Tuesday, November 2, 2010

C'est la Vie


One month. I can't believe it has been a month since we brought Lola Colette home from the hospital. My days and nights are running together and flying by. Some things are going really well, some aspects of life could use a little improvement.

Six weeks of awful coughing, non-breathing, non-sleeping sickness took its toll around here. And, of course, it was spread out over a long period of time between the three boys and myself, so the sleep deprivation was tough, not to mention there was a newborn baby in the middle of all that. Leif was last, also ending up in urgent care and home with 3 prescriptions including an inhaler. (I'm beyond thankful (and incredulous, to be honest) that Lola managed to escape without getting sick!)

Just as Leif was beginning to mend, Russ lost his job. Needless to say, life has been a tad chaotic. Routine has completely evaded us. It has been nice to have Russ around more often, but he is trying to work (his own consulting business) from home as well as do other home projects. Current family life looks much different from our usual M.O. The boys think it is one long weekend, and I'm completely distracted by Lola.

School is hit and miss. Again, I'm so thankful for Classical Conversations. We've managed to stay on track with classes and review. I feel that the boys have learned (and retained) a large quantity of quality material. All three of them have benefited from (even if not transitioned smoothly and expertly to) the classroom atmosphere, organization, and regulation. Leif, in particular, seems to excel at learning in a social environment. Though it has been a little tough for me to get everything together and get out of the house with all the children on Monday mornings with a smile on my face, I've benefited greatly from the routine and accountability. I'm so thankful that my mom has been there every week to help, and Russ has made it a few weeks, as well.

I wish (as usual) that there were more hours in a day (& night!). I want so badly to document these early days, but time for pictures and posting is swallowed up with other things. I just want to be like Ariana at My Sweet Chaos. She documents her days in detail (with tons of fabulous photos) even with a newborn, three other children (including a toddler!), homeschooling, emergency hospital visits, multiple classes and activities, and no sleep. How does she do it?!

I'm most disappointed in my lack of picture taking. It turns out I'm a newborn-photo-taking failure. Multiple issues are against me:

1. My technical skills. The lighting in particular is killing me.

2. My house. It is fairly clean (no thanks to me, but to my excellent help, Olive), but really little and full of STUFF. The regular stuff of life (boys, laundry, books, paperwork) and the stuff of un-done projects and to-do lists. Even the stuff that is nice and necessary (furniture, decor) feels claustrophobic lately and looks like clutter in photos. I have no creative options, no blank space to work with. It feels like, here, let's take a photo on the couch again. Or let's shake things up and take a photo on my bed. Again. Wahoo.

3. My perfectionist, control-freak tendencies. Let's not dwell on those...

4. The weather. This combined with #1 and 2 (and 3), is a disaster. My best photos are taken with natural, outdoor lighting. It's been dark and cold (and often rainy). Not possible with a newborn, and even the lighting indoors suffers greatly.

5. My dressing-the-newborn-in-adorable-clothing-failure. Really. Cute bracelets, headbands, shoes? Nope. I don't even get her out of hand-me-down jammies. Seriously. She doesn't like to get dressed/undressed, I don't like to go out of the house, and she spends much of the day sleeping. It seems like a waste to get her out of those comfy jammies.

6. Speaking of sleeping, don't you just love those gorgeous photos of sleeping babies in all sorts of creative poses? How do they get the babies to stay peacefully asleep? Especially all naked like that? Lola sleeps in jammies, swaddled in a pea-green blanket (does wonders for her complexion, not), in her black and gray carrier, with a huge WARNING label right by her face. Charming, huh?

I'm sure I could come up with a few other excuses, but we'll leave it at that for now. One of these days I'll document my real life minute by minute with pictures. It'll be riviting and stylish, I'm sure.

But isn't Lola a doll? I'm consumed with love.

Lola 2

I can't imagine life without her. I could spend all day kissing on her. But as I have other children (whom I love) and a few other things on the dreaded to-do list, I am so thankful that she takes at least two really long naps every day.

She also is sleeping well at night. After three non-sleeping boys, my expectations may be very low, but she sleeps 4-5 hours straight for the first half of the night. Last night she slept 6 hours, nursed for a few minutes, and then slept another 3 hours. Considering the fact that Leif didn't nap for 5 minutes without being held, and I co-slept/nursed him all night long just to survive, I'm in heaven.

