Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four (ish) months

Millie had her four month checkup on Monday. She weighs 14 pounds 9 ounces. We have had some baby boys weigh that at 2 months, so it is fun to have a smaller baby for us, because she can wear cute outfits longer. She is in 3-6 month outfits, but I am pulling out the 6 month clothing we have been given.  She is growing great. The doctor was pleased with her progress.

BUT -- he found an ear infection. She has had a runny nose (thanks, James) and a grumpy night over the weekend so I suspected she could have one. But she really didn't seem bothered by it. 

(headband made by me, shirt previously worn by her Seattle cousin Kate, pants from my sister-in-law Mindy, blanket from my sister Bekah)

Every day we call her such a good baby. She is learning to fall asleep by herself. I haven't had a baby do that since Baby Benny, our Binkie Boy.  If we put her down within a certain window, she drifts off to sleep or sucks on her fingers until she's out.  But it can be hard to try and sleep-train a baby when she has attentive older brothers: "Mom, Millie is awake." And once they even brought her to me.

She also likes to nurse to sleep and also to have her bum patted to fall asleep. I think it's good to know a few different ways, otherwise you are in trouble if you are somewhere and the baby is sleepy.  On the third Sunday when I teach Relief Society, JB is often busy the third hour so other women take Millie for me and walk with her or rock her. If she's in the room I only see her and fret and worry about her and I stumble over my words.

One other note: she did a big gurgly laugh once at something Andrew did, and he has tried ever since to make that same exact noise to make her laugh again. It was some sort of fist pump and "YEEESSSS!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Swim lessons

For many moons I have said the little boys ought to have swim lessons. Finally I got them signed up. See for yourself how it is going:

Some tears the first night from Andrew: "They made me put my face in the water!" But James liked it. Though he had a hard time staying with the group and following instructions. They were supposed to walk like crocodiles on their hands through the shallow water but he marched the other way swinging his arms like a gorilla.

The next week Andrew was growing more sure of himself but James was full of tears.  I snuck this picture from my perch on the bench before going over to unwrap James's clinging arms from the teen instructor's poor neck.

They are both older than Max and Ben were when we started their swim lessons at this pool. While watching Andrew grow more confident with jumping in from the side, I had a fun flashback of Max jumping ONTO his instructor wanting to be caught instead of jumping into the water.

We go back again tonight. Anytime I bring it up, James insists he is done, while I insist he try again. I remember being 6 or 7 and hugging the side for my lessons. There were races with a floaty blue kickboard for the last day. My mom bribed me with my very own personal pan pizza if I would just GET in the water. She says I jumped right in and won the race.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Four months

Millie has found her hands and it is so cute I can't stop taking pictures of her.  For a few weeks now she has been trying out different ways to comfort herself and it is working! We have never had a baby do this.

She lately prefers the two middle fingers upside down. I hear her in her bassinet or in the back of the car sucking on them.  That's why there are so many pictures of her in her carseat doing it -- little lady has started to hate the car rides. Like, screaming hates it.

She will take a binkie though at times, which is also nice.

And tummy time does not come with screaming, unlike our last baby. Here she is eyeing toys next to cousin Spencer. She will get squirmy and unhappy if left on her tummy too long, but she can roll over when she remembers how.

She can grab stuff now, so JB's mornings are getting more challenging. He often holds her while typing with the other hand. But can I just say, he dresses her soooo cute?

Her brothers continue to be enamored with her. Ben and Max are great holders/helpers.

And Andrew loves her so much, he made her into a turkey.  His kindergarten class had an assignment to disguise a turkey -- suggestions included Superman -- and he wanted his to look like Millie. And then he cried when his teacher kept it the next day to put on the wall.

Her fourth month checkup comes after Thanksgiving, so I will update her weight and stats then, along with her official four month portrait.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Lucky 13

It is a beautiful day today in Salt Lake City: sunny, 60s. Just like it was 13 years ago on our wedding day.

Looking through the blog I have posted about this day a few times.

On our fifth anniversary, I wrote a goofy tribute (I am not sure people will get some of those references any more).

On our sixth anniversary, it snowed.

On our ninth anniversary I was early pregnant and sick and we had just taken these family pictures.

On our tenth anniversary I posted about my heart's feelings, and I could repeat it all today.

