Sunday, July 22, 2012

... of three months... and one day

Yesterday was an insano pants day.  I'm not sure where I came up with that term, but I find myself using it a lot these days.  So we'll go with it.  Anyway, since today is Selah's three month birthday, this post should have been written yesterday.  But, alas, that did not happen.  So now we are on the verge of three months and one day.  

Here is the three month update:

Date: July 22, 2012

Weight: Went in for a visit about acid reflux last Wednesday and she was 11.5 lbs.

Clothing size: Snuggly in 3 mo.

Feedings per day: 5/6, depending on the day

Night sleeping: Still really great, praise God.  I guess she might be sleeping so well at night because she naps so little during the day.  If I had to choose one or the other, I guess I'm glad we have good night sleep.  

Naps: So it's been over a month of tough napping. We'll have a few great days with long naps and a predictable schedule and then a few hard days of only 45 minute naps and lots of overtireness.  Thankfully, when she gets overtired she doesn't cry.  She only cries if she is awake in her room and doesn't want to be alone.  We are working on that...

New skills: Cooing.  It's been happening all this month, but she's getting more variety in her sounds.  She likes to make the "ooo" sound with her tongue rolled and stuck out.  It's pretty funny.

Favorite thing: Mommy and Daddy's faces and high pitched baby talking :)

Least favorite thing: Waking up in the middle of a nap and finding she is alone.  

Potential Personality traits: She still doesn't smile a ton just randomly.  We have to work for those smiles, but they are pretty big when we get them.  She also gets startled fairly easily.  She doesn't seem to like being held a lot.  She doesn't really like to snuggle.  Every time she is burped in the "traditional" way she only wants to stay there long enough to get the burp out and then she starts thrashing around.  The only time she sleeps on our shoulder is if she is asleep already.  I am hoping this is not a potential personality trait, because Abram is definitely not a snuggler and I was really hoping that baby girl would be.  
Brother/Sisterness: Abram is more interested in pointing things out on Selah's clothes and face than he really is in her at this point.  They don't actually have a ton of interaction during the day because she is "sleeping" so much and he takes a 3 hour naps in the middle of the day.  He has gotten a little upset when Quinn has tried to hold them at the same time.  But overall he does really well with her, offering to share things and giving her a kiss before bedtime every night.


I hope to have more updates soon on an improved daytime sleeping scenario.  We have less than two weeks in this house and then she won't be able to have a very stable routine, so I was hoping to get her internal clock more programmed before that happened.  But maybe God knows that that would actually make it harder and He is preparing us all for the unpredictability of travel.  Only time will tell!!

Happy three months, Sell Bell.  We love you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

... of a resemblance

I was just thinking today how Selah was looking less and less like Abram.  She is definitely chunkier. She went to the doctor yesterday and weighed 11.5 - that's a 1.5 lb gain in 4 weeks.  Not too shabby.

Anyway, I decided to go through the archives of Abram photos to see if she looks like he did at the same age.  This is what I found:

Granted, I chose one where Abram was making a Selah face, because she's not as expressive as he was at that age.  And She is three months and he was almost four.  But I'm thinking there's still a bit of a resemblance :)  They have their own unique characteristics, for sure, but I think they are assuredly siblings!

On a side note, Selah's napping has gotten a lot better.  So far the only schedule we have to speak of is usually she goes to sleep at 8 and wakes up sometime in the night (between 2 and 4) and wakes up for the day at 8ish.  The naps and feedings during the day are starting to fall into a kind of routine, but nothing to be able to count on just yet.  But we've had, maybe four good days in a row and almost a week of 8:00 bed times, regardless of what the day looked like. That's a feat and I think that qualifies as official progress!  Thanks for all of your prayers and comments.  They have been so encouraging and much needed.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

... of cranial explosion

It is much harder to move out of the country than one would imagine.  I don't know, maybe you have imagined that it would be hard, but I had this delusion that we would sell everything, pack up some suitcases,  fly across the ocean and that would be it.  Not so much (or little, in this case).

