"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week 5

Week 5. . . life is starting to feel normal.  Not the same normal as before baby, but normal just the same.  I am doing all the regular things (minus my job at church).  We went out for supper, attended a couple of church services, went to my mom's for lunch, watched a couple of track meets. Getting my work done for Chad's business is hard - but not as hard as it was a couple of weeks ago.  My life certainly revolves around Mataya's needs - but I am beginning to feel like I can sneak in a few other things as well.  She no longer feels quite so fragile.  Neither do I.

This is my favorite picture from this week.

She almost looks like she is smiling - but don't be fooled!  She is not smiling yet.  We have a bit of a contest going as to who she smiles at first.  Daddy says it must be him. 

 This week I made two life changing discoveries.

This ring sling is one of them.
Chad's cousin Beth graciously sent it to Mataya and I.  It is amazing!  She loves it, and I can fold the laundry!  I love it too.  I like having a happy baby nestled close to me, so being able to get a few things done along with snuggling my tiny one makes me very, very happy!

The other thing we have fallen in love with is called a "Rock and Play Sleeper."

Before this, Mataya was waking about 20 minutes after I lay her down. . . all night long.  She was not hungry, just not comfy.  Since my cousin, Erica, suggested I buy this she is sleeping about 4 hours, waking to eat (for an hour. sigh. she is a sloooow eater.) and then sleeping another hour or two.  I am still tired, but four to six hours of sleep is WAY better than 20 minutes!  I would call this a newborn must-have.
 The weather is getting a bit nicer, so Chad and the kids had a fire one evening.  Mataya and I watched from the rocking chair in the family room.  Though the temps have been nice enough to be outside with her, it has been so windy that we have remained in.  Luckily, I married a man that loves to cook for me.  He brought me hotdogs and yummy s'mores.
 Mataya has gotten to be a fairly good traveler.

I am so thankful! She will spend many, many, many hours in the carseat driving kids to and from activities.  I wonder just how many hours. . .
 She also eats many meals in the car.

Life goes in two hour cycles right now.

Mataya nurses.
Then she plays for a bit.
Then she fusses and needs help falling asleep.
Then she sleeps for 45 minutes (or less).
Then we repeat the cycle.

This means in order to get anything done, I have to move quickly!  Krissy helped me buy groceries at Sams on Saturday.  We managed to fill a cart - family of 8 style - and check out in 40 minutes.  When we got back to the car and I pointed out the time, she said, "Well, I guess I know why I a sweating now!  We were cruising!"  Then we drove over to Walmart and Krissy did the rest of our shopping while I fed the baby.

I was thrilled to have her help!

Mataya and I have attempted to go to several track meets.  Poor little peanut!  You have to be tough to be the youngest of 6.  I do my best to arrive right before my athlete races and leave right after.  That way Mataya is not stuck in her carseat/stroller for too long.  It has been too cool and windy to have her out, and since she only is content while the stroller is moving, we walk laps while the kids race.

Once again, I am thankful for great help.  My dad faithfully attends each track meet.  Chad does his best to hop back and forth between work and the kids' races as well.  He also does an amazing job sending me play by play.  Many times he video a race on his phone or texts me splits as the race is happening.  I love that he keeps me included.  And with me less involved, he has become more of a "fan."  It is fun for the kids to see that!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

 Believe it or not, this momma of 6, does not play the bunny game.
I think the idea of a bunny that hops around delivering gifts is just weird, so we have skipped that tradition!  

Joshua Gubs certainly makes a cute Easter Bunny look-a-like though!

 We DO dye Easter eggs.

Every year Grammy comes over to dye eggs with the kids.
This year I only have photos of the eggs.  Mataya was not happy during the egg dying "fun" so I had my hands full.

I used to buy all the kids new Easter clothes. However as they have gotten older, they have lost interest.  Church is so much less formal than it used to be, so between the two factors, Easter dresses have become a thing of the past.  But I since Mataya can not refuse, I did dress her fancy this year.

