Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One year and one baby later...

Wow, I haven't posted in over a year! Mostly because I do almost everything on the iPhone now and the process of writing a blog out on it seems so tedious. But I felt I need to get back into the swing of things, so here goes...

As most of you are aware, baby #4 is on his way - oh yes, and it's another boy. We are thrilled, thrilled, thrilled about all this. I'm actually looking forward to the labor, which is crazy because I've always dreaded that part horribly. Seriously, it was a real struggle to not let fear overtake me with my 2nd and 3rd labors because I was so dreading it. One thing that my have helped was how well Michael's labor went. It was so wonderful and if he hadn't been posterior and we didn't have those 2+ hours of, "Don't push." "I CAN'T!!", it would have been perfect.

So, I'm in my third trimester, preparing for baby and preparing the children for the changes (especially Michael). Schooling is good, but I feel like I need to begin including a few more subjects on a daily basis. This means longer school hours, but that's part of the sacrifices made when I decided to be their teacher. The girls love their school work and Katrina is very conscientious about completing an assignment before feeling the freedom to go play. Both girls struggle with taking a long time to complete their work. Katrina because she is constantly distracted and Shiona because she is terribly meticulous! Its incredibly rewarding seeing the progress and their love for certain subjects grow. Reading is a challenge for Katrina, but she is definitely improving. If I spent more one on one time with Shiona she probably could be reading because she has a natural understanding of the sounds. But, I never like to put undo pressure on myself or the kids. I take things in stride and tackle one thing at a time or I'll get overwhelmed and be no good to anybody. I am not one of those amazing mothers whose kids read by the age 4, speak several languages, play musical instruments at 3, keep a husband and 10 kids happy and feed in a well organized home. I struggle to get meals ready on time and kids to bed at decent hours on a daily basis. It's humbling, but knowing my limitations and faults rather than denying them helps me improve.

Seth has been taking the last while off work. It's so nice having him around a lot. He's always incredibly helpful and just his presense makes the day go better. He stays busy with projects around the house, small jobs here and there and helping friends and family out when they need his expertise and manpower. He'll even school the girls for me from time to time. It's great because I've felt like I need so much sleep during this pregnancy and he's able to watch the kids and give me a nap when I need one.

Katrina is such a big girl now. Very helpful and a wonderful big sister, but a little bossy and somewhat of a know-it-all at times. She has always been a high-demand child ever since she was a baby. She needs lots of encouragement, discipline, love and understanding. She can't be treated like the books say (Chrisian or non) or we quickly loose her heart. It requires a very patient, loving and firm hand to raise her and a constant communion with the Lord seeking His wisdom. Seth has very good insight and understanding with how to deal with her and I'm also going to him often to get his counsel on how to handle certain issues. She is very bright and spunky and is always the first to notice a need and try to meet it. Such a blessing and we love her so much.

Shiona is definitely becoming a great big sister too. She doesn't naturally initiate games with Michael or feel the responsibilities of looking out for him like Katrina has, but those qualities are definitely developing. Although she is generally easy going and doesn't make waves, it's sometimes a challenge to get through to her. Although she has surprised both Seth and me with how quick her intellect is, she just doesn't pay attention if she doesn't want to. If I'm trying to really convey the seriousness of something wrong she has done, it's difficult to read if it's actually making an impression or if she is just saying "yes ma'am" because she knows she needs to. The only way I know is by observing her actions afterwards, and in that respect she has shown improvement. I feel like she can sometimes get lost between Katrina needing so much attention and Michael being the baby and getting more too. We try to make special efforts to single her out and give her the attention she needs, but we have to be deliberate often. Just because she doesn't demand it doesn't mean she doesn't need it.