The selling stuff is time consuming enough.  It got me started thinking about when Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all of his possessions, give it to the poor, and follow Him and the man walked away sad because "he was one who owned much property".  I always thought that he was sad because he loved all that property so much that he didn't want to part with it.  And maybe that was the case, but I've started to think that maybe he walked away sad because he knew he just didn't have it in him to go through the insane process that would be selling all that property.  Maybe he was thinking about how many garage sales he would have to have in order to get a good amount of money for all that property so that he could give as much as possible to the poor.  And maybe he dreaded all of trips he would have to make to kids resale shops to see if he could get more than $.50 for any item of his children's clothing, only to be told that they weren't buying the exact ages and seasons of clothes that were in the three large bags he had just hauled in. Maybe he was overwhelmed by the thought of ebay and craigslist.  Maybe he knew how discouraging and brain frying and annoying that would be and he knew he just couldn't do it.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

If he did, I can sure sympathize with him.

However, it's not just the selling stuff.  It's the list of other things that you never realized you would need to do in order to move out of the United States including:
-Passports for babies
-Authenticating documents (marriage license, birth certificates, diplomas) at the state level
-Authenticating documents at the federal level
-Authenticating documents at the embassy for the destination country
-Applying for a work visa
-Readying bank accounts
-Property rental agreements
-Power of attorney
-Guardianship of children
-Air travel
-Trip insurance

Even the selling stuff and the paperwork might not be all that overwhelming, but add a non-napping, gassy, and refluxing infant and a toddler who has learned how to whine and say no at the same time and you've got yourself a fine little nervous break-down in the making.

By the grace of God, I will be alive and my head will be in tact on August 4th when we are officially out of our house.  And I will live through visiting five states in two months with said children.  And we will get off the plane on the other side in a few short months and a whole new set of challenges will begin, I'm sure.  But He will see me through and will continually remind me that He is completely worth a little brain frying.  Maybe my brain needs a little frying so that I will stop relying on it so much and start relying on Him.  

Just maybe.

Here are a few recent photos of my difficult, wonderful, adorable children (and their handsome daddy):
Daddy and Selah.
Daddy and Abram playing "inai inai baa" (Japanese peek-a-boo) that our friend taught him the other day.
Now he walks around the house playing it with himself at random times and I just hear, "inai inai, inai inai... BAA!!"

Using any tactic I can to keep a busy toddler busy while I clean out and organize the bathroom.

Barricading us in with water jugs.

Checking each other out.

The collection of sticks Abram gathered on our walk around the block yesterday.

Relaxing in the swing we borrowed from a friend for Selah and gave back today.  He just hung out in it and swung quietly stroking his hair for at least 10 minutes.  Sweet, big boy :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

... of turning over a new leaf?

Where did that phrase come from, anyway...?

Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers in response to the post yesterday.  It seems that God is answering them already!  Last night, after a lavender bedtime bath, she went down with only 10 minutes of a little bit of fussing at 7:00pm and she slept until Quinn fed her a bottle around 11:00!  So my wonderful friends who came over to be a man on man defense only had to "defend" against one sleepy toddler for about an hour.  He was already in his PJs (he asked for me to put them on when I got them out of the dryer at around 5:00) and he apparently he essentially asked to go to bed a little before 8.  So then my wonderful friends got to visit with each other and eat chocolate until we came home a little before 10.

It was a really good night with Quinn.  We ended up going to Hula Hut on the river.

Then we got to take a nice long walk back to the car in the rain and ended the night with a piece of pie and some decaf at Magnolia Cafe.  We tried not to talk too much about the kids or our list of things that needs to get done for our move and travels, but it was sort of impossible.  We did do a lot of reminiscing about Austin and our relationship and that was awesome.
Love this man and the gift from the Lord that he is to me.

Today has been an amazing sleeping day for Selah, so far.  She does this sometimes and then the next day is hard.

Like this was the other day when I pretty much couldn't wake her up/keep her awake.


Or she'll be good in the morning and then the afternoon is hard.  Like, she is battling the 45 minute intruder right now and she's not good at putting herself back to sleep yet.  So we'll see how it goes.  

My new trick is lavender.  I'm going to do the bath every night (up until this point, she's maybe had two baths a week), but it seems to help. And I'm using lavender hand lotion on my hands before I put her to sleep for naps. Only done it once, seemed to work, so another we'll see...

 From awake time today.

Thanks again, friends.  Your responses have been so kind.  I'll keep you posted :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

... of crying it out

*There are pictures in this post.  They are just all smooshed in at the end*

There is something pretty major happening in our lives right now.  I haven't written about it here yet because I wasn't really sure how to address it.  I wanted to give it the thought that it deserved and make sure that I was presenting it in the most honest way.  Now I find myself with barely enough time to take a shower, much less process through a well thought out blog post.  So here is a quick and candid explanation of our future:
Our family will be moving to the Middle East this fall.  We will be joining some friends who already live over there with their three kids.  Many of you know the details.  Some of you may be hearing this for the first time.  For time reasons, I'm not going to go into them here.  If you want to know more about our plans and intentions, email me!  It may be a quick response, or it may be an offer to put you on our email newsletter list to keep you up to date, but I will get back to you.  I'd love to share with you the calling God has placed on our lives to follow Jesus across the ocean.  anaka.smith(at)gmail(dot)com.

