Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our "summer" so far

Whew!  A month has gone by already and I feel like we need to document some of the big changes we've gone through.

First of all, momentous news:


After almost 21 months of unemployment, hundreds of applications, thousands of hours spent searching, unquantifiable worry and stress, and one surprise baby, Steve was interviewed & hired for a new job.  He started two weeks ago and it is going very well thus far.  He is doing Accounts Receivable for a dental supply company.  We wouldn't necessarily qualify this as a big step in his career path, but it is a job and a very convenient one right now.  His hours are pretty set, Monday thru Friday, 8:30am-5pm, and he can take up to an hour for lunch too.  The best thing about it is that the office is only 10 minutes from our house!!  It is very easy for the kids and me to take him to work in the morning and pick him up in the evening, if we need the car that day.  Also, he can come home for lunch if he wants to (and has a couple of times!).  Another awesome thing about this job?  It means I only have to go back to work on Saturdays!!!  That is a major blessing, probably my favorite of all the awesome things.  I had been stressing about having to work full time, especially since I am breastfeeding a newborn and pumping is a big hassle.  Now I only have to work Saturdays, so pumping one day a week isn't bad at all.  The job itself is one he's well suited for and won't be really taxing while he's still going to school for another year.  We feel so blessed by this!  Thank you to everyone who offered prayers and help during this frustrating period of unemployment.  We are truly grateful for the love and service that was given so willingly to us.  :-)

So now that Steve has started working again, that means I am a stay-at-home mom.  Not only am I adjusting to having three kids in general, but adjusting to taking care of three kids by myself and then the house too.  After two weeks, I think it's going well.  I'm not quite Suzy Homemaker, Steve still cooks dinner at least half the time and helps with a lot of the housework.  And when he's home, he does just as much of the child care as I do.  But, I'm getting stuff done and so far, all the kids are still alive and unbruised when he gets home.  Really, I've only had a few times where I've wanted to lose it, and those are mostly when we're in a hurry to get somewhere and the kids are taking their time and Kayla is screaming and I can't help everyone at the same time.  I'm learning how to better plan enough time to get ready, even if that means I have to get up a couple hours early so I can get myself completely ready before the kids get up (and Steve is still home to help with Kayla).  We're not quite as regimented with the schedule as it they were when Steve was running the show, but it's summer, so no big deal.  I'm glad I get this period right now to adjust before school starts and we have to be at the bus stop at a specific time.

Kayla is growing like crazy!  She is now about 6 weeks old and moving out of the newborn stage.  She has really good neck strength and can hold her head up really well.  She is getting chubbier and looking less scrawny.  I'd say the best thing is that she is smiling now!  It's usually the best right after she's woken up, she'll have a ton of big, beautiful smiles.  So cute!  And the other night, she giggled!!  I've heard her make some coos like she was trying to laugh, but Tuesday night she was laying on my chest, asleep, and let out this big giggle.  So adorable. :-D  We've settled into a decent routine with her.  We've chosen to co-sleep, so it makes nights much easier.  Before we go to bed, I nurse her and get her full, then Steve takes her for the first couple hours of the night.  It's nice to get a couple hours of sleep all by myself.  Then when she wakes up to eat, I take her for the rest of the night.  It works pretty well, so we all get some good sleep!

Jason turned 2 a month ago, and oh my!  He is definitely a two year old boy!!!  It's a lot of fun to see him so exuberant and energetic, but it gets a little tough and tiring to have him running all of the place so much.  I've been saying lately that we need a new place to live, with a fenced backyard, just for him!  He loves being outside and playing and climbing and running around with his big sister.  This boy has quite the mischievous streak too.  He likes to play with stuff he's not allowed to, like the computers and cell phones and lamps and DVDs, etc.  But he's so freaking cute!  It's hard to be mad at him when he gives you that smile that melts your heart.  Something that surprised us a little bit is how much he loves Kayla. He is the sweet big brother!  He is always worried about her, wanting to hug and kiss her, asking to hold her, tries to help with her pacifier and everything.  The first words I usually hear from him are "Baby sleeping, Mama?  Baby okay, Mama?"  If he hears her cry, he gets worried and runs over to her.  In the car, she cries fairly often (this is getting better though, luckily), and he is the only one that has ever gotten her to quiet down.  He'll reach over and hold her hand and say "Kay-yah!  Kay-yah!  It's okay!"  She may not calm down completely, but she does for a minute or so when her big brother talks to her.  He also is SUCH a smarty-pants!  He knows probably 20 of the 26 letters, maybe more.  He talks so well and is asking complex and complete sentences.  Really, I think he's saying more than we realize, we just can't understand his pronunciation all the time.  It's quite a different world, from when Jilly was barely 2. He's ahead on his speech and she was quite behind, so it's fun to see him progressing so fast!

Jilly has surprised us a little too, with her adjustment to the new baby.  She is very sweet with Kayla and will hold her and want to help too, but she's not quite as excited as Jason.  She has also gotten a little needier and clingier.  This started happening right before Kayla was born and has gotten a little more intense since.  She is scared of a lot of stuff and needs someone with her when she goes to the bathroom or even back to her bedroom sometimes.  I think she just needs more from us right now, to make sure we're not forgetting about her and she's not getting pushed out.  To be honest, we expected these reactions but from the opposite kids.  I thought Jilly would be very motherly and involved with Kayla and that Jason would be more stand-offish or act out.  So it's been a little surprising.  But now that we're getting into a better routine, I can devote some more attention to Jilly and hopefully, this will pass in a while.  Jilly tells the funniest stories!  She is always talking about what is going on, then gives it her own little twist.  Sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere, but often we can tell where her inspiration has come from, like a book or TV show.  Right now she is pretty much obsessed with a Breaking Benjamin song, "I Will Not Bow".  She asks for it ALL. THE. TIME.  She squeals and jumps and dances when we turn it on for her.  I think she would listen to it on repeat for hours, if we let her.  Steve is teaching her all the different Breaking Benjamin songs and she picks up on them amazingly quickly.  We're also working with her a little bit on reading.  She knows all the letters and the sounds they make, so now we're working on sounding them out.  She can get frustrated quickly and doesn't want to focus, so we're not pushing it too hard (she's only 4 1/2!), but when she does focus, she does really well.  I think once she realizes the power of reading, she'll take right off with it and amaze us.  School starts in a few weeks and she'll be going 5 days a week for her last year of preschool.

Summer has been fun for the most part.  We try hard to get the kids outside and playing, so we go to a lot of parks.  The weather has been quite cool, which is frustrating.  We're used to the mid to high 80s consistently and we've been lucky to get into the low 70s this year!  Needless to say, we've barely been in the pool, which is a major bummer.  We're hoping August will be better.

Well, there you go.  An update on the last month or so, as we adjust to a family of five.  I need to post more about Jason's birthday, Kayla's blessing and get some pictures up.  But the baby is waking up and needs me, so those will have to wait.  Until then, my friends!