Michael is going through my absolute favorite stage (between 18 and 30 months). Everything is so exciting and new for the child and I find them terribly adorable in everything they do. I could squeeze and kiss them all day long. He recently had a vocabulary growth spurt and is just talking up a storm now. He is pretty good at annunciating, but there are times I have no clue what he is asking for or talking about. Usually someone can help me decipher what he is saying or I'll ask him to show me and he does. He is all boy in his interests - cars and large vehicles like tractors, dinosaurs, digging in the mud, collecting rocks and throwing them and playing outside as much as possible. He adores his Daddy still, but he went through a very rough, clingy stage when I was weaning him and then he got sick. It was pretty pathetic. But he is back to his normal, cheerful self and wants to go to work with daddy and help him with projects all the time. He is so proud just holding a tool and watching Seth work. :)

I'm in my last trimester and just focusing on staying healthy and getting everything ready. Pregnancy takes quite a toll on my body, especially as I tend to have large babies and I'm pretty small. Learning from each previous pregnancy has really helped me be aware of how my body responds to different methods. Being pregnant is fun, but I'm not going to be sad when it's over! I'm enjoying the Spring coming and it always makes me itch to do some gardening. I really don't do much at all, but I love to try.

I could go on and on, but I need to get the day going. So, there is an overview of how we are doing and what is going on with us these days. Maybe I'll be a little more on top of my updates from now on, but we'll see. :)

And now Michael...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nursing Strikes - Oh Joy

Well, it had to happen eventually. After two very prodigious nursers Michael had to come and change things up this third time around. He began teething again last week and refused to nurse, much to EVERYONE chagrin. Oh my, at first he only refused one side. That's fine, I've had that happen before and I can deal with it. Then he refused nursing at all during the daytime and could only be duped into nursing when he was sleeping in the middle of the night. Very frustrating, but I pumped a little to relieve the pressure. Then for a few days he decided to not nurse at all not even during the night, but just let us all know how unhappy his was with his new teeth and how tired he was and how he wished that everyone would leave him alone and let him go back to sleep after an hour or two of wailing. Fun times. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Yes, he accepted nursing several times yesterday and it is looking better and better. I hope I don't have to endure another nursing strike again - ever!

Seth has begun a big job and loves his work so much. After being off for a while he was itching to get back into the swing of things. He comes home so happy but exhausted. He is a man made to work. He can't be idle or it frustrates him. He loves his job and he does it extraordinarily well.

Katrina is learning to read a little more proficiently. It takes a lot or practice and patience on both our parts, but I try to entice her with the promise that oncde she learns to read on her own she will be allowed to stay up till 9:00pm in her bed reading books. Oh the anticipation!

Shiona is my little monkey. She is coming more and more out of her little world and becoming more aware of people and things around her. She has become a lot more affectionate too. This is so special because she doesn't just dole out hugs and kisses for the asking. She is very scholastic and loves her school work. Plus, she is continuing to understand her responsibilities as a big sister and step up to the plate more.

Michael is still not crawling and is only rolling over from belly to back - STILL!!!! Ok, I'm really not worried. I know guys develop slower than girls and that he is a big boy. It's gonna be harder for him to lug his 22lb ball of chub around than most smaller babies. He stands well, though, but still needs support. What I love so much about him is that he seems to have an adult sense of humor. For example, I put Seth's hat on him and told him lets go show Dada. He tried to grab it off, but I said, no, let's show Dada. He got this smile of anticipation on his face and kept lightly patting the hat. It was like he knew it would be humorous and couldn't wait to see Daddy's face! He also is extremely alert to what is going on around him. He reminds me of Katrina in that not much escapes his notice.

I am just a busy, happy housewife, mother, teacher, sister, daughter, friend, etc... just doing the things I love best and get most fulfillment out of. I enjoy schooling the girls and keeping the house tidy. I love playing with Michael and exercising and cleaning and teaching the girls little chores. I love being a homemaker...except for the cooking part. I'm really no good at it and suffer from lack of creativity and inspiration often. *Sighs* But my family does not starve and we get along all right.

When Seth comes home I can't wait to put the kids down and have a wonderful, relaxing evening with him. We enjoy our home so much that even though we get a date every Thursday evening, we will often decide to stay home and just have the children watched while we relax at the house. It is the most wonderful thing to be married to your best friend and lover. He is completely the most incredible guy I ever have met. I love him so much more deeply now than ever before. I can't imagine how my love will magnify with each passing year of knowing him better and having memories and special times that keep our hearts knit together. Our marriage has had some very big ups and some big downs, too, but thanks be to God each time we come through things much more stronger and deeply in love.

