Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Heart Math: Dalton is making valentines.

Ok I had 29 and here's two more so 30. 29 and count 2 more. 29, 20, 30.

Me: ..... Hahahaha!

[No comments] For Such a Time as This: Esther 4:14... [W]ho knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

In December 2011 I found out at 14 weeks that the baby I was carrying no longer had a heartbeat. While difficult at the time, this was not one of the major trials of my life and it wasn't much later than I wondered if I was given this experience to help others through it. In the past couple weeks, I was again reminded of this as many people asked me for advice helping a friend who'd miscarried, or wanted to talk about their experience with me. I heard from somewhere this scripture in Esther and it jumped out in my mind again as a reminder that my experiences can, and should, be used to help others.

Once again, I think people approached me about this because I am willing to talk about it. Sometimes we just need a listening ear, or an empathetic friend.

[No comments] Two Months: Arthur is already 2 months old! He has learned how to smile, roll both ways, push his chest off the floor, and coo. He has NOT learned to drink out of a bottle, despite dozens of attempts. He sleeps 4-6 hours at a time at night, usually waking twice. We're just working on getting him in bed earlier. Everyday he sleeps longer not in my arms, plays better on the floor, or spends more time happy in his swing. He's not very smiley, but he is very curious and sweet.

Zombie Mom: Literally praising the Lord for the two hours sleep I just got. In my bed, thankyouverymuch. Babies sure do mess with you.

(Arthur still normally wakes up twice, or even once, but has had a really rough couple nights. Vaccines?)

Good Boy: Arthur was obviously not feeling well today. He didn't eat well all day and threw up/spit up most of what he did eat, immediately. He was good at Knott's Berry Farm and in the car, but once we got home he basically fussed the rest of the evening. Finally around 8 I got him to nurse well with no spitting up, and go to sleep for good. (In fact, he slept until 2:15, which is leaning towards typical now, and awesome!)

His rough evening made me appreciate what a good baby he normally is, even if he wants me to hold him all day. He's especially good in the mornings, when he gets lots of chill time on the floor, listening to his siblings. And I don't really mind snuggling him down for an afternoon nap.

2015: Maggie was baptized, and learned to ice skate, ride a bike and multiply.
Dalton started kindergarten.
Sienna got her own social life with "pee-school", potty trained, became a big sister, and turned on to the good side of spunk.
I grew and birthed a baby, and made our Halloween costumes.
John worked a lot, organized our annual Flashlight Easter Egg hunt and our Christmas service project, and worked hard at his Gospel Doctrine calling.
Arthur learned how to roll over. (That's it, still waiting for smiles!)

We made dozens of Disneyland trips, and spent 9 days at Disney World. We got to go to Utah in the summer for a change and enjoy time with family, Lagoon, and the great outdoors. We interacted with penguins, dolphins, and beluga whales. We bought a van. We spent lots of time at the beach (but not enough, I think), lots of time at the pool, and really a lot of time in the hot tub. We did a lot of hiking and family walks, now bike rides (thanks Santa!) The kids took a little gymnastics, then roller skating and ice skating for Maggie, and tennis for both in the fall.

It's been a busy, eventful year. I'm expecting things to be more laid back next year, with four kids, no plans for the kids' activities and a very low-key vacation planned. We also plan to go to Utah twice, but everyone knows that doesn't count as a vacation. I do hope to get to the beach more. We'll see how that goes with a baby.

Fat, Tired, and In Pain: I went to the doctor this morning. Apparently I haven't even lost 20 pounds. Only 45 to go! Of course, before I left I was thinking how I'm not even worried about that because all-the-reasons-I-was-at-the-doctor. On the bright side, Arthur (who woke me up six times last night) slept through the doctor and a very relaxing Target shopping trip. John took the kids to Sea World so it's just the two of us. Hoping to run some more errands, or maybe get a nice nap together.

Arthur at 1 Month: It's already been 1 month since Arthur made his entrance in our lives. This morning he projectile vomited so much milk, it came out his nose. So we'll start with that.

He is still sleeping well in his crib at night, usually waking twice. This seems like I should be less tired than I am, but I'm not. I think the odd night where he wakes up four times, or stays up for two hours keeps me in sleep debt. Luckily, John is home enough to keep me from losing it. Arthur doesn't like to be put down much during the day (even for naps), but he has more happy-lying-here time every day. Sometimes he'll lie there for an hour while I get stuff done. Still loves being swaddled. A good swaddle and a walk around the room will put him to sleep if he's tired.

He rolls from tummy to back. He's been doing this since his first tummy time around 1 week, which is crazy! All our babies have been strong and had good head support but not like this. He is the joy of his sisters' lives. Sienna adores him, brings him toys and blankies, and I have had to employ Maggie as a babysitter for the sole purpose of making sure Sienna doesn't smother him with love.

