Sunday, January 25, 2009

games parents play

When I was pregnant, I thought I missed drinking. Not that I've been much of a party animal these past few years - okay, for about a decade - but whatever. When you can't drink for 9 months, you kind of look forward to cutting loose again.

In the past few weeks I've said a number of times that I'd like to sit down with a bottle of wine or a case of beer and just get drunk - and so far nobody has taken me up on the offer. Did they think I was joking? Or, maybe I was just fooling myself because with Christmas and kids at home for the holidays and a new baby and all of that - there wasn't really a good opportunity. But goodness knows with these -40 temperatures being trapped in the house with four kids for days and weeks on end could drive anyone to drink.

But this week - an opportunity. A good solid excuse to have a drink or twelve. My sister-in-law turned 30. Right in the middle of the week - my husband is home because he works the next day, the kids are all in bed by 8, why the heck not put on my snow boots and my winter coat and pack a bottle of wine in the diaper bag and my baby in the Snugli and walk right across the backyard to her house, and have a few drinks? Why NOT? So, I did.

It was a successful night of drinking - I drank some beer and a whole bottle of wine and didn't get home until four in the morning. The baby is usually up around 4 so it didn't seem to disrupt his schedule at all, but I can tell you I wasn't feeling fine when the alarm went off at 8. I managed to get the kids up and off to school and a pot of coffee made to avoid a hangover.

So the weekend rolls around and we decide that since nobody was hung over, maybe that was just a warm-up, and we should try to have a proper birthday celebration. One where the adults significantly outnumber the babies, maybe. So yesterday afternoon we remembered how to make Jell-o shooters and bought a case of beer and a bottle of wine, and dusted off the old game of Pass-Out. We invited my sister and brother in law over to our house, and attempted to play.

FINALLY, a game that FORBIDS me to play with my children!!
NOT intended for use with alcoholic beverages? How fun would that be?

When I was in University, I had the most awesome roommate. She arrived on a train from Ontario in the middle of the night, with a giant blue trunk full of clothes and a game of Pass-Out. On any given weekend night - and maybe sometimes on weekdays, we'd bring out the game and get a case of beer or and by the time we'd traveled around the board a time or two - we were feeling pretty darned good. Of course, that was usually just to get primed up to go out to a party or bar somewhere and have an actual good time. But when you're over 30 with kids and minimal opportunities to drink, let alone leave the house - the game IS the good time.

a few cans of beer and a mighty stack of empty jello shooters

Anyway - we finished off the Jello shooters, made a few trips around the board, finished the beer, moved on to the wine - laughed, cried, massacred tongue-twisters, started forgetting whose turn it was, or what direction we were playing in - and then realized morning was going to come to early for all of us, and the sitter needed to get home, so we shut it down just after midnight. It was fun, we'll have to do it again sometime - but its just soooo much work to have that much fun. So tired.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The sad truth about baby clothes

So I'm doing laundry again (still?) today and of course, I have to put some more of the baby's newborn clothes away because he's grown out of them. That is the tragedy of newborn baby clothes, they make them so cute but they have such a short life cycle, rarely surviving for three wearings. It goes something like this:

Wearing 1 - the outfit doesn't quite fit, though it looks about the right size, when you put it on and the baby kicks, his legs get lost and jammed up in the pant legs somehow and you're forever straightening them so the feet stay in the feet-parts.

Wearing 2 - the outfit fits perfectly! WOOOO HOOO! Within three seconds, the baby will spit up all over the outfit, and you'll have to change him and put it back in the wash.

Wearing 3 - the outfit appears to fit perfectly, until the baby stretches his legs and you notice he can't straighten them completely because it tightens up around the neck and his toes are absolutely crammed into the feet. And you think, he's a baby, how often is he stretched out anyway? He can keep his knees bent! But after three different people say "oh, looks like this outfit is getting a little small!" you realize you're just fooling yourself.