(In all actuality, it was her sisters that encouraged this!  I thought she might be chilly in a dress, but they insisted.  Funny how life comes full circle sometimes, isn't it?)
 She sure looks pretty in her very first dress.

Her Sharlene bought it for us as soon as we knew "the baby" was a girl.  Her siblings have been anxiously waiting for her to wear it.  (OK momma has been excited too!)

 Mataya is becoming a momma's baby.

She seems to be happiest when she is in my arms.

I feel exactly the same way.
The best part of my Easter was this moment.
My Grandma got to hold Mataya.

I feel so very, very thankful that my grandma has held and loved all of my children.

Miss Mataya can be easily overstimulated, so she does not enjoy a crowd.  I was very worried that she would be a complete crab apple at my mom's house Easter Sunday.  I even prayed about this moment all night, asking God to allow my baby to be peaceful and allow her Great Grandma some snuggle time.  It is a silly request, but I am thankful that God honors silly sometimes.  Seeing this tiny one sleeping on my precious Grandma's lap was such a blessing to me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

1 Month Old!

This little sweetheart is one month old today!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Week 4

This week is better.

Much better!

Mataya saw her doctor again on Tuesday, and he told me to just relax.  And I quote, "She is fine.  She is tiny - but just enjoy that she is staying little longer than usual."

So - I have officially chilled out.  She continues to put on weight very slowly.  She likes that half an ounce a day rate, but if the doctor is not worried, I am not either.

Daddy holding her shows her tiny-ness quite nicely!

She is up to a whole 7 lbs 2 oz, as of Tuesday.  So at 4 weeks, she is lighter than her oldest three siblings were at birth!  I had debated buying any newborn clothing, thinking it was a waste since she would only wear it for a week or so, in the end I could not resist!  It is a good thing too - she has worn newborn diapers and clothes for a month.

Her cord finally fell off!  And I was correct, she loves, loves, loves the bath.  I think she would fall asleep if I let her soak long enough.  She is not a fan of the lotion that follows.  It is cold, and warm and snuggly is more to her liking.

She is liking a pacifier more every day.  I am thinking a pacifier will make being away from me easier. . . if I ever decide to leave her that is.  I really struggle with leaving my babies.  So far I have no desire for her to be more than a few feet away from me, but I am supposed to go back to work in June. . .

Car trips are getting a bit less noisy.

Naps. . . well, they are longest when I hold her - but she likes the swing a little bit.

She is starting to be just the tiniest bit intrigued with toys.  Joshua is thrilled!

There is no way I can describe Joshua's adoration of this baby.
He loves her sooo much.
He waits and waits to hold her.
He is so proud to introduce her to his teachers and friends.
He loves to talk to her and try to play with her.

It drives me crazy sometimes.  If she is fussy, he wants to try and comfort her.  I know that being held by a six year old, will not help anything - but Chad has wisely encouraged me to just let him give her a quick squeeze.  (My knee-jerk reaction, is NO you can not hold her now!)  Why not foster his relationship with her rather than shooting him down, he asked.  Once again I am thankful for my husband.

Joshua is so proud of his baby skills.  I heard him say, "When Mataya is fussy only me and mom know what to do.  We are the experts!"

She does NOT like a lot of chaos.  Poor peanut - the youngest of 6 hates to be overstimulated - she will just have to adjust.  I am wondering how the weekend will go.  Usually she is CRANKY by Sunday afternoon from all the extra noise and activity.  This weekend we will have four days of it.  It might get a little noisy around here!

In other Dietrich news. . .

 Joshua is not the only one that adores Mataya.
Krissy has been known to say, "Let me have her." as well.
She and Mataya have a nap date almost every Saturday morning.
(Sierra tends to say, "I need some baby therapy!")

Krissy went to her Senior Prom over the weekend.

She colored her hair, added extensions, and styled it herself!
She did not get that from me. . . I can barely brush my hair by myself.
She looked lovely.

It was certainly a memorable night!

And today she (and Jamison) were inducted in the National Honor Society.
She will graduate with a GPA over 3.75 (thus the ropes).
She claims that is no big deal.
I disagree!
She is a smart cookie, that has worked very hard.
I am very proud of her.