Nursing is going well. In a perfect world, I would gather my boys around us while they sat peacefully listening to me read aloud. (P.S. Does it surprise you to know I don't live in that world?) In another ideal world, I would have finished off my reading list for 2010. (Nope. Don't live there, either.) In MY world, I've watched 3 seasons of Psych on Netflix Instant Play. It's my personal brand of Prozac. Cracks. Me. Up.

Lola 3

Oh, lookie, there. It's Lola. On my bed. In hand-me-down jammies. Again.

I don't know how much she weighs. It's an hour round-trip to the doctor's to weigh her, so we'll wait for her 2 month appointment because I'm lazy like that.

Her fingers are so long and beautifully thin. My boys had baby paws. I don't know where she got the gorgeous fingers. Certainly not from me. Now, if she can just get Russ's eyelashes, which all 3 of the boys managed to snag, she'll be set.

She is just beginning to do the sweet cooing thing and giving hints of smiles.

Lola 1

I really must go feed a baby and get everyone in bed. The rest of my ramblings will have to wait.


~beautyandjoy~ said...

Heidi, She is beautiful! And the photo of the three boys doing life with her right by them on the couch gave me a big lump in my throat. It's that sweet.

I've actually been thinking about you so much this week. We are on week four of similar crud and today after my eighth day in bed and kids on that bed with me watching the third educational dvd of the day, I kept thinking a) how does Heidi do this with FOUR and b) if Heidi did this with four I can make it.

Sending you grace, grins and big thank yous! : )

Unknown said...

Something about this post reminded me of when my Sadie was still a newborn and I'd keep pinching myself to make sure that having this sweet baby girl was really for real (after three boys, you know!). Sigh...I can't believe she's 15 months already!!!

Enjoy your days!!! Praying that your hubby can work well at home along with everyone else.

Jen~ Lipstick and Laundry said...

WoW you have had a LOT going on and then add a newborn on top of that... You actually make it sound easy... Hang in there mom...

Catherine Anne said...

So much going on in your world. Prayers and thoughts going your way. What a beautiful blessing you have there. I LOVE the pic of the kiddos playing.

Susan said...

What a beautiful precious little girl. Praying that you will be encouraged. Maybe you could take her to your moms or sisters house if the lighting is better there. Make a plan for a Lola photo shoot. Dress her up, bows, shoes etc. Maybe having a plan like that and executing one special photo event will make you feel better.

Heasleye said...

Love the update, Heidi. Love the pics. Love your family. Love you! You're doing an awesome job. Really.


Jenn said...

So precious! Adorable! You're doing a great job, mama!

Andrea Katolin said...

Hi Heidi,
I'm usually a lurker on your blog but I have to say you are not giving yourself enough credit especially in the picture department. I read your reasons for not getting the best newborn pics and then paged down in my reader to your previous "super girl" post! Those pictures made me laugh and smile and wish I had attempted something close with my little girl. She is absolutely stunning!

Jen Rouse said...

Yikes! That is a lot going on. Do your best to just enjoy what you can and don't stress about the number of photos you're taking. I try to tell myself that my youngest has way fewer photos than my oldest...but with those older siblings of hers, it means that all her life she's been surrounded by way more people who adore her. Everything's a trade-off, and I like to think this is an OK one.

~beautyandjoy~ said...

PS I meant to say something about Russ' job, too - just coming back to say you have my prayers for that. That is huge. <3

Molly Anne said...

That last photo of the smile (the hinted smile) had me melted like butter on hot toast.

Psych really is like a prozac, isn't it?

And just today I realized I only have two months to finish my reading list for 2010 and I just don't think I'm going to quite finish. But at least I'll be close.

Glad you are surviving and thriving!

Timi said...

She is so lovely and beautiful!!!

Rebecca said...

Girl~ I could have WRITTEN this post! It is uncanny. I am a newborn photo failure too, and for all the same reasons. (I am NOT looking forward to winter when the lighting absolutely ROTS and we are all freezing. :-)) Which is SO disappointing because I so look forwarded to that early on. Now, I look forward to going to bed! ha!

Praying your Hubs has a successful at-home business. I only *wish* my husband would hurry up on the at home business thing. (He is leaving me for a WEEK next week. And oh yeah-he was GONE the whole week LAST week!) Not. Fun.

Anyway. Glad for the update. I am SO glad I am not alone. Be well and stay smiling!

carole said...

