Sunday, March 29, 2020

Six Months of Baby J

This guy has been with us for 6 months (plus 3 days) 

He is so cute and quiet (except when he's hungry). He has been enjoying going to work with me - which up until 2 weeks ago - was every day. He has been known to sleep through the night and adores all his big siblings doting. 

I've never had a kid who is so uninterested in baby food or puffs. He just spits it all out one way or another and puts his middle finger and finger without a name (next to pinkie) and sucks on them until I stop trying to feed him. I booted C out of the highchair in the hopes that J seeing everyone else eat will make him think it is a good idea. Nothing like a little positive peer pressure, right? 

 To think he has been here with us for six months is crazy. The girls have reminded more than once that it was around this time last year we told them a new sibling was on the way. We had just done a ton of yard work and I told them I hope you can help us more in September when we have another baby and everyone erupted with squeals and excitement. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Corona-Quarantine One Week In

So here we are. I remember last Thursday I didn't think coronavirus was going to be too much of an impact on our family/community/life? A week ago something changed. Everything changed. Here is our new normal: 

Right now I am thankful I have a job. Thankful I have a job that I CAN work from home. Thankful for so many many things amidst this seeming chaotic new normal. 

We went from zero to 25 million degrees this week. J needed a little something to go on one of our morning walks. Now I'm about to embark of the task of changing fall/winter clothes to spring/summer. And now I have PLENTY of time to do it. 

What happens when mom just wants you and younger sibs to 'go play' - you build a light-up lego tower to the ceiling OF COURSE. I think they are called Brix Stacks or something. We have gotten a few sets over the past several Christmases and they are neat and fit into Duplos. If I could just figure out how to keep the base plugged in all the time then that would be good. 

School is in session several different times a day. Working and schooling and chaos-managing everyone in the house is A LOT. Everyone was thrown into this boat all of a sudden so I think it is alot of finding what works and appreciating our situation. 

C has been all about Wayne - her dog-cousin who lives an hour away. We have a few videos of Wayne and we FaceTime Wayne. They have a number of striking similarities so we keep them in good communication

This is how I feel at about 12:15

We've been going on twice daily walks during our mandatory outside time. You'd think I was torturing them most of the time but grumbling and vitamin D go oh so well together. 

The helmet. The face. The scrape. 
All the outside time with a COMPLETELY clear schedule has got us emptying out the garage of all bikes, scooters, helmets, balls, tools, chalk. Afternoons are a (welcome) slow period compared to just last week we were hustling to swim practice and soccer practices were supposed to start this week.

Here's to more family time, more exploring, more adjusting and maybe a few more scrapes. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Lice - A Modern Day Plague

It has been several months our house was plagued with lice here are my thoughts: 

When we had lice at the end of the summer it was bad. I was 250000 weeks pregnant, pool season seemed like it was never going to end, I had a work trip and left our sitter to tend to nitpicking. I became quite skillful at nitpicking and probably did it more often then I needed to just because I was totally paranoid.  It was bad - but we got through it. 

Flashforward two and a half months and we had a 3 week old baby, we were finally getting into the groove of school and activities with our new brotherly addition (with this posterior tie tongue that is causing some feeding issues) and bam. One morning in the preschool parking lot as I'm pulling C's hair back for a messy bun there is a louse (that's the singular version of lice. Louse, mouse, lice, mice). My heart sinks and my mind races. I collect the big girls from school and do the whole lice shampoo and nit picking treatment (which they just LOVE sitting through). That afternoon as I'm stripping the sheets right before my friend who came to hold J leaves, she asked me if I wanted her to check my hair for lice. 

Y'all know what happens next. 

She didn't even try and look. She pulled over part of my hair and was like... yeah you got them. 

Insert screamfest. 

It was nearly 3 in the afternoon and my hair is definitely not the shorter variety and I knew Lee wouldn't have the patience to nitpick my hair. 

Did you know there are professional nitpickers? Because there are and they come to your house. They are expensive but I knew with a 3 week old it was my only choice. I felt pretty good about the big girls hair but C would not sit still for me. So the lady came with her bag of nitpicking tricks and went to work within hours of me calling. She was great. So great. I think she finally clocked out of our hour around 9:30 or 10 after lots of olive oil, Dawn and combing. 