And that very briefly sums up the last week.

Phew - I got it down before Mataya woke up!  I am getting better at working fast these days!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

3 Weeks Old

I should have remembered. . . by week 3, I can no longer run on adrenaline.  Baby has "awakened" and is no longer content to sleep the day away.  My hormones go CRAZY.  And the rest of the world is ready for me to be back to a normal routine.

Week 3 with Mataya was rough.  It has been with all my babies. . .

I had my share of mommy meltdowns this last week - doubting my ability to care for her.  They started with a visit from the county nurse.  This is a standard visit, and I enjoyed meeting her.  She even has ties to Ethiopia!  She was full of lots of information, all was good. . . until she weighed Mataya.  When she weighed Mataya, we discovered she was only 6 lbs 12 oz.  Since she was born at 7 lbs, this was not good news.  At first I was not concerned.  All her patterns were normal.  She was waking herself to nurse at least every 3 hours.  She was not super fussy - except from 5 to 8 - but that is a common fussy time for babies.  She had (just barely) enough wet and poopy diapers every day.  She was fine. . . right?

She had an appointment to see the pediatrician in 6 days, so the nurse and I agreed to keep on doing what I was doing.

I felt good about that. . .

Until the next day when the feeding frenzy began.  For the next several days, Mataya ate continually.  Had I not known about her slow weight gain, I would not have been concerned.  Jamison commonly had days when he ate and ate and ate during growth spurts.  Since I knew of her slow weight gain, I worried and worried.

Then the crazy hormones kicked in as well.

I was a complete mess.  Maybe I was starving her?  Maybe I was selfish to try nursing her - after all if I were not nursing, I would be more available to the older kids and more willing to leave the baby?  Maybe she was fine?  Maybe I was too old to keep her nourished? Maybe. . .

 I spoke with the doctor and a lactation consultant - who disagreed totally with each other - googled all sorts of topics, and did my best to stay calm.

Thankfully I had a couple of dear friends who listened to me freak out and did their best to reassure me. Friendship is an incredible gift.  It sustained me last week.

In the midst of fussy, hungry baby - life went on.

It became clear to me that I needed to leave the cocoon of my home and reenter society a bit - for the sake of my husband and older kids.  So, I started driving kids to and from activities a bit - while baby complained.  She does not like her car seat!  I bought groceries - with the help of Sierra.  We went to church.  Brenna had some friends sleep over.  Jay had a small group here to work on a project.  I bundled up the baby and watched Jamison run at his first outdoor track meet of the season.  I tried to watch Sierra, but baby was eating and we just barely missed her race.

It was exhausting.  It was scary.  It was nerve racking.

It was also good.  Eventually, life has to go on. My older kids need me too.

On Tuesday, Mataya saw her pediatrician for the first time.  And she is still only 6 lbs 15 oz.  UGH!  Although she has not gained much weight, she has grown.  She is at the bottom end of acceptable weight gain in a week.  She gained half an ounce a day, but they want to see one ounce a day.  However, she is an inch and a half longer than she was at birth.  Her head has grown nearly a half an inch too.  Her color is good.  She is not dehydrated.  She is alert.  She has some fussy times but is also content often.  All her patterns continue to look good - so we are letting things go for one more week.  We will go back again next week, if she is not gaining more weight at that point we may start some formula.

I am SO ready for that appointment - though it is still half a week away!  I am tired of second guessing myself all the time.  Every time she fusses I wonder if she is hungry.  I am counting wet diapers like a crazy person.  I am tired of it.  I am typically confident in my ability to care for infants.  This self-doubt is driving me crazy.  (It is also wise. . . to a point.  I should be concerned and aware - but the constant stress and questioning is not good for either one of us.)