I recently advised Suzanne on a plan for losing weight. She took it and ran with it and so far has dropped over 8lbs. She is such a walking success story that several people have asked for advice, help and a copy of the plan I made for her. I'm just so proud of Suzanne for being so committed and sticking with it, cause it isn't easy! Her goal is to be down to her ideal size by Mary's wedding and I think she'll make it if she stays focused. I hope people don't think I'm obsessed, but fitness is a passion of mine. I love to stay fit and learn all I can about proper eating and exercising but I also love encouraging others and imparting what I've learned on to them. It is especially challenging as mothers to find the time to stay fit and keep everything else going. I know that just a few kind words of encouragement have meant the world to me and have challenged me to keep going, be strong, stay focused and not be discouraged. I love knowing I can do the same for others.

I'm going through a woman's Bible study booklet by myself and have been so challenged by it. I love the meat in scripture. The stuff that really hits home and convicts and turns my eyes off myself (where they seem to be constantly) and onto the Lord and depend on His strength to help me through all the trials and things that come my way big or small. I am sharing some of the information from this little Bible study booklet on my other blog site I've entitled the blog site "Love in Action". It is intended for wives and mothers, but some single girls to read and comment too.

And I must sign off - plenty of things to do today, so I must not dawdle.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We're Still Here!

No, we haven't fallen off the face of the planet, but we have been too "bogged" down to "blog". :) (Lame, I know!) Anyway, here are a few things the have been going on in our little world...

1. Michael turned 7 months old and christened it with the emergence of two adorable bottom teeth. Yes, two at the exact same time - poor kid! He has developed a strong aversion to baby food and would prefer to dine on turkey, green beans and mashed potatoes like us regular people. He fusses so badly watching me fit colorful morsels of varies sizes and textures into my mouth while he has to endure mush-like carrots, peas and the likes. No, not even a teething biscuit will suffice. He must sense it is meant for babies and will therefor get very little satisfaction from it. I remember this well. My other children preferred to graduate to more adult-like food very soon after food was even introduced into their diet, so to speak. I like it better this way, anyhow. Less baby food to purchase and I can move right on to simply mashing up normal food or cooking vegetables a little longer to make them softer for him, or giving him tiny pieces off my plate. (Please withhold your comments about how you made your own baby food. It will only make me feel inferior as I know I should, but opt out instead for convenience - hey, it's organic now, organic!)

2. I have officially gotten down to "pre-Michael" weight. Now, as that is something to rejoice about I still was carrying around about 4 pounds more than I care to, so I'm still working on it, but I'm so happy all the extra from the previous pregnancy is OFF!!! (sure took long enough...grumble, grumble)

3. Seth is enjoying his MMA classes and I must say is doing smashingly (pun intended...sort-of:). Previously he'd come back and tell me he got tapped out hundreds of times but now he's telling me he's tapping all these other guys out and hardly getting tapped out himself. I knew he'd be a natural at this! Also, there is a guy there almost 400lbs and Seth grapples with him and sometimes gets him into submissions! Since Seth is one of the bigger guys in the group he often will "roll" (their termonology for grappling) with this guy though others refuse. Seth knows working with a bigger guy will improve his skills and strength.

4. My precious girls are just that - girls. The enjoy giggling, dressing up, baking cookies, coloring and playing pretend. They also adore Michael and smother him with their efforts be "momma". Katrina is always talking about us having lots more babies and when she grows up having a lot too! Shiona is still learning about being the big sister and is becoming quite the little helper.

5. Oh yeah, I turn *coughs* 27 *coughs* a few weeks back. Seems like all the sudden I sound older, like an actual adult instead of a "youth" though I certainly never see myself like that. I think I stopped aging in my mind at 20 or so.

So, to end this I will add a few holiday pics of us. We had a wonderful time visiting with siblings that live far away or go to college and hanging out with friends and family that we love.