We are both often very tired and pulled in many directions. Five children, jobs and church callings will do that. But I can say he makes me laugh or smile about something every day. He is always looking to lift my burdens and I always try to do the same for him. It is a good life!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Basketball getting serious

Max's former Junior Jazz basketball coach invited him to be on the  "Super League" team he was forming this fall. This was great news to our tall boy who wants to play in high school, college, and the NBA.

When they started practicing, many of the boys were still doing football, so 8-year-old Ben practiced with them for an extra body.  He was holding his own, so the coach said, why not have him play in the games with them, too? By the way I say no to football for our boys. Too dangerous.

They got official uniforms and warm up shirts and a team name and everything.

Their very first game was in a tournament last Friday, and they got creamed. 48 to 10. Their second game that night was also bad. JB was with them while I was with our other children at the ward Halloween party.  He said all the boys on the team were very dejected afterward.  They were used to dominating on their junior jazz teams, but now this is serious stuff, with well-oiled machine teams and confident, skilled players.

Saturday's game was better. I went to that one while JB was at the U game. They were within one point in the second half and ended up losing by 8 or 9, but they all felt much happier about their efforts. I really like their coach's encouragement that they will get better as the season progresses and they practice much more together and at home.

JB and I feel disappointment and hardship is good for kids. How else will they learn?  It was hard to see them so sad after those bad losses.  But this (we hope) will build resilience and a feeling that they can do hard things and they can improve if they work hard.

By the way, practices are at the coach's church building, which has an awesome nursery FULL of toys. I found a My Little Pony from my youth.  JB often takes the big boys to practice and watches them and helps. When I go, I take the little kids into the nursery and text pictures to my family.

One picture from that series when she's asleep in my arms made it onto Instagram. Her cheeks were so squishy.

The boys play in another tournament after Thanksgiving, so, keep your fingers crossed for them!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wednesday night adventures

I am glad that we live just blocks from our ward building and the stake center. I grew up making long drives to and from.  But two locations and two times for scouts right at bedtime is pretty rough. Especially with JB in Bishop meetings.

They have been riding their bikes, but now it is too dark for that. So here's how last night went down.

6PM - Dropped Max off at boy scouts at the stake center down the street.

7PM - Ben went with JB to our church bldg up the street for his cub scouts and for JB's meetings, while I took pajama-clad other kids with me to pick up Max.

Read books, brushed teeth, said prayers and tucked little boys in bed at 7:30.

Started nursing hungry baby

At 7:59:30 I shoved a crying Millie into Max's arms and ran to the car and drove up and ran into the church to get Ben. We came back and I parked, and started running back into the house when I tripped on the sidewalk and went flying. Knee scraped like back in 2nd grade. Scrambled up and into the house and scooped up the baby and she spit up all over my shoes.

8:30 big boys in bed and mom and baby in bed nursing together. Knee stings but everyone is happy again.

This morning I am resolved to reach out to other scout moms for carpooling help. I can't do that again.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trick or Treating

We had to have James wear the green dragon costume for pictures. He is the fourth boy to wear it! Just like four boys wore the smaller red dragon costume (which I have now passed on to my brother Peter).

I thought this was a cool angle I took with my Iphone. And can I just get a hallelujah for a great picture-taking session? Everybody smiled and nobody tried to scream their way out of the shot! 

Andrew used his light saber he got at his cousin's Star Wars birthday party. Ben was a ninja hunter (I made that vest with special slots for nerf gun darts), and Max was Gordon Hayward. We (JB) had just finished carving those pumpkins.

After the pictures with pink Love-a-Lot CareBear Millie calmly laying in the grass, looking around, Max picked her up -- but I had forgotten that Ben had asked me in the house if he could hold her. So he has his arm around Max below.

 And then it was his turn to hold her.

I fully recommend, even if it is a quick conversation, talking before-hand about Halloween night plans and expectations. This was one of the smoothest nights of trick-or-treating that we have had.  Max and Ben arranged to go trick-or-treating with two friends, and we told them all the rules of boundaries, safety, and manners and when to be home. I got feedback that they did very well. They also hit every single house they could within the given radius, and had very full pillowcases when they returned. Ben counted something like 150 pieces I think. Oh boy.