Despite all the crazy - the activities, the fussy baby, the wondering about her growth, the trying to sneak in household tasks, the lack of sleep - I am savoring this time.  It is hard.  My back gets tired from walking endless circles around our house.  I feel discouraged as my bookkeeping work piles up and I am not sure how/when I will get it done.  I feel stressed when I see the crumbs from Brenna's birthday party under the dining room table 4 days later. (I have a think for clean floors!)  It is hard, do not hear me say it is not.  Yet it is temporary!  I may need to sleep in a chair for the next four months.  I may have a really messy house.  The laundry may always be overflowing. Meals may stink.  But this work of caring for our tiny one is holy.  It is beautiful.  It is important.  Nothing else matters more right now.

I often remind myself that when I was doing day care I never felt pressured to get my housework or laundry done while I was caring for the children.  In fact, I felt guilty if I took a bit of time to clean up.  I was doing important work caring for the children.  The families were not paying me to clean my house or pay my bills - they had entrusted me with their most precious possessions, and I was determined to do it well.  Mothering is important.  It matters.  This time is a gift that I choose to savor rather than reject in any way.

Things we have learned/discovered this week:

  • There are a lot of new rules in infant parenting!  Baby should stay in our room for 4 months!  She should not have anything in her crib after she is too big to swaddle.  Many say not even a blanket... luckily my doctor said a light weight blanket is OK.  I would not want to be in bed without a blanket, so I was having a hard time thinking of her without one!  She should get Vitamin D daily.  The car seat should go inside the cart instead of hooked to the seat.  This one is tough for me.  How am I supposed to buy groceries for my crew with a baby seat in the cart basket?  I can join the baby wearing craze, but letting a sleepy baby stay in her carseat seems much easier to me.  (Yes!  I know there is research that goes into all this stuff.  I surely want her to be safe.  I will follow the rules.)
  • We found a pacifier Mataya likes.  At least she liked it the last 2 days. . .
  • Though she is tiny on the scale, she is long!  Several of her newborn outfits no longer fit.
  • She loves white noise.  The hair dryer, clothes dryer, and vacuum are calming.  She also prefers a soft shhh! to singing or humming when she is fussy.
  • She loves to have her hair washed.  And when it is wet, her hair is curly.  It is so cute.  (I can't wait for her stubborn umbilical cord to fall off so she can have a real bath.  I think she will love it!)
  • She insists on being held - cradle style.  When I set her down, she wakes within minutes.  If I hold her she sleeps like an angle.  Though I love to hold her, and I do NOT believe you can spoil a baby - I do need both of my arms on occasion.  So we will be shopping for a sling!  (Brenna was just like this.  She was held for 4 months straight. I even slept in the recliner with her.  She is now my most independent child.  Research totally supports holding babies! This momma just needs to find a way to be a bit more efficient.)
  • My one daily cup of coffee seemed to upset Mataya, so I quit.  Now THAT is sacrificial love.
And now what you have truly been waiting for. . . pictures!
 Sierra is running the 100 and 200 hurdles and long jumping this track season.
Daddy took this awesome photo!

Sierra placed in each of her events at her very first meet this season.
Baby curls!
Krissy used to have hair so much like this. 
 Eyes wide open
They are dark blue - so far anyway!
Snuggled up to momma. . . the ONLY way she sleeps.
 One morning I was tired. . . Mataya had been up every hour, so I was infant momma tired!
I was also a bit grumbly.

And then I saw this!
And I remembered how lucky I am to be home right now enjoying every moment.
Some are stunningly beautiful like this sunrise.
Others are plain old exhausting.
But there is NO place else I'd rather be.

Thank you God for the gift of these moments.
 I think Mataya's favorite room is the laundry room.
She loves to watch and listen to the dryer.
Good think I have a nearly endless supply of laundry!
 Our evening routine includes about 3 hours of near constant nursing from 5 to 8.
Then Mataya takes a good nap in Daddy's arms, waking at 10 for one last feeding before "bed."
 Jamison is running the one mile and two mile on the CHS varsity team this track season.
He set a new PR in his first outdoor race of the season.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Happy 11th Birthday Brenna!

Brenna Joy turned 11 today!

At her request, we had a pizza and cheesecake party with family to celebrate.

