Happy Birthday, Solly!

Today my precious Solly Wolly turns ONE! This year has been a total blur, loaded with all kinds of things. Rather than focusing on all of the huge changes our family has gone through and the hardships we’ve faced, I’d like to say how blessed we are to have had Solly along for the ride. He is an amazingly content, positive little dude, and he fits into our family so well. He requires and asks for so little, which is not only helpful, but reminds me to slow down in the times that he very clearly needs me to. I know that he means it when he asks for something. He’s so clear. I’m amazed by him on a daily basis.

While I’m saying the year has been a blur, the day he was born is not.

I will NEVER forget that day. It was relaxed and happy, which was perfectly fitting, because so were you 🙂

I was so smitten with you the moment I found out you were growing in my womb, but MAN! Meeting you was a complete game changer! You were soft and smooth and comfy and relaxed. You were HUGE. Almost as big as your record-holding brother. I am so thankful I was able to have you eight days early 😉 You were complication-free, and just wanted to sleep, which your dad and I were happy to comply with. Anything for the baby.

You’ve changed a lot since that day. Who knew a person could continue getting cuter past the point of average adorability?? You set the bar pretty high, my boy!

Thank you for joining our family and sharing all of your love with us! I love your heart, Solomon Brady. I hope you feel all of our love right back for you! Your daddy and I love you in a way you won’t likely grasp until you have babies of your own, and your siblings have a very protective love for you as well. I happen to know MANY other people out there who are quite fond of you, as well.

You are loved dearly. I hope your day is so happy.

A New Setup!

I’ve been reaching a point of frustration with the fact that Solly is still in our room. I love the little guy, but he wakes up unreasonably early in the morning, and while we’ve been sleep training him forever, he consistently wakes up around 4:30am. And FOR SURE for sure if Brady is getting up for work. Its a guarantee, and I’m super duper not a fan. I’ve been starting to feel desperate to get him out of our room, but we just do NOT have a room for him! We’ve been waiting to bunk him in with Laela, but 4:30 is just too too early for her. We thought his mornings would get a bit longer as he got used to not getting up in the night, but they aren’t. As the days are getting longer (which we LOVE) the mornings are getting brighter earlier, successfully (you guessed it!) waking the baby earlier. We are SO over it.

This weekend, in discussion with Brady’s parents, I joked that we should just put the three older kids in one room together and then Solly could have his own room. And Brady and I just stared at each other. How have we not considered this before??

So yesterday evening, we rearranged the rooms! These are the before pictures. Please forgive the messy beds. I have yet to enforce bed-making, haha! Don’t judge!

The boys room is the top picture. Dekker’s bed and Rowan’s crib were actually end to end, but we had already moved the crib before I remembered to take pictures. No biggie, though. And then the bottom picture is the second, smaller bedroom. That’s Laela’s bed and a crib for Solly. But it just wasn’t happening.

So we switched to this!

Yup. We just lined them up, haha! All three kids fit across the room, with some space to get out between Laela and Dekker’s beds. At the end of Rowan’s crib is their dresser. Now, we haven’t committed to this change fully, so Laela’s clothes are still in her room, but if she’s going to stay in with the boys, we’ll move the clothes around and add her stuff in there somewhere too. Meanwhile, the second bedroom is just a crib and a big dresser, plus Laela’s end table and some bigger toys. Its kind of an awesome set up!

I likely don’t even have to say it, but the big kids agree that its an awesome set up 🙂

It took longer than usual for them to fall asleep, but no one expected anything different. It was funny to watch them and listen to them.

Solly is still not too concerned about his surroundings.

Is he the biggest burrito you’ve ever seen? Don’t hate on us for swaddling him still. He gets out of it instantly. Its more of an indicator for him that its bedtime than anything. We watched him on the monitor, too, and he crawled around his crib and chatted a little bit before succumbing to sleep. No crying or even fussing.

I only had one mild heart attack in the night, when Dekker came up to our room and told us Laela’s blanket had fallen off her bed. He was pretty distressed. He had tried to lift it back onto her bed for her but hadn’t been able to. Brady went down to help them and as it turns out, Laela had actually fallen out of bed, wrapped up in her blanket, and was still fast asleep! Brady lifted her back into bed and the night went on smoothly. WAY better than anticipated!

I woke up just before 7:00. I don’t remember my last uninterrupted sleep through until 7:00! I woke up with the sun and that was it. My first thought was to check the monitor. And it wasn’t on! I had a brief moment of “Oh no! Have they been awake for a super long time already??” But then I realized that the monitor was actually in sleep mode. As were ALL of our kids!!!

I lay back and rested and lay around and wasted some time on my phone. Then I got up, put on deodorant, brushed my teeth, and put on clothing straight out of my closet! As in NONE of it was worn yesterday and/or the day before! It was all fresh! This sounds small, but its a pretty big deal when someone lives in your closet. Or wakes up every time you open the door to your bathroom. I swear, guys, it was a whole new world! Finally around 8:30, the kids were awake and talking. Well, the big kids were. Solly had a brief moment where he stood and talked a bit, and then plunked back down and went back to sleep. Again, no fussing or crying at all. It was amazing!

I went down and got the big kids up and they got on breakfast. Solly woke up with the general hubbub, and our day began. I do not expect every night to go quite this smoothly, but I am THRILLED with how the first night went. I am encouraged and hopeful that this setup will be good for the kids, and in turn, for Brady and I. I see a new, earlier schedule in our future with this new arrangement, but I can roll with that 🙂

Today feels refreshing. I hope you all got some good rest last night as well!