I took the little kids for the first round, and pushed the double stroller with water bottles and jackets piled on it. A thirsty, cold Richards is an angry Richards. And James hopped in between houses, so I kept chuckling to myself as I wheeled my three-year-old right to the doorsteps. Only in America can a child get a free ride door to door to get free candy. Then when Millie was thirsty and cold I switched with places with JB. And we were all in bed about a half-hour after normal bedtime.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The long Halloween

We seemed to celebrate for a while, first with Frightmares at Lagoon in October. It's always so fun, but it was really crowded this year with the great weather.

But then we had bad weather Friday night for our ward's Trunk or Treat and chilli cookoff. So people set up in the classrooms and the kids went door-to-door inside. The big boys were at a basketball tournament with JB (more about their new team in a later post), and I took the little boys and baby girl with me.

Andrew was a Jedi again and so happy to have a light saber with him.  James wanted to be Batman and wear all three capes we own over his Batman shirt.  He found another Batman with muscles. Our Batman muscle costume (courtesy a co-worker!) is way too big for him still.

The boys' favorite each year is Cookie Monster.

There was also a slime machine, and really good chili.

Monday morning came the Halloween parade and class parties at school. It was an early out day for good reason.  JB and two of my friends sent me pictures from the 9 AM parade at the school while I was in my story assignment meeting.

It was like I was there, but without the crowds and chaos and music.  I just missed giving my boys a wave as they walked by. JB is such a good sport! It can be craziness there.

Millie's first Halloween

My co-worker gave me a lot of girl clothes in the spring, and I was so happy to see a little pink Care Bear Halloween costume inside! I tried it on her the first cold day of early October. It is 0-3 months size, and I was afraid it wouldn't fit on Halloween.

I had both a bow and a bonnet on her (funny mom).

She grew a bit taller after that, and at the Ward Halloween party on Friday night I had trouble buttoning it all the way.

But JB managed it the morning of Halloween when he took her to the school parade.

During the month, I also dressed her in orange and black.  My sister-in-law Collette's sister gave me the best set of bows in like 14 colors, and so she wore the orange one a few times. One of the pink shades is in the above picture.

The orange-red jacket is from my sister-in-law Bethany's daughter Kate, and the skirt is from my neighbors' girls.  We matched for Sunday.

On Instagram I wrote "Matchy matchy orange squared." I also thought of saying "Orange is the new pink."  I do see us matching for holidays for a while, tee hee.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A scare

The very day that I posted something on Facebook about our fourth boy being known as "Angry Richards," he was almost seriously hurt if not killed. And possibly Maxwell as well.

Every time I think about it I start to cry.

On Saturday afternoon I was with all the kids at the big boys' basketball game at Jordan High School. After, we were walking back to the minivan through the parking lot, and about a row away from our parking stall, when I used the key to open both sliding doors.  James ran forward to get into his spot.....and did not see the car.

It was an electric car, so I didn't hear it coming, and I didn't see it because of the parked cars to my left. But Max saw.

He jumped forward to grab James, and that car -- coming up fast, I thought -- slammed on the brakes. It stopped inches from Max. He leaned out of the way and put his hand down on the hood to steady himself.

I screamed.

James came running back to me and I scooped him up shaking. The man was a dad to another basketball player on another team. He came up and said he honestly did not see James at all, and pointed out the skidding marks on the ground.

I apologized, too, for our 3 year old running out into his way, and then I grabbed Max and gave him a big hug. The man then left, and we kept walking to our van.

I got them all buckled in and I just started to sob.

The sweetest teenage girl came up to me standing there by the open sliding door and said, "Are you ok? I saw that! I don't have kids and it scared me, too. Do you need a hug?"

I grabbed her and sobbed my mascara off onto her cute cream shirt. She patted my back as I calmed down. She said, "I hope you have a good rest of your day" and then she left.

Sure James can be challenging with his behavior and his 3 year old tantrums. But he's OURS and in an instant he could have been gone.  I think the guy couldn't see him but did see taller Max so that's why he slammed on the brakes.

I sometimes have to tell Max to stop bossing his brothers because he's not their parent. But what would have happened if he wasn't being like a parent in watching out for his younger brother?  What if Max had been hurt in saving James?

See, crying again.

I have said many prayers of thanks since then....and many prayers for continued safety in the future.