Ok, weird. Strike that last paragraph. Apparently I haven't downloaded the holiday pics from my camera yet. Oh well...later!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Well, we've already had quite a busy few weeks and it's not even Christmas yet! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my Uncle and Aunt's beautiful new home. Some relatives from out of town flew in and even Mary's boyfriend's family (the Bowmens) spent Thanksgiving in NC celebrating with all of us Graydons and some Dienstfreis. It was a lot of fun and Seth set up something special for the kids in the evening. He built a blazing fire in the large fireplace in my father's courtyard and then bought graham crackers, hershys and marshmallows and told Bible stories while the kids enjoyed s'mores. It was so fun that eventually everyone join in...right around the time we had to leave to get the kids to bed. :( That's life as a parent, though.

We then enjoyed another Thanksgiving at the Robinson's with the Westbrooks. It's such fun getting together with the Westbrooks. Kristen and I love to visit, especially when Mom (Mrs. Robinson) can join us as well. And the children play, play, play like there is no tomorrow. Kristen initiated a jog for us ladies while Seth and Chris (Seth's cousin) watched all 7 children! We jogged for about a mile then I had to drop out to check on Michael (so I said :) but Kristen and Mrs. Robinson continued for another couple miles, I think. Such stamina!

Next, we left very suddenly for a quick trip to New Bern with some of my family. It was like a mini vacation. We love New Bern. The kids always say they want to move there! Anyway, it was fun except I actually felt under the weather for a day. Seth let me sleep a lot and I think that helped me be able to kick it quickly.

And now for the exciting news...several, in fact.

1. Seth is beginning to take some MMA (mixed martial arts) classes here in Danville. A school just opened up and I really encouraged Seth to try it out since it is such a passion of his. He went several night this past week and loved it! I rarely see him get so excited, but he really is enjoying this. However, he has already sustained several injuries. It isn't so much because of inexperience as it is grappling with a 380lb guy! Yep, and since Seth is such a trooper he wouldn't say no! He has done it several times, but this time he suffered a shoulder separation and now has to rest up for a while. Seth's naturally very good at this sort of thing. The guy even asked him if he was a ringer (someone who is experienced, but claims they aren't)!

2. And on to the even more monumental news...Mary is engaged to Fred Bowmen! Yes, it finally happened and we are so happy for them. They are looking at a wedding possibly in late April. I absolutely love weddings, especially when it is my sister's! I'm looking forward to helping out any way I can. Yay!

3. Michael turned 6 months old today! He is so precious and has already enjoyed eating solids, sitting for brief periods without support, rolling over, reaching for toys and holding onto them for long periods of time, babbling and many more little feats!

Ok, so I am going to attempt to upload a few pics. I really need to get good at this because picture make a blog post SO WAY more interesting (or so I think when I read other people's blogs).

Here is me and Michael at the Robinsons

Mom and Kristen (notice Seth doing dishes in the background? He's terrific!)

A Graydon, Robinson, Dienstfrei family photo!

My wonderful parents

Haley holding her nephew - both beautiful!

My baby boy is 6 months old!

Seth reading stories to the kids on Thanksgiving

Katrina and Shiona with Abby

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Week of Colds

I wrote this Monday, but didn't get around to posting it till today (Friday) Sorry!

So, this past week began with high hopes for different goals and projects to be accomplished, but was quickly detoured by a bout of sickness. Michael was the first to show signs of sickness then a couple days later Shiona was hit hard. Katrina barely showed anything beyond restless nights and congestion. So basically this past week was a blur of sleepless nights and what we like to call "sicky bears". I know any mother has experienced this scenario countless times over, so details are unnecessary. All I will say is that I felt sleep-deprived for the better part of the past week. Thankfully my wonderful husband was able to help out and I got several badly needed naps! Also, the children didn't catch anything beyond a typical cold. I'm so thankful to the Lord for sparing us from a bad virus or even the flu! Actually Michael and Shiona only seemed miserable one day each and like I said earlier Katrina barely appeared sick save a few symptoms. But symptoms linger for a long time, so we're still seeing runny noses and congestion.

So now that the kids are getting better Seth is getting worse! Poor man! He probably wore himself out helping me so much with the children. Unfortunately he just so happens to be starting a new job this week. Wouldn't you know it? He's been taking it easy and not taking a lot of jobs lately, but as soon as he gets one going he might have to put it off for a week. Oh well, God's timing isn't ours, but it IS perfect!

