Five Months!

This boy.  He is the light of my life.  Seriously.  That smile, those eyes, the chubby little fingers that grab on to everything the comes near.  His teeny tiny nose, his soft fuzzy hair.  I love him more than I could ever explain.  And he sure loves me too.  He needs me constantly, always want to be with me, no matter what.  He cries when he sees me.  Until I come pick him up, and then he is happy again.  I can’t believe how fast this time is going.  He is almost half a year old already.  I’m trying to appreciate and remember every little thing about these months and weeks and days but I fear I’m failing and time is flying by without a thing I can do about it.

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This season of motherhood I’m in right now is challenging.  The ages and needs of these three boys are so very different.  I am stretched so thin as I am trying to give them each enough of my time every day and still have decent food on the table and a house that is not a total embarrassment should someone knock on the door.

IMG_1719 But look at them.  Seriously.  Just look at them.  How lucky am I?! Those three, they are amazing and wonderful, full of love and kindness and joy.  They are smart and sweet and fun and adventurous.  They make me laugh and cry, they make me angry and sometimes feel like I’m going to lose my mind, but then they make me feel gratitude, they show me the wonder of the world, and they teach me more than I could ever teach them.  They are amazing little boys.   IMG_1726

Nathan was so proud to hold his brother for this picture.  He has been slower to warm up to Mathew but every once in awhile he really wants to help out and this was one of those moments.  I asked him to hold his brother and he was super excited.

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Lucas was slightly jealous that I asked Nathan to hold the baby so he decided to goof off and get some attention.  Sibling rivalry is such fun, isn’t it??IMG_1738

And then he got his turn.  This is our life.  These boys.  That messy house.  Blankets on the floor, books everywhere, that green broom that always seems to make it into my photos.. :)

IMG_1746Happy Five Months Mathew!!!  We love you!

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Mathew… 12 weeks already

Today is twelve weeks since this sweet boy came into our lives.  His smile makes me smile a thousand times a day.  Last night, I got to smile at him at midnight, again around one, again at two, then three, four, and five AM.  I got up at 6am and gave him to his daddy.  Then I made lunches.  And breakfasts.  And got kids dressed and (I think) I brushed my teeth and took big boys to school and ran errands and picked up big boys at school, and…. on and on.  And he has had like seventeen mini naps since then and I’ve had none.  But that’s okay.  Cause he is the cutest little munchkin around.  And he is only this little once.  Right?!  That’s what I’m trying to tell myself as I’m dizzy and delirious.  Sleep deprivation is awful.  I think it might be easier to just stay up all night than to sleep for half hour increments off and on all night long.  But I’m not complaining. Much. :)

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Isn’t he cute? I took these pictures about two weeks ago when he was 10 weeks old.  Those clothes? They are size 6 months.  He is a big boy.  He is very long, and he is incredibly strong.  He is still a grump in the car – ear piercing screams the entire time – and doesn’t like to be put down for long, but we have come a long way since his colic started 8 weeks ago.

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I’m thankful we are through the worst of his colic.  His symptoms got much better after I went on a hypoallergenic diet.  I ate pretty much only turkey, chicken, squash, carrots, potatoes, rice, apples, pears, avocados, and cucumbers.  Now I’m able to eat a few more things, more fruits, a few more veggies, but not much.  I tried eggs and a little bit of sheeps milk cheese over the last few days and he got worse and I felt sick too, so those are out for awhile longer.

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I have to say it is honestly one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.  I thought I had this whole raising a baby thing figured out.  By number three I had a whole bag of tips and tricks, but nothing works.  This little guy has proven me wrong.

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I love this smile!

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And, ignore the total disaster of a living room and the terrible background and my boys ridiculous outfit combination and just look at their sweet faces and how much they all love eachother. :)

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I think he looks so much like Lucas here!