With that, I'm packing away some of my favorite little baby boy clothes, and it's breaking my heart. The only consolation is bringing out some of the equally cute 3-6 month stuff that is starting to fit him, even though he's just barely a month and a half old by my count. Hopefully he gets a few more wearings out of those ones.

It's undeniable, he's growing. But the trade off is he's smiling, and paying attention to things around him, and he's learning to bat at his toys and grab things to shove in his mouth, he's making interesting noises and attempting to mirror our facial expressions. I just love to see him learning to do stuff like that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby at one month old

I can't believe he's a month old - well, almost 5 weeks by now I guess. Seems like only yesterday we brought him home from the hospital, and right away it felt like he's always been here - you'd think the girls always had a baby brother.

First days
Bringing home baby - he slept for the 2 hour drive

the girls couldn't wait to meet him

When you're sure you're going to keep something,
you can cut the tags off - so we did!

hanging out with Cecily

People often ask if its different having a boy - after three girls, I would haved guessed it is. Parts of him are different, that is for sure. But he hasn't peed on me or at me even once yet, which was the difference that concerned me most going into this. I've noticed he likes to be dirty and stinky more than the girls ever did. He'll often drift off to sleep happily 2 seconds after filling a diaper and would happily stay that way forever if I'd let him. Otherwise, he's quite a bit like any other of my babies - he just has a different wardrobe.

People see him and say he's getting so big and he's changed so much. That kind of makes me sad because he just got here and he's already growing up too fast. I don't notice as much because I am with him all the time - and when you're literally watching someone grow, you don't see it happening. I just know whenever I get another load of laundry out of the wash that some of his little clothes won't fit him by the next load of wash. I hate that because he has cute clothes and it seems like such a waste to put them away already.

Seems like he's getting so big, until you put him beside his cousin
who is only two months older - they grow SO fast.

I know for sure that at 2 weeks old (Christmas Eve) he was already over 9 pounds, which is pretty good for a little guy who was less than eight pounds when we left the hospital. He's so alert, and curious about everything - when he's awake he's always looking around. He's getting used to having his sisters in his face all the time, and having his head constantly patted and kissed. He doesn't always break their hearts anymore by crying as soon as they try to hold him - he's getting used to that feeling like he could be dropped at any second and will actually let the bigger girls hold him for quite awhile and I can get a few things done.

heartbreakingly sad baby

Since the day he was born he's known how to make his bottom lip shiver so that he looks completely heartbroken. He started doing that whenever we got near him with a cold, wet wipe at a diaper change (and who can blame him?) and it was everything I could to do keep from running out and buying a wipes-warmer for him. The only thing holding me back was the knowledge that he's a winter baby, in Manitoba - and at some point for sure I'm going to have to use wipes that are practically frozen after being left in the van. And I think that could probably kill a child who is used to a pre-warmed wipe on his most sensitive parts. I used soft washcloths and warm water for the first week or two of his life, until he gradually got used to the shock of the wet wipes. Poor little guy.

He's so strong already, from the beginning he was pushing against us when we held him and it wasn't too long - maybe two weeks, before he was able to get his head back far enough to look up and around.

hi Dad!

Christmas day - 2 weeks old

By Christmas he was holding his head up really well when he was on his tummy, and now he can't stand having his head tucked in at all unless he wants to sleep - he pushes his whole back away so he can look around at everything around him. With three older sisters around, I think he's going to snap his neck trying to keep track of all of them. Annique especially has a habit of being up in his face and then disappearing in the blink of an eye, and he will twist his neck around trying to see where she went.

Where'd she go??

smiling at his sisters

Also thrilling for his sisters, he's starting to smile at them a little bit. Annique is constantly reporting on his status when they're hanging out - Baby happy, baby smiling, baby CRYING, mom baby NOT HAPPY!! MOOOOMMM!! BABY CRYING! Yes, I know. I can hear him. But she just wants me to know. Sometimes I can't get to him right away and sometimes I don't get there on purpose because I love seeing how she handles the situation - if he's in the bouncer, she bounces him gently. Sometimes she pats his head or back, or sings to him softly or tries to shove a pacifier in his mouth. Sometimes it works, and she announces "BABY HAPPY NOW MOM!"