So, with the lack of sleep and the tending to sick children I really didn't have all that much time to exercise. I tried to fit in a small exercise routine in every day, but it wound up being less than half an hour usually and sometimes no more than 15 minutes. I mostly used my kettlebell and only did Burn it Up once this past week. However, I was still checking the scale every now and then and it showed I lost another pound. BUT, when I officially weighed myself Monday I was back to 107. I think maybe the other readings were due to dehydration because I wasn't drinking a lot of water. Anyhow, I'm rebooting back to week 4 since I don't consider last week part of the Slim in Six.

And I'm signing off...

Monday, November 9, 2009

What's up, Doc?

Well, things have been pretty fun here lately. We've done the whole pumpkin patch, corn maze, hikes in the woods with the fallen leaves crunching under our shoes and many other fall-related activities. It's been such beautiful weather and we're trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

Seth recently injured his right ankle. We think he tore a ligament, so he's been down for a few days. He doesn't complain much, but I know it hurt him a lot. However, he is a very fast healer and is already up and around more than I would have thought at this stage of recovery.

I'm on my second week of Slim in 6. Yes, I've lost one more pound, so now I am at 107. Still was hoping for 2 pounds. I worked out 5 days and even worked out twice on Saturday. However, I know for a fact I ate a lot more than I should have two days in a row. I felt very hungry and didn't make very nutritious decisions, either. I know I was kind-of shooting myself in the foot by doing that. This week I am supposed to begin the "Burn It Up" section of the exercise program. It is very intense and an hour long. It is hard enough to find 45 minutes, let alone a whole hour that is uninterrupted. I've been doing a lot of my workouts in the evenings when the children are asleep, but I don't like that as much because it takes away from my time with Seth, which I always look forward to and relish. He's been so sweet to sacrifice that time with me too and he has sometimes even joined me in the exercises! I also picked up a 15lb kettlebell that I can use when I need to just get a quickie in.

The children are doing just beautifully. So far no one has caught any of the sickness going around. The Lord has been very gracious to us! However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Michael may be coming down with something this evening. Poor guys. His nose was dripping a little bit and he seemed out of sorts. I pray it is nothing serious.

Schooling with Katrina has been difficult this past week or two. I don't know how it happened, but it seemed like I got really behind in all the household chores and couldn't find time to get much schooling in. Hopefully this week will go better. It is so much fun to see her try to sound out every word she sees now. She is really trying to read! I'm so excited for her!

Michael is still not rolling over! It is soooo cute to see him try. I think it is harder for him because he is heavier than my girls were at his age. He is still such a good, content baby. He smiles at his daddy all the time and gets a kick out of the girl's silliness. He seems to be getting pretty strong and I can tell sitting is just around the corner! He had his first hair cut tonight. I just trimmed the long part on the top of his head that was looking like a mohawk (sp?)! He also has discovered food and really protests when we are eating and he can't enjoy some little tidbits. :)

Shiona has discovered the joys of solitude. She has recently begun finding a quite spot and playing by herself for hours. I think she enjoys the fact that she can play and not be bossed around by her older sister. She loves pretending she has a little family and they are almost always Uncle Jonathan, Aunt Denise and Elyana. Whenever I offer to join in she tells me I can be Uncle Jonathan! I think it is good for her to play by herself, but I also don't want her to seclude herself for too long and not cooperate with her sister or interact with the family. She is responding better to my corrections and I've noticed her "memory" of things I tell her to do or not to do has improved lately.

Well, it is late and I haven't exercised this evening. I don't know if I'll make it through the Burn It Up tonight, but I'm off to try.

Wish me a good nights sleep - or better yet, wish Michael one! :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slim in 5 :)

Ok, so here is the update how my exercise program is going:

I after this past week of beginning Slim in 6 I have lost a grand total of (drum roll, please)..........1 pound. Ha! I was hoping for two, but I'll take what I can get. The first week is pretty easy and not very intense, plus I am trying to not cut my calories too low so my milk supply won't drop. I exercised 5 out of 7 days. I'll let you know how it goes this week.