So, basically, we have been very busy in this house for quite some time.  Now it is getting down to the end.  Quinn is quitting his job at the end of July and we will be taking two full months to travel to visit friends and family and raise support and then leaving at the end of October, Lord willing.  God provided some friends of ours to rent our house for an extended period of time, which has been a blessing.  However, they have a baby that's due the day after their official move in date.  So while we are trying to sell all of our earthly possessions (minus whatever we need that can fit into about 6 large suitcases), we are also trying to move as much of their stuff into the house as possible, just in case their baby is early.  In addition to moving, literally, everything out to the garage and pricing it in preparation for our 6th and 7th garage sales the last two weeks of July, I am trying to just keep up with dishes and laundry and basic house stuff.  Oh, and pack up anything we want to store long term at my sister's house.  

On top of all that, my beautifully easy newborn baby girl as turned into an impossible to put to sleep infant.  I am struggling with wanting to ask God why he decided to make it work out this way. And in my head I know that a)He doesn't owe me an answer and b)I better get used to it, because things are going to be "hard" until we go home to Jesus.  But about every 5-7 days this past month, I've had a blood vessel popping cry as I listen to Selah cry and I am reminded about all the things that I need to be doing instead of doing everything I can to put a baby/keep a baby asleep, not the least of which is pay any sort of attention to her big brother, who has taken to saying no to everything and having sporadic whining fits.  

Today was one of those days.  Quinn and I are supposed to be going on a date for our anniversary (which was almost a month ago) tonight while two of our friends man the crazy kid factory that is our house.  However, Selah has had just a bad napping day, which leads to over tiredness, which leads to difficult/late bedtime and I'm not sure I want to hand that over to my friends while I go have a margarita.  The truth is that I really need that margarita.  And I need that date with my husband.  And these friends are such good friends that they would spend all night rocking a baby if they had to so that I could do those things.  So I think we will go no matter what and just pray that it goes well for everyone involved.  

Anyway, I sat here on the couch on the phone with Quinn bawling for about 10 minutes, poor guy.  Selah was crying the hardest she probably every has in her crib since I had to put her down pre-asleep because I was about to loose it. So we were both crying (thankfully Abram was sleeping).  I hung up with Quinn, who was going to get his friend so they could pray about us, and I prayed.  I've prayed a lot recently.  A LOT.  Many different prayers.  And God has answered some of them permanently, some temporarily.  But I just prayed for peace.  

And he gave it to me.  

And at the exact moment that I stopped crying and calmed down, Selah stopped crying and fell asleep.

It seems that we both just needed to cry it out.  

Oh, and at that exact moment Abram woke up laughing and I caught a glimpse of God's sense of humor.

Enough talking.  Let's have some pictures.

Power washing the driveway with Daddy.

Daddy's  driveway "art" 

New favorite toy: cans of ravioli

Meeting Great Grandpa and Grandma Ward for the first time.

Uncle Eric and Fenway

Aunt Liest and Grammy


Grandpa, Nana, and Selah

At least she's cute :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

...of defiance

Up until this point in his life, whenever Abram didn't want something or didn't want to do something, he just shook his head.  When he did want something he would nod his head - sometimes.  He hadn't really gotten the hang of yes and no and he's almost 20 months old.  He could tell you all of the letters in the alphabet (except "J", for some reason...), but he couldn't tell you "yes" or "no".

That is until a few days ago.  All of a sudden, a very clear and defiant "NO" has finally been added to my son's vocabulary.

At first, it was pretty cute.  He is very purposeful in forming his "o" with his mouth.  Almost like he's kissing.  "Noh".  I would giggle a little.  

The first day.

Then I regretted that giggle.  One cute "no" every once in awhile, turned into a repetitive "NOO! NOO! NOO!" every other minute in response to everything we said very quickly.  

Uh oh. 
Did I mention he's also addicted to his pacies, which we only (technically) let him have in his bed?
This is why he didn't want to get out of his crib.