Annique loves being the big sister when she's always been the little sister - she likes that her big sisters are gone at school all day, and now she figures she's the one in charge. When they get home, she meets them at the door to remind them to be quiet when he's sleeping. I had some worries about her being jealous but she's just been thrilled with him right from the start. It seems the older girls are actually having a bit more trouble - they remind me now and then that I am always holding the baby and anything that doesn't get done is blamed on him. Like, I didn't cut their toenails, because I am *always* holding the baby. Fortunately with Christmas holidays and a few bad weather days - they've been able to spend a lot of time at home and I can spend more of my time with them that way. And cut their toenails, of course. And put nail polish on them for good measure.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

there goes December

It's been a busy couple of weeks for our family - and Evan's already a month old. Where does the time go? December is always crazy like this but with a new baby I always want to slow down time just a little and stay at home - but there's no such luck with Christmas around the corner!

There was lots of rushing around the week or so before Christmas - the kids had their Christmas concert at school, the wind-up for their dance class and annual Santa day. The temperature dropped to -40 some days and the last thing I wanted to do was haul my new baby around town - but you can't miss this stuff! My greatest fear was that school would be canceled and I'd have all four kids home on a weekday before I'm ready - and of course that happened, too. Twice.

December 2008

Decorating the Christmas tree
Santa day!
Christmas concert

Writing letters to Santa

Baking cookies for Santa

Reading the Christmas Story by the tree on Christmas eve

Christmas Day
Getting to Christmas was pretty hectic, but Christmas itself was pretty quiet. We didn't go anywhere -Christmas came to our house and didn't stay overnight, so it was just perfect. We opened presents and visited with family all day, I cooked a turkey and my mom and sister did everything else for supper - I relaxed, held my baby and sipped coffee most of the day.

This is Annique's crazy spiral train set at a brief moment where it is staying together and Annique is not shrieking because its not broken. It only breaks apart if you drive a train over the spiral part. Or walk anywhere within fifty feet of it. We finally resorted to duct tape. Thanks, Santa for the spiral train. We love the spiral train! Next year, Annique would like something sturdier, like maybe a house of cards.

Madeleine got a little pink Samsung camera for Christmas, and as you can see, she's quite thrilled with it. And actually - so am I! Its not an expensive camera but she's only seven, and all of the kids' cameras were almost as expensive, except then you're paying to have Hannah Montana's face on the camera - not to get decent pictures. This one was less than $80, is really easy enough for a seven year old to use, and she's been taking fantastic pictures with it. Plus, its PINK. She's a budding photo-journalist and documentary film-maker. I love seeing all of the different the things she takes pictures of and the commentary on her little videos - its fascinating to see the world through the eyes of my seven-year old.

We invited my sister in law and her family to come over and play Guitar Hero with us. At some point in the evening - about two seconds after I took this picture, I realized - it looks like a freaking DAYCARE in here. Where the heck did all these kids come from? My goodness, seven kids is a lot to have in one room. Only three went home with their parents. The other four are mine!

New Year's Day

For New Year's, we had a break from the cold snap and had a nice snowstorm instead. The snow stopped early New Year's day and we decided to brave the roads and head out to the lake. This is the first time I've been out there in the winter - and I can't wait to go back. My aunt and uncle have the wood stove going in their cabin, all of the boards off the windows, and its just as nice and cozy in the winter as it is in the summer. The kids played in the snow out on the lake, the men went ice-fishing - and we just sat around and relaxed with the baby.

The girls playing in the snow on the lake

the snow on the lake was too deep for Annique so she stayed in the yard

Staying warm inside by the fire