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Meet Mathew…. His Birth Story

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I don’t know if I will ever have a spare second to blog again, but tonight I’m determined to get this boys birth story written.  The big boys are camping with Ryan, and Mathew and I have the house to ourselves.  I have peace and quiet for the first time in 3 1/2 weeks.  Lately, life has turned to chaos.  I must admit that I honestly thought three kids would be a breeze.  Or at least a lot easier than this.  I mean, I’ve done the baby thing twice before and I know what I’m doing when it comes to feeding, calming, sleeping, holding, burping, changing.  It’s not hard.  I can do it on autopilot…  and wash rinse repeat.  The trouble is, I’ve never had a kindergartener before.  I’ve never had a homeschooling  kindergartener and a preschooler at the same time as a little newborn baby.  And I’ve never had this baby before.  This baby, who is such a sweet guy but cries during most of his waking hours if he is not being held in what he considers the proper position (which requires two hands i must say and makes it impossible to do anything else).  His newborn-ness is disappearing so fast and I want to memorize every single moment with him.  Everything about his face, his hands, his cry, the rolls of skin that practically fold up when he curls into a little ball.  We call him Archie, because of the way he arches his body when he is not getting what he wants.  When it’s really bad we call him Archibald McGrumps.  He is the cutest grumpy baby I’ve ever seen.  On his two week birthday I got out my camera and his favorite soft blanket and we did a little photo shoot.  He was in a pretty good mood at the time but was only half way awake so I got some interesting little eyes in the shots.  I love his expressions.  I love him!
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So here goes.  My third birth story.

Mathew Ryan arrived on August 13th at 8:08 pm.  He was 8 lbs 4 oz and 21 inches long.
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I had been in labor for what felt like three weeks.  Twice we went to the hospital only to go home after hours of monitoring and no progress.  I had been at 3 centimeters for weeks, with contractions 2-5 minutes apart for hours at a time.  I did not know what was real and what wasn’t.  After the first false alarm I was determined not to go in unless it was the real thing.  So the next time it we waited and waited for about 8 hours and the contractions had not stopped… so we went to the hospital and they monitored me and we walked up and down the halls until 3am, and went home again.  At 39 weeks I begged my doctor for help and he graciously obliged.  I went to Labor and Delivery the next day.