Silent Night: I didn't get enough Christmas Carol singing this season, probably because I haven't been to church since Thanksgiving. Silent Night is not one of my favorite songs, but it gained some meaning for me this year. This phrase "Shepherds quake at the sight" stood out to me. Can you imagine being a witness to the Savior's birth? Actually seeing the baby Jesus? I would be quaking, too. How amazing and wonderful. The scene where Mr. Kruger imagines this is John's favorite.

I don't understand everything in the third verse, but it made for something beautiful and interesting to ponder while I'm snuggling my own newborn child of God.

Silent Night, Holy Night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

Need More Sleep: Arthur might have slept well the first half of the night, but we were up arguing with Maggie who was throwing up. And then he was up for 5-8 his second time. Just when I thought the world might implode, everyone went hiking, I slept for two hours with a baby on my arm in a quiet house, and John brought me back a donut and a pina colada bowl. I can make it through another day.

Knott's Merry Farm: For Christmas, we bought Leonard, Sumana, Rachel and Brett tickets to Knott's Berry Farm. We thought an activity like that would be fun as a family, plus we're all adults and can buy whatever we want, so stuff Christmas gifts aren't as fun. Sadly, the weather apps failed us and it was indeed raining when we got there, and the entire morning. We got wet and the kids wanted to go home when we went to get lunch. Luckily, after one more shower, it started dying out and the sun even came out. We started to watch the 2 minute snowfall in Ghost Town and had churro sundaes and giant ice cream cookiewiches. So overall it was a success.

We got to see Snoopy Santa, the big kids got to do some roller coasters, and John even took Sienna off by herself to do some Nenna rides with daddy. I got to go on a roller coaster for the first time in quite a while (maybe since I snuck my pregnant belly on mine train at WDW?) I went on Pony Express, where you actually sit on a pony and goon the roller coaster. Which is hilarious and also kind of awesome.

We got annual passes for next year so we'll get to go back, and I think everyone else had a fun day overall, too.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!: Over the past few years, "my brother is coming!" has become synonymous with "it's almost Christmas!" in the way that a snowfall might (somewhere else). My brother is coming today!

Sleep: It's All Relative: Yesterday I took a nap, sort of, for about an hour. I was snuggling Arthur. Maggie and Dalton were home, downstairs playing nicely. I was texting various people, and taking phone calls from Walgreens about my prescription. So it wasn't like I lay down in a quiet room and slept soundly for an hour. But when I got up I was amazingly refreshed. I was actually amazed at the difference.

Last night I got up twice with Arthur, not unusual. He woke up at 11:45 for a little over an hour, and 4:15 for about 45 minutes. Since I went to be (and fell sound asleep) at 8:30 and didn't get up until 7:30, I apparently got 9 hours of sleep! Again, I felt great all morning (it eventually wore off and I had to make do with a 20 minute nap before Arthur woke up). A little sleep can work wonders.

Arthur is a pretty good sleeper most of the time. A newborn that only wakes twice in the night is awesome. Two nights ago he woke up four times, so it's no guarantee, but when three consecutive hours of sleep is a blessing, I'll take it! He likes to be held a lot during the day and I can usually only get him to let me put him down for one long nap (which is why I often end up holding him while I nap).

Speaking of Arthur, he has amazingly rolled off his tummy every time I've put him there, maybe five times. He pulls onto his side from is back too. No leaving this one unattended! He's also started making adorable "ah!" sounds.

Asleep, Asleep: Today I left the house by myself with all four kids. I've hardly even had all four at home with me because John's been helping, and they've been gone a lot (school, and play dates for Sienna). But the kids all had dentist appointments after school so I dragged us all. And Arthur slept in his car seat the entire two hours.

Sienna was reluctant to open her mouth, but eventually overcame her shyness and let the hygienist clean her teeth with the rotating brush and everything. She got a Cinderella toothbrush out of the deal.

Everyone also got dragged to Maggie's piano recital. Maggie did wonderful, especially on the song she'd only been practicing for a week. Arthur slept through the whole thing. Sienna wasn't as crazy as I thought she might be. She didn't have a nap because she went to Disney on Ice (Frozen) with a bunch of her little friends today. One of the moms who was there saw me at the recital and complimented her behavior. She's definitely better behaved than a lot of kids!

Why and Because: Sienna is a little confused about the why and how of things. If you ask her why she is doing something, she'll repeat that she's doing it, as an explanation. Like so.

Why are you wet?
Because I'm all wet!

Why are your pants inside out?
Because they're inside out!

Why did the bear eat all the muffins?
Because he ate all the muffins.

You get the idea.

I Do What I Must: I've been having a rougher recovery with Arthur. Sore, no matter how little I try to do, and bored from doing so little. Then a friend reminded me that I have narcotics. Today was much better! I did whatever I wanted and actually got a lot done around the house, and took a pain-free walk around the neighborhood.