Over the course of the next 2 weeks we had at least 5 days of olive oil and combing the night before and showering and Dawn and blow drying the next morning - me, 5 kids and a newborn - well J didn't get the treatment but it get everyone ready for bed it was a 2 hour process and the morning process was another 2 hours. 

It was INTENSE but took care of them. 

In the days during and week following I routinely would grab the nit comb and Listerine and spray down and comb my hair any time I felt an itch on my head or I saw one of the girls scratch their head. It was terrible. It seemed all consuming. 

Advent started and we were doing the Jesse Tree and we read about the 10 Egyptian plagues and I couldn't help but think the lice were a window into the (way more) AWFUL plagues of Egypt. 

So now I will still occasionally grab the Listerine (because the yellow kind supposedly does something to lice eggs - apple cider vinegar might too but Listerine smells better) and comb through my hair just for kicks. One time I couldn't find my trusty nit comb and I ordered a two pack on Amazon because I couldn't bear not having one - now I have three. We use the Fairy Tales detangler spray and rotate the shampoo into our shower soaps. I've added several EOs to all our shampoos (because supposedly the smell helps repel lice?)

So while I'm more well versed on lice than I ever care to be, I have found there is a community of people who have lived to tell their own lice tale. It is not a huge topic of conversation because there's the stigma of lice being dirty etc etc but I've been surprised how many people share their story when it does come up. We definitely did not have it growing up. 

We lived to tell the (expensive) lice tale and hope to not relive anytime soon or ever again. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Thoughts on Lent During a Half Marathon

Recently (ish), I ran in my first half marathon since 2016. Somehow I got an email on New Year's Eve that there was going to be a price increase the next day for this small(ish) race in Raleigh in two months. I had already started running again and so this seemed like the perfect race. 

My training basically consisted of running once a week - so it wasn't really training in my book. It was running just enough to know that I'd finish. After my final 12.5 mile run I thought I was in trouble because I had this terrible foot pain which possibly was a stress fracture? Who knows. Anyways, I powered through that and then it was looking like it might snow the day of the race - but it didn't though it was COLD and the coat I brought had a broken zipper that I discovered as the fam was booting me out of the van. 

My goals for the race were

1. Don't die
2. Finish
3. Finish in under 2:30 

- When I left the house one day during my 'training' Lee told me - 'don't fall out' aka don't die, for anyone who doesn't speak Eastern NC. A then followed with ' don't fall over... and get smushed by a car' 

All week I knew I badly wanted to finish in under 2:30 but I kept wondering what if I stayed with the 2:15 pace group, could I keep up that kind of pace? 

So in my moments before the race start I decided I'd give the 2:15 group a try. The worst thing that could happen was I wouldn't keep up with them and I had like a zillion hills (lies) in the runs I had and this route wasn't nearly as hilly. So we were off to the races. 

There's lots to think about when you run. Even with music in the background, my mind wandered. I kept my eye on the little blue flag with 2:15 on it. The guy who won the race passed us 40 minutes into our 135 minute journey. That was insane. As the other pace groups made the loop and headed back to the finish they passed us on the trail. We passed other groups behind us as we made our way to the end. It was kind of neat getting to see everyone in the race moving at their own pace. 

Somewhere around mile 10 I couldn't push through anymore. The pace group kept on getting further and further away and I couldn't keep up. I was frustrated but glad that I started running with that group in the first place. I finished in between 2:15 and 2:30 so I actually surprised myself. 

All the while during this race I kept equating a half marathon to Lent - I guess that's what happens when you run a race right before Lent begins? What pace group am I going to be in for Lent? Am I going to push myself to be a more rigorous pace group? Pace groups might include - prayer, fasting, almsgiving, Stations of the Cross, Presanctified Liturgy, reading the Bible - any combo of those or many other things. Maybe I should push myself to be in a more rigorous pace group - I might just surprise myself. 

BUT what is required is signing up for the race. Even the person who was the last one to cross that finish line still got a medal but the important thing is that they SHOWED UP.  Which then made me think of St. John Chrysostom's Paschal homily: 

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.

The rest of the homily is here.

Anyhow I meant to post this three weeks ago but you know, we've been busy Lent-ing up over here. Presanctifieds have been going well. Hopefully we will be hitting Stations this week (Lee took A and C last week while I had everyone else at a swim meet). As much as Lent means more driving back and forth to church and more meals on repeat, it is a good time to get back down to the basics and peel back some layers and do some introspection and prayer.