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We dropped our boys off with their grandparents about 9am on tuesday morning.  We stopped at coffee bean on our way to the hospital.  We checked in and then spent the next three hours waiting for my doctor to come and give approval for me to be admitted and induced with pitocin.  They started the pitocin around 2:30 pm, and my contractions started to get more regular and stronger.  But Mathew was still a happy camper and wouldn’t drop into position.  So we waited.  And waited.  We watched stupid tv shows, family came in and out.  I nervously watched the monitor that recorded Mathew’s heart rate and the contractions.  Ryan drank at least three Iced Caramel Lattes.  :)  My doctor came back at 5pm to check me and he still was not in position, so we kept on waiting for another two hours.  The nurse kept asking me if I wanted the epidural.  I kept saying no.  Every time I had visualized Mathew’s birth over the last nine months, it was drug free.  Partly out of fear that it would cause complications, and partly out of the desire to finally have the birth experience I had planned with my first pregnancy six years ago.  At that point, I was not in excruciating pain, the contractions were bearable, and I wasn’t ready to let go of my hope for natural childbirth.  Every time I said no, I got a little more scared and a little more confident though.  About 7:30pm my doctor came back.  I was about 4 cm and baby had dropped so she broke my water.  As she walked out of the room she joked “See you in a half hour”.  Little did we all know Mathew would be in my arms within 30 minutes.
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I got up to use the bathroom, figuring it might be my last chance before things got more painful, and by the time I had walked across the room and closed the bathroom door I was in the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life.  I barely made it back to the hospital bed, grabbed Ryan’s hand and told him not to leave my side.  Our family came back in and I was already in tears.  The pain was indescribable.  Within minutes I was feeling pressure so we called the nurse back in and I was at 7 cm, and squeezing the life out of whoevers hands I was holding.  I asked the nurse about the epidural and she told me there was not enough time.  She asked me what I wanted her to do, so I just said “ok, then I’m just going to do this”.  Eyes closed, I went into some sort of crazy mama birth zone.  It was like an out of body experience.  I could hear the voices around me.  My mom telling me to breathe.  Ryan comforting me.  And all of a sudden I swear the baby was trying to climb his way out.  I remember saying “He’s trying to come out, I feel him trying to push out”.  Someone called the nurse back in and I don’t think she believed me since it had been only a few minutes since the last check.  They checked me and I was at 10 cm.  All of a sudden my doctor was back and I was pushing.  This part is really blurry because it went so very fast, and all I really remember is screaming and crying and pushing, everyone around me encouraging me and reminding me to breathe.  Baby’s head got stuck for a minute and his heart rate dropped, they would have had to use the vacuum if I could not get him out.  But I did it.  I pushed him out and it was the most amazing and painful experience of my life but I did it.  For myself, and for Mathew.
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The doctor held him up and I reached out and touched his head.  They put him on my chest and Ryan got to cut the cord.  He cried and cried and I held him on my chest while they stitched me up.  I held him for at least an hour, he nursed right away, and when it was time to change rooms I stood up on my own two feet and walked to the wheel chair.  No numb legs this time around. :) I felt such a strong sensation of strength, of empowerment.  I was high on hormones and could not stop smiling.
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Every birth I’ve gone through has given me some kind of gift – something new to add to my sense of self.  Every birth has taught me something invaluable.  This time I learned how strong I really am.  I am thankful to have this body that is capable of creating beautiful babies.  I am filled with confidence that I have everything I need to love and care for this little boy and our whole family.  Mathew has been an amazing blessing to us.  This first month has gone by so fast and I feel so lucky and so fortunate to be able to be his mommy, to have three sweet sons and a wonderful husband.  These boys are everything to me.  I hope to be mindful over this next year and I want to notice and appreciate every little step of Mathew’s babyhood.  He has already grown and changed so much.
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Our family is finally complete.  I can’t wait to see what this little guy brings to our lives.  Our big boys are so similar and so different at the same time.  I can’t imagine what Mathew is going to be like.  But he can take his time.  He is my last baby and I’m going to soak up every minute I can with his tiny little self.  Be a baby as long as you can buddy.  You don’t have to hurry up and crawl or walk or eat big boy food.  You can be a baby as long as you want.  Your mommy will be right here enjoying every second.
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Polar opposites

My boys could not be more different right now.  One wants to be inside, the other out.  One wants to do his workbooks, the other cannot sit still.  One wants to get messy, the other can’t stand a drop of water on his shirt.  I love that they are totally themselves.

blog-7Nathan loves to be outside playing with water or bubbles or anything messy.  I love his expressions in these photos!

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blog-11And then there’s Lucas.  My little student.  He’s doing his reading eggs program here.  He gets so nervous that he is going to mess up, but always feels so proud when he finishes a lesson.

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Gratitude… a start

My grandma inspired me recently as she was reading to me from numerous pages of her gratitude journals. She is like me, with countless unfinished notebooks and journals all over her house from different stages of her life.  I loved listening to her entries, and over the last few weeks since hearing them I have wanted to do the same.  I want to spend Mathew’s first year in gratitude.  If I could just hop on here and write a few words daily or weekly or whenever I can, I think it would be an awesome record for him to see some day.

Today, I am thankful for one of the best family days we have had in a long time.  An hour in the morning for just Ryan and I to do a few errands, a fun park event with the kids and extended family, a picnic lunch, frozen yogurt, a stop at the splash pad (and Nathan’s excitement over it), and making our own pizzas for dinner.  We had beautiful weather, good moods, lots of treats, and fun time together.  I feel very blessed.
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Waiting

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Apparently today will not be Mathew’s birthday. He is waiting. He is happy and safe and wiggly in my belly at this very moment. Two trips to the hospital, hours on the monitors, sleepless nights, and he is still waiting.

Ok kiddo. It’s ok with me. Message received loud and clear. I won’t push this. It’s time to enjoy the ride. Breathe. A healthy baby is all that matters.

