben's cub scout Blue and Gold dinner, which was really fun. 
Ben earned his wolf badge!
And then there was a surprise visit from Tommy Hawk (Black Hawks Mascot for those not from Chicago or don't follow hockey).
It was really fun - he played all kinds of games with the kids, which kept them engaged and not running around the gym like crazy!  Here they are playing freeze dance!
And this is the whole group!  They had been encouraged to bring Black Hawks clothing to change into after the official scout ceremony had ended...we had to buy Ben a shirt as we are not big hockey fans ourselves,  but now he wears it all the time, so money well spent!
And before we knew it, it was time for Mama Kay and Papa to leave and go home.
Mama Kay and Papa were so helpful to us and we really can't thank them enough.  They drove the kids everywhere, helped make dinner, cleaned up, and helped us with our fussy baby that didn't sleep!  We were so glad they could come help us and we miss them being here!  But, it was time for us to handle this new family of 6 on our own.  And although Paul and I would have welcomed help forever probably, the kids were ready to get back to our routine without visitors.  It has actually gone really well thus far.  Matthew spends a lot of time in his car seat, but he is fairly laid back about it.  And once he hit the 7 week mark, his sleeping dramatically improved.  He is now sleeping very well at night (almost through the night) and is a happy baby during the day.  The only problem now is he does not nap well.  His gassy tummy wakes him up several times during a nap so he isn't getting great sleep during the day.  I am hopeful that as he continues to grow his tummy will continue to work itself out and get less uncomfortable for him.  But as long as he continues to do well at night, I am not complaining!  He is a happy baby!

I will take a moment here to also say how amazing our school/parish community have been.  We had a friend set up a meal registry for us and we had people bringing us meals 2-4 times a week for TEN weeks after Matthew was born!  I was overwhelmed with the kindness of our friends and the community of our school and Church.  People we didn't even know that well signed up to bring us a meal.  It was so incredibly nice and we had some really delicious food and some great new recipes to add to my mix.  A big thanks to everyone from St. James!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Matthew Smiles!

On Valentine's Day I got the best surprise gift...Matthew smiled at me! It took a while to get it on camera, but his happiest and most smile times are in the early morning after his breakfast, early afternoon after lunch, and usually while we are eating dinner. Anyway, here he goes...starting to smile...
almost there...
The kids still love having a baby brother and sharing everything with him...they made sure he was included in family movie night...

Abbey wants to hold Matthew all the time.  I am constantly asking her to put him down so he can stretch and move on his own on the floor.  But it is cute and Matthew does actually really like being held by his siblings.
Since Matthew is Child #4, he unfortunately spends a lot of time in his car seat - his siblings are busy little people!  Luckily, he doesn't seem to mind it, although I know at some point it will become a problem.
Have I mentioned that we are desperately seeking spring???

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ben's birthday

We were lucky to have more help arrive once Madgie and Patch left...Mama Kay and Papa came to help us out!  Mama Kay was very helpful in keeping Matthew awake during the day (in hopes he would sleep at night!).
Mama Kay and Papa with their 10th grandchild!
Some of you may be worried about Belle...I can assure you she is fine.  She doesn't get a ton of attention, but she has handled the new baby just fine.  It took a little training, but now this is about as close as she comes to Matthew when he is laying on his activity mat.  It's cute actually.  When he lays there she will come lay down next to him.  Good dog (finally!).
Matthew is getting more and more alert and really looking at things.  It's so cute.
Ben turned 8 - I can't believe it!  Wasn't he just as small as Matthew yesterday??  We celebrated with his requested dinner (Spaghetti) and he picked out peanut butter cup ice cream as his birthday dessert, so we put a candle in it and sang to him!
The girls made cards for Ben, but also picked out this awesome card for him from the store.  Ben was really appreciative of the cards they made as well as this card they found for him.
Mama Kay was on Matthew duty while Ben opened up his gifts.
Ben chose to forgo a big party this year.  He desperately wanted to go to Medieval Times with a few friends.  Luckily, we qualified for a group rate and he selected 4 friends to join him (getting down to 4 friends was quite the negotiation!).
He was quite concerned when we agreed upon 4 friends that the number included his sisters and cousin!  I assured him the 4 was in addition to his sisters and cousin, but I thought it was sweet that he would have put them in his 4.
Everyone got to pick one thing to get - most got swords, some got flags, and the girls got light up star wands.  Here is the group!
Caroline and Ben jousting!
The set up was great.  Two rows - so kids all sat in one row and the parents sat behind (us, Mama Kay and Papa, and Uncle Brandon and Aunt Domi).  The kids loved it!
Juliette wanted to sit by me as I think she was a little worried.  The last time we were here she slept through the whole thing.  
We will have to go again at some point when Matthew can better appreciate it too!

The top row!
Love this picture - all the kids are fully enthralled with what is going on!
And they even had a birthday treat for Ben!
The girls were very excited because the knight threw them each a flower!  And luckily for us, he threw one to Caroline too so all the girls got one!

After the show we came back to the house for cake.  I was lucky this year in that Ben wanted an Olympics cake since we have been watching so much Olympics.  I was lucky because it was easy and I was really not up for something difficult right now!  Thanks Ben!! 
Happy Birthday Dear Ben...
After all the friends left, Aunt Domi got some Matthew time.  So did Caroline and Hunter, but I sadly don't have pictures of it.  Aunt Domi, if you are reading this, send me some pictures if you took any and I will edit this post to include them!
And this is the creepy sweatshirt that Aunt Domi gave Ben...he loves it!
Hard to believe Big Ben is 8!!!  His doctor's appointment is next week, so I will update on his stats and development then.