Clara is growing and changing so quickly. She was still very fussy and gassy throughout most of her third month but I think she is finally over that, hallelujah. She is becoming more and more interactive which is so much fun. She smiles pretty easily if she is rested and fed. We all love to see her many happy faces. Jake and Tess finally get to hold her and walk around on the carpet with her (picture to come) which they LOVE and can be so very helpful! Clara requires a lot of attention, her siblings have trained her, so when the rare occasion comes that it is just me she won't let me put her down for long.
At the beginning of October she started waking up more and more at night. For three and a half weeks she went from waking up twice at night and eating every five hours to eating every 2-3 hours and fussing all throughout those hours. She was worse than a newborn. I was incredibly exhausted and completely at a loss of what to do. I thought she was teething at first because her hands are constantly in her mouth and she is always wet. Dan was MIA most of this time working on the upcoming hearing so it was really all on me. Migraines were a daily occurrence. I started reading the book I Didn't Plan To Be A Witch, for help (that should give you an indication of how good of a mother I was being to the other three). After three and a half weeks I couldn't take another night of this so I made an appointment with the pediatrician and was ready to sleep-train. She got a clean bill of health from Dr. Lowe, not teething, and that night I moved the pack-n-play down to the bottom floor and spent 4 days on the couch letting her cry it out. She cried on and off for the first 2 hours and that was the worst of it. She now eats every 5 hours again and can cry herself to sleep within a few minutes if need be. With each child it takes me getting to the point of near break-down to let them cry it out but man is it so much better within days. Dan just moved Jake's bed back in with the girls so that I can have Clara in her own room and don't have to go running the moment she makes a peep. Poor Jake, he really needs his own room and some private space away from all his sisters!
Recently Dan was talking to Abby after she had done some time in "time-out". Their conversation ended like this:
Dan: Abby do you know how special you are? I saw you trying so hard today to ride your bike. You did such a good job.
Abby: Daddy, I just want people to say "yea" for me!
Dan told me this very sincere and sad comment from Abby. It touched both our hearts and was a needed reminder to give Abby more praise and affection.
So later that night Dan had the great idea to tell Abby that if she could be really reverent during family prayer we would all give her a big cheer afterwards. She was as reverent and quiet as a mouse! After the prayer we all cheered for her and her face lit up with the biggest grin I've ever seen on that adorable little girl. Then Dan continued with their bedtime routine and was reading Fabelhaven to the kids in the girls room. Abby usually is super noisy and plays all around them rather than listening to the book (she is only 3!). With the incentive of another family cheer she laid quietly in her bed the entire time.
We sure love our energetic Abigail and are trying to give her lots of "yea" cheers these days.
The past month and a half was incredibly stressful and tiring for Dan and I. Here is WHY: Danhas been preparing for a hearing in Florida where he would be testifying for the NRC in front of a very intimidating panel of judges. The kind of stress and pressure he has felt reminds me a lot of when he defended his master's thesis, only worse. He was gone 2 weeks this month on business trips preparing for the hearing. Every waking hour has been spent cramming in 3 years worth of information on this project he was barely put on a couple months ago. Crazy! I have been struggling to keep up with the kids on very little sleep thanks to Clara and all of us taking turns with sickness. I need sleep or I get migraines and have a hard time being patient or dealing with any noise! Dan's hearing was scheduled for Halloween day. Why oh why would they do that? Of course "FRANKENSTORM", aka huricane Sandy, would make landfall right when Dan would be in Florida. So, rather than staying here on my own with 4 kids with a big storm coming we decided to go to North Carolina and spend the week with Aunt Hollie and Uncle Cris. Sunday morning Dan drove us down and caught a flight out of Raleigh that night.
The kids and I had a great time playing with baby Xan, Hollie and Cris. We went to a science museum, carved a very awesome spider pumpkin at Cris's work party, dropped in on a Republican Party event to get our Romney stickers and button's, shopped at the mall, played at Rainbow Play Room, and went trick-or-treating around a shopping mall and neighborhoods. It was a really fun 5 days. I drove back on Thursday so I could make a dreaded dental appointment on Friday. Here are the few pictures I took, mostly with my iPhone.
Rainbow Play Room
Natural Science Museum
It was a very hands on, recently updated museum. We spent several fun hours there running from one cool exhibit to the next.
Awesome smiles kids!
Before trick-or-treating on Halloween
Star Wars Trooper, a cat who caught herself a cute little duck, Clifford, and Princess Mini Mouse
Cute 4 month old cousins.
A "butter-bean" and a "string-bean"
Cute baby Xan
Thanks Aunt Hollie, Uncle Cris, and baby Xan for making this Halloween fun!
Phew. So glad this month is over! Dan did a great job at the hearing and we are happy to put it behind us. Ironically Clarksburg didn't lose power but Durham, NC did. We were only without power for a couple hours. Now onto sleep-training Clara, Thanksgiving, Jake's birthday and baptism, a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Breinholt, and CHRISTMAS!!
Recently Dan's work load has been extremely heavy and we haven't seen much of him. He left after church yesterday to head to Washington for a week, he'll come home for a week and then go again for another week to Florida for the big hearing he has been preparing for. I don't envy his work load or stress level right now.
So, as I was feeling run down and frustrated with my day yesterday I was reminded of how very blessed I am. After church Tess, Abby and I made cookies to take to the Warners. It was a beautiful day so we decided to walk. Jake rode his bike and Tess ran the entire way there while I pushed Abby and Clara in the stroller. When we returned back home I stopped to say hi to a neighbor. As we talked she commented on how much she loves seeing us out doing things/playing as a family. After talking for awhile she told me she is getting a divorce. My heart immediately hurt for her and her two adorable young girls. That night as I made dinner for my kids I thought about just how grateful I am for my FAMILY. I needed to be reminded of just how lucky I am to be the tired mom of these cute kids and have a loving spouse to parent right along side me.
Our neighborhood had its annual Fall Festival. Jake was at a birthday party so Dan and I just took the girls. They loved every minute of it! Tess really wanted to get her face painted and so of course Abby followed her lead. I just have to have these cute pictures in our blog book!