That was a small example in which he toned it down right when I turned the camera on.  Imagine this one "no" being repeated over and over as he bounced up and down in his crib, happily juggling three pacies.

And he still won't say "yes" without prompting.  But we are working on that.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

... of catching up

Sorry it's been so long, loyal blog followers (read: grandparents). Things have been extra special hectic around the Smith home the last few weeks as we prepared for the first of three large garage sales in which we are trying to sell 99% of everything we own. I promise to explain the reason for this at some point in the very near future, I just have to find the time to sit down and really give that explanation the time and thought that it needs. I do realize that I mostly write as if I am only updating grandparents, but the truth is that I am now just over 20,000 views on my blog! For the professionals, that isn't that big of a number, but for an amateur like me, that's a lot. And even though my kids do have three sets of grandparents who are loyal blog followers, I do not imagine that they have visited this site 20,000 times combined. So I want to make sure that I share the plans for our future in the best way possible, since it's going to be a really big thing for us, and not approach it with the non-chalant, late night, rambliness the likes of which you are about to experience.

With that said, this is really just a post to share a large amount of pictures from the last few weeks/today. So here goes:
Abram helping me go through my closet in preparation for the garage sale.  His favorite task was lining up my shoes over and over again in different parts of the room.

A few of the 22 bug bites that I got on my legs alone from preparing for the garage sale on Friday night.  I am a magnet.
Abram hanging out with Obie, who ran away one night and appeared in the garage 24 hours later.  We have to find a new home for this amazing cat in the next 4 weeks and it's breaking my heart that it doesn't look like we are going to be able to find one. If we can get him into a shelter, that may be what has to happen, but we may not even be able to get a shelter to take him, since they are all full (Austin is no-kill now).  Praying about a solution...
Smiles from the lovely Selah lady, who is much chubbier than her brother was at this age.  It's amazing what an abundant milk supply will do for a baby!
Looking uber-girly.  The headband and skirt didn't make it too long before they came off (for practical/heat reasons).
Playing with Daddy at one of our favorite restaurants, The Frisco Shop.  

My mom has been in town for almost a week being her wonderful self.  She is such an amazing mom and Nana and is always willing to hold a baby or play with a kiddo.  And when she's not doing that she's doing laundry or doing the dishes or making lunch or doing the household things that I have never had the time/motivation to do.  She is SO awesome that she even volunteered to ride squished in between two car seats on our way to San Antonio last night.  We went to visit my sister for her birthday and the 4th and required an entire carload of stuff just to stay overnight with two kids.  

We went swimming at my sister's pool today and Abram loooooved it.  He hadn't been in an actual pool since we brought him to her pool last summer.  Here are some of the highlights:

Preparing to swim by eating Kix - he wasn't really swimming so that's ok, right?

Selah in her cute little hand me down swim suit from Miss Elliot (thanks, Shanda!) 

Spinning and splashing.

I only dipped Selah's toes in the baby pool water, which was a little chilly.  She seemed ok with it, but it was a little cold for me, so we just hung out and watched the boys.

I think she may look more like Quinn than Abram did/does... maybe...


 Then we headed back to the house for naps and grilling.  Quinn made his famous Hawaiian sliders, complete with bacon, pineapple, and sweet and sour sauce on a Hawaiian Sweet Roll.  They are too good. And I made cookies based on this recipe.
I did spice cake and vanilla pudding with cream cheese frosting with red and blue sprinkles.  Very festive and very yummy.

There's something wrong with this scenario.  Fenway knows it.

Hanging out with Nana before heading back home.

Talking in between hunger cries on the car ride back to Austin.  Whenever she starts cooing in her car seat Abram says: "Seyah talk!"  He knows how to make the "l" sound, but for some reason it doesn't translate into her name.  Kind of like how he definitely knows "p", but "up" is always "uma"  ...?...

There ya go.  All caught up.  I mean, there's a lot that's happened, obviously.  So much so that my camera has not been at the ready like it usually is.  I've got some cute videos I'll try and post soon, too.  Not tonight. Tonight I am going to unpack our bag of craziness and wait for Quinn to come home with a hopefully asleep baby.  Her new pattern is to have two good nights in a row where she goes to bed easy and at a decent hour and then to have one night where she gets overtired somehow (sometimes our fault) and then will not fall asleep despite all of our best efforts. A 15 minute car ride usually does the trick.  We don't want her to get used to it, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, am I right?!

So good night.  I hope to be back sooner this time.  Hope you had a happy 4th!