For his part, Arthur has been waking twice a night and taking one long nap during the day. And so have I.

Never Wake a Sleeping Baby: And then the pediatrician said, "are you waking him up to feed him?" And I was like, "are you freaking kidding me?"

Arthur at 1 Week: Arthur had his one week appointment with the pediatrician this morning. He's gained 12 ounces since we left the hospital! He's now 8 lb 13 ounces and such a good eater. He wakes up about three times/ night and refuses to go back to sleep for one of them. On average. Hard to say since it's only been a week! John being home a few mornings this week so I could get some sleep helped immensely.

Most of the time, he's either asleep or happy. He hasn't minded the two car trips we took, or his one bath, but he cries during diaper changes. Even the time he refuses to go back to sleep in the night he is usually pretty mellow, but last night he fussed for most of it.

Feeding him is less painful than I remember with the others. We're doing a bottle once a day and I think he's already had more from a bottle than Dalton and Sienna combined. Overall, he's a great baby so far.

Peace and Pain: I'm not sure I've ever known the luxury of nursing a newborn while the toddler took a NAP. Sienna and her awesome napping skills, combined with an exhausting play date she went on this morning. My other kids are playing at the neighbor's, so the house is quiet.

Luxury is relative though. Getting a newborn to latch while Sienna was barking at me and while trying to give Dalton verbal directions to find the socks he wanted in a giant pile, ranks among my most painful parenting moments.

R is for Salad:
Dalton: what does that say? (Pointing to a bottle of ranch dressing)
Me: it says "salad dressing."
Dalton: so you can't sound out "salad" because it starts with an R.

It's like all your parenting lies get exposed when your kid learns how to read.

First Night: I recently read about our first night home from the hospital with Dalton and how terrible it was. The first night home with Arthur was also pretty bad. John held him while I took a nap from 8-10 pm and I was up after that until about 3:30. He ate, spit up, pooped, ate again, fussed whenever I put him down, and then around 1:30 entered crying for no reason mode. This is the first time I think I've ever prayed for half an hour of sleep. But I got it! I slept from about 2-2:30 and after that feeding, he finally settled down for a few hours.

The next day he basically slept from 9 am until 11 am the next day. His second night he woke up every two hours to eat, but that was totally doable after the precious night.

Newborn slee habits aside, Arthur is the sweetest thing. He doesn't have his eyes open much, but he did have some restful alertness today and enjoys listening to his brother, sisters, and daddy talk.

Ironically, I am up writing this because our third night is looking more like our first. Oh well.

First Four Kids Fail: Minutes after John walked out the hospital door to pull up the van, Sienna fell off the chair in the lobby and hit her head on the wall. I was sitting in a wheelchair holding Arthur and couldn't even get her. Luckily the "grandma" nurse was good enough for some hugs for her.

Baby Boy Birth Story: I really wanted to go into labor on my own with baby #4. Other than that wish being granted, this birth was very similar to the others. I could tell for the previous couple days that I was dilating and things were moving along. Stronger contractions etc. I woke up at 2:30 Black Friday morning feeling like I was having constant painful contractions. I timed a few at 4 minutes, then we headed out to the hospital. My awesomest neighbor came to stay with the kids.

By the time we got to the hospital (3:30 ish) my contractions were really hurting. Luckily I was dilated to a four and they admitted me. I got an epidural (yay) pretty soon and we tried to sleep. I went through three doctors this pregnancy (one retired, one had a baby) and two more at the hospital since it was a holiday. Oh well. The first broke my water. Around 7:45 I was at a 6 and the nurse said she'd be back in 20 minutes and start a tiny bit of pitocin if my contractions weren't more regular. She came back an hour later and said I was at a 10. The next doctor came in for a trial push and I kept saying, "seriously, don't you want the ped nurses in here?" Sure enough, 1 1/2 pushes later they were scrambling to get th baby birth team in there.

Baby boy came out nice and easy. Other than being 6-13 days late and swallowing lots of thick meconium. He had his stomach pumped and kept spitting more up, but that hasn't stopped him from being a champion eater.

11/27/15 9:09 am 8 lb 7 oz 21 inches long

Thanksgiving Menu:
Turkey breast tenderloin (pre seasoned)
Rolls (store bought)
Mom's sweet potato casserole
Mashed potatoes (the only thing I made)
Brussels sprouts with bacon
Cranberry raspberry smoothie
Fresh raspberries
Canned cranberry jelly
Turkey cheeseball
Peach jello jigglers
Dried snap peas
Banana boats for dessert

Unfortunately, Maggie is sick and Sienna was ready for s nap so neither of them enjoyed the meal much. But the rest of us did!

[Comments] (1) Happy Due Date: A Chadwick baby is never late. Nor is she early. She arrives precisely when she means to.

(This post has been saved as a draft on my blog since November 20, 2012. Seems applicable today as well.)

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