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Mathew Belly :)

This pregnancy has flown by faster than I can believe.  I’m 34 weeks right now, which means this kiddo could be coming anywhere between 3-6 weeks from now.  I wanted to document every bit of this experience as I know this guy will be our last baby, but life, morning sickness, gestational diabetes, kids, life, kids, did I mention kids?? have kept me busy.  Here is the extent of our pregnancy photos – it’s already time to take another once since the last was 4 weeks ago!

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6 weeks

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the first photo of my three boys :)

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9 weeks

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valentine’s day announcement!

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15 weeks

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19 weeks

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24 weeks

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27 weeks

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31 weeks

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Nature School

I went to a Charlotte Mason seminar in Santa Barbara awhile ago, looking for some ideas to add to our homeschool year ahead.  I came home determined to find a place for our own “Nature School”.  A place for the kids to visit year round – for them to see the changes of the seasons, feel the weather differences, watch tadpoles turn to frogs and a rushing river turn to creek and then dust.  A place to go with friends and be kids without worry and a place for us mamas to open up and let nature in.  A place to slow down and breathe more and fill our bodies with energy and clean air.

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We lucked out and found it soon after when we went to Foster Park with our homeschool friends.  The kids played in the creek, throwing rocks, collecting moss, hunting for tadpoles, digging holes and making secret hideouts in the bushes.  Mamas sat on blankets and towels and refereed the kids.  We hiked around and explored the creek.  We brought a frog home in our bug catcher.
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We went back the following weekend with Ryan and caught a bucket full of tadpoles.  We went back again a couple weeks later with some friends.  And we returned once more to let our frogs go back to their home.
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The last time we visited, the creek was dried up, the moss gone.  Frogs and flies had replaced the tadpoles and water snails.  All this in just a few months.
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I’m excited to continue our trips here, to visit when the creek fills back up and water rushes through like river rapids.  Maybe we will go on a rainy day.
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I can’t wait to see what else my kids find and explore here.  I imagine forts built with branches in their hideout spots.  Moss monsters, lizards, and frogs.  Mud and dirt and lots of fun.
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I do love this life with my boys!
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Getaway for a Day

Our family has a thing for this place.  It’s our getaway for a day.  Ryan and I have gone to Avila together since we were dating.  We found this farm stand when it was just a farm stand selling pumpkins and roasted corn in the fall.  Now it’s a year round farm with animals and hay rides and organic produce, a restaurant and ice cream shop and a gift store.  Our kids love it.  We pay 50 cents for a bag of veggie scraps and the feed the goats and pigs and cows and sheep.  We eat caramel corn, we buy pumpkins in the fall.  Sometimes we go to the beach park just down the road.  Then we drive a little further into San Luis Obispo and go to our favorite stores and the kids play in the creek by the mission.

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We have a lot of fun memories at this place.  Before kids we went there for anniversaries and birthdays.  The hot springs down the road was our favorite date night spot.  I remember taking Lucas there when he was a baby.  And Nathan when he first started walking.  We went there the day before I found out I was pregnant with Mathew.  I was Christmas shopping while the boys were at the creek and this wave of dizziness and nausea hit me that made me think I better buy a pregnancy test the next day.  That will forever be in my memory.
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I love to watch the kids excitement feeding the animals.  I love collecting photos of them at our favorite spot.  I can’t wait for Mathew’s first trip to the Avila Barn.
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I love our spontaneous weekend trips to this place.  The 2 hour road trip.  The coffee bean stop in Pismo Beach.  The kids favorite tunnel on the way there.  The hills and fields of cows, grapes, and empty land.  I love where we live.  And I love that so many beautiful places are just a short distance away.
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I think it might be time to plan another trip.  I’m in the mood for a vacation day. :)

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office space

Ryan has a new office.  He’s escaping the tiny room in our garage just in time for the heat of summer.  We miss him, but the boys are having fun playing with his high tech toys in the new place. :)  And it can’t hurt that there is a frozen yogurt place right downstairs…  We will be visiting again soon!

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