Ah, yes, the Real World of Motherhood, coupled with The Fourth Baby Reality (why take her out of compfy pj's?). :) I can relate exactly to the small house lots of stuff and ... WHERE to take an uncluttered photo problem? :)
Lola is adorable! And the boys all look so big in that photo!

Ruth said...

What a blessing to have a newborn who sleeps so well! Long lasting sickness takes quite awhile to get over. I will say that after having three boys as well, it took me a fairly long time to get used to dressing my girl in all the cute clothes the right way. If she's happy in her cute jammies, then it's all good right? I think the photos you have posted are just lovely!

Psych is great! I can always depend on their silliness to lift my mood!

Kels said...

Well Heidi, the longer I read your blog, the more alike we are!!! It sounds to me like your just a wonderful woman, teacher, homeschoooling Momma!!! The best kind, the one that teaches kids real life lessons and that life isn't always perfect! Capturing as many of those special memories & moments you can on film.

The perfect days are made when we do what we want, what we love, with those we love, what is really important and learn from it.

I know it's probably scary with Russ losing his job. My husband lost his job 2 years ago September, and in the end looking back it was 3 1/2 of the nicest, mellowist, closest months of our marriage. We hunkered down and got some projects done around the house, spent wonderful quality time together almost every day, the kids had the most incredible time learning with and from Daddy. Live in the moment and don't let it bother you if a thing or two aren't perfect! What is perfect anyways??? ;) In a few months you'll look back and realize (although maybe stressful at the moment) how perfect this time was!!!

Kimberly said...

Hi! You don't know me but I've been following your blog for a while now. A friend directed me to it when I told her we were planning to homeschool and were interested in the classical method. Your blog has been a wealth of helpful information/inspiration! Most recently, introducing us to Classical Conversations. I'd never heard of it before you mentioned it. I took a look at the website, showed it to my husband, and next thing we knew, we were at an info meeting and signing our kids up. We both think it is awesome and the kids love it! On a recent visit to my parents, my dad and his friend were amazed at all the different facts my 6 and 4 yr old could rattle off.
On another note, your pictures of Lola with the picture frame, Gorgeous! I love photography and have looked at lots of it and never seen anything like that before. So creative!
Thanks for sharing all of your homeschool know-how, book lists, and photography!
~K in MN

Ps. Love Psych! It's one of the few shows I watch.

Audra said...

Oh my. Fun times! I remember having my first daughter (after 2 boys) and you do want to dress them up and take all sorts of darling photographs. Compound that with me being a professional portrait photographer and it was a recipe for major guilt. Some stuff just isn't possible. And I wasn't homeschooling yet! I had to (and still have to) accept that fed, fairly clean children tucked in their beds after a day of playing (playing to them, chaos to me) is good enough. Good enough sure is hard pill to swallow for a recovering perfectionist though. I'll be thinking of you as you continue to adjust and get healthy again!

Suzanna said...

ha! I have a girl a month older than Lola and two little boys...I know what you mean! And I'm not even schooling yet. Hand-me-down jammies, no light and no blankets. She didn't see the doc until two months either. :) I hear ya.

I love your blog! Thanks for the beauty and inspiration. And book lists! Hang in there.


Renee said...

Love that you can laugh at it all. I think we have similar personalities...I too have to fight the perfectionsim. But I am so glad that you are not letting all of the other things get in the way of enjoying her. Just relish it! She's darling-hand me down pjs and all!

Anonymous said...

hi heidi.....loved your post. a little bit of everything! and don't sell yourself short - you're doing a GRAND job!

sorry to hear about russ's job. i've been married for 15 years, and i've been in a similar situation more times than i care to remember. i know it's hard to look ahead because you're worried about the here and now and paying your bills, but God always led my husband to something better. hang in there!


Stephanie said...

I hear you. : ) I just had #4 as well and you are speaking my heart! Hang in there and love on that precious baby.

Anonymous said...

Heidi, your pics are amazing! Thank you for sharing! I am loving every one...

Sorry to hear about Russ' job... ugh! However, God is good...stay strong in Him and Thank you again for your sharing and 'keeping it real' Praying for you and your family!

ps my hair is a little longer than yours and curly (which is common following chemo) I am just saying...that 5 months ago I was bald and you were my beautiful short hair friend! Thanks for your beauty!!!

Love, Connie in Tualatin