Our beautiful blue-eyed girl is such a thoughtful, compassionate person.
She is a fantastic baker,
brilliant math student,
animal lover,
blossoming singer,
extremely independent,
movie love,r
the best helper I have when it comes to cleaning and meal prep.

I am SO incredibly thankful that God chose me to be her mom.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2 Weeks Old

This photo summarize the last few days.

I have spent WAY more time snugged up nursing this baby than any other activity.
She loves, loves, loves to snuggle up with mom.

Unfortunately, despite aaaaaalllllll the time she has spent nursing, she is not gaining weight very quickly.  She likes to snuggle more than drink.  So, I am now picking on her while she is nursing, trying to keep her more alert and focused.  I am not overly concerned as she is certainly alert, rather than lethargic; she is satisfied and serene after eating, and she wakes herself to eat often - but I am also very aware that this little peanut needs to eat, eat, eat!  

 Mataya is sleeping really great at night.

She is asleep by 11 and wakes once to nurse over night before waking for the day at 5:30.

Then she spends most of the next 3 hours nursing, cluster feeding to make up for her big sleep.
She also nurses for about 3 hours straight before she goes to bed.

During the day she eats at least every 2 hours.

I have not sat this much in many, many years!  And I have never watched this much TV!

Thankfully, I am enjoying it.  Once in a while I get antsy, but I quickly remind myself that very,very soon this phase will be over.  I best enjoy the quiet serene moments while they last.
 The only responsibility I have right now - other than caring for baby and regular family/household things - is the book work I do for Chad's business.  I am thankful that I can office from home easily.
 We continue to be very spoiled -  most errands have been taken care of by Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, or Krissy.  Last week I enlisted Sharlene to find a couple of pairs of socks that would stay on Mataya's teeny-tiny feet.  Sharlene, in typical Sharlene-fashion, purchased about 30 pairs of baby socks.  So, baby girl is now a sock diva.  I am so very thankful for my friends and family.

We have also been shocked, awed, and very surprised by many thoughtful baby gifts.
Meals have been delivered.  Flowers and fruit bouquets have caught us by surprise.  And sweet thoughtful baby gifts continue to arrive.  It is all much more than we ever would expect.

We have ventured out a couple of times - once to the shop to retrieve mail and once to go through the bank drive-up - but home is our favorite! Mataya is NOT a fan of her car seat! And as often as she eats, leaving is tricky anyway.

Miss Mataya does best when held. . . but she does take a quick nap in her bouncy chair while I shower each morning.

So routines are slowly developing.

I have this thing about knowing my kids.  Though I carried her under my heart for 40 weeks, I needed time to know Mataya.  This last week of discovering her has been such a blessing.  While she changes daily, I am starting to know her cries and cues.  I am starting to be able to anticipate her needs.  That makes my heart sigh.  It also makes me feel more capable as her momma!

Mataya is a funny combo of demanding and serene.

She demands to eat with her little "birdy mouth" rooting like crazy all the time.
She demands to be held a lot - waking soon after being laid down during the day.
(Neither of these things stress me out - I "wore" her for 49 weeks.  It does not surprise me or upset me that she still feels safest when snuggled near my heart.  I also know that like it or not, constant feedings are part of being less than a month old.)

She is serene in that even when upset, she quiets quickly.  We have yet to hear her "red line."  She complains, but does not totally lose it. 

She loves to have her hair washed.
She hates the hiccups.
She loves to be warm - she is often double swaddled.
She does not like to have her chest and tummy rubbed.
She loves to have her scalp, feet, and hands massaged.
She loves white noise like the dryer and vacuum.

My favorite baby story from last week came from Joshua.

On Sunday, I let him have his neighbor-buddy over to play.  When the boys came into the house I heard Joshua ask his friend, "You want to see something really cute?"

His buddy asked if we got a new puppy or kitty?

Joshua responded, "Nope!  I got something WAY cuter than that!  I got a baby sister!"

I have rarely been more content than I am right now.

I know moments like this are fleeting,
so I am focusing on savoring this time.

Thank you Jesus for moments like these.