Back in the Swing of Things

The weekend has passed and we are into a regular work week. Brady got up for work unreasonably early, as always, and Solly woke up right around the same time. He sleeps through quite nicely, but MAN those super early mornings just suck, and we need him to sleep longer. Its a process, I know that, but I’m starting to feel a little bit crazy. We HAVE to get him out of our room soon. So Brady broke our rule (I was in full agreement, by the way) and instead of letting Solly babble for the next hour or two, he fed him some milk. Solly easily went back to sleep, and I was able to sleeeeep! As were the other kids. Solly’s early mornings are just killing us and we all needed a bit more sleep this morning. I woke up feeling SO refreshed, and the older kids were in noticeably better moods. Solly also slept until 11:00-ish, which was pretty awesome. Upon talking to Brady, I learned that he’s also feeling rested and optimistic about our week. Today just feels like a good day.

However, with being busy all weekend, it felt a bit sad that Brady had to go back to work already today! Made me a taaad bit mopey, but nothing I can’t handle. Thankfully, my mom’s afternoon plans changed at the last minute and she ran over to spend the afternoon with me and the kids! It made the afternoon go by so nice and quickly. It was also made nice by Brady deciding to come home a bit earlier than usual. He came bearing slurpees and positivity. He and I visited with my mom in the living room for a little while before she headed home to get supper on the go. It was SUCH a nice way to spend the afternoon!

Now that the house is waking up and the nappers are napping no longer, we’re about to attack our project of the day! A project that I’m not going to share about quite yet, haha! But hopefully I’ll have pictures for tomorrows post 🙂

This week will be a fairly busy one for us, but this has been a lovely kick off into it. I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Monday like I have. Feel refreshed! What else can we take from the wind if not some refreshment 😉

Grandpa and Grandma Day

Brady’s parents spent the day with us 🙂 It was a super low key, relaxed day. Which was exactly what we needed, it turns out. Solly woke up SO early and Brady and I felt super exhausted, and as the day wore on, it was clear he had woken his siblings super early by default and they were equally exhausted.

We had a brunch of waffles, strawberries, and breakfast sausage, and not too long after that, the little boys went down for naps. They didn’t nap especially long, but while they did, we sat and visited for a while, but eventually moved to the table for a couple of games of cards. Dekker and Laela were growing crustier by the minute so we let them rest up a bit in front of the tv, which was nice.

When the whole fam jam was up and at ’em, Brady’s parents offered to take our family out for dinner. We made a quick reservation and made it there for 5:00. It wasn’t the smoothest meal out, with Laela in specific being SO overtired. She did not eat a single bite of food. So I was pretty aware of us, but those of us who did eat enjoyed our food, and it was nice to get a change of scenery as well 🙂 Thanks for taking us out!

Bedtime was pretty loud and sad, but that was what we expected with how the day had gone for the kids. They were down on time, and the rest of us played a bit more cards, drank lattes, and ate bing cherries. Guys, they’re SO delicious already! I didn’t have a single sour one! Get on that!

We were all yawning pretty early, and Brady’s parents have a pretty long drive home tomorrow, so we packed it in early and said our goodbyes. Hopefully not too long before we visit again 🙂

Happy Family All Around

Today has been a surprisingly smooth, enjoyable day! To be fair, I was out and about for most of it, running errands and getting my hair done, so that kind of break is always a bit of a treat. But I got my errands done faster than I expected, and thanks to that, I spent a good chunk of time mall walking, drinking my Starbucks nice and slowly, shopping a tiny bit, and finally just taking a rest on a bench while I waited for my appointment. When it was my turn, I threw a new idea at my hair girl, and she told me she could make it happen! Excuse the poor quality picture, but here you have it!

It is SO vibrant and bright and dimensional and I LOVE it! It feels great and fresh and just funky enough. I’m super happy with it. It took a pretty long time to get it this way.

While I was gone, Brady had taken the big kids outside to bike on the road while the little boys slept, when our neighbour (who is SO sweet to us and our kids!) made her way over and invited the kids to come see the flowers she was planting. It was right around then when she offered to put the kids to work while Brady could get some other things done. What a gift, hey?? Completely unsolicited help from a loving friend. Brady took her up on it, and the kids played solidly in the garden for about 2.5 hours. At home, Brady installed the gate on the gate and did a few indoor jobs as well. I forgot to ask if I could post pictures of the kids in our neighbours yard so I won’t, but here was the “after” part of their afternoon out 🙂

See Laela’s moustache? Yup. She had a RIOT. I think Dekker figured out early that he didn’t like the taste of dirt, so there was less flinging on his part. Either way, I couldn’t be more grateful for how this afternoon turned out. What a gift to them.

I got home juuust after Brady’s parents arrived for the weekend! They’re out for a short visit this weekend, and made better time in their travels than I had bargained for, so I was a tad late. As you’d expect, though, they were already down on the floor, playing with the kids, totally entertained. Haha! No big loss with me being a touch late 🙂

We enjoyed a really nice evening together, with simple food, some presents, and a nice visit to catch up. However, our guests got up quite early and were a little road weary, so they headed out fairly early to their destination for night. One day, we’ll have guest rooms again, haha! But that day is not today, so they’ll be staying in a nearby town.

Time for some cards and a soak. Time to wind down. Which is tough, when my hair looks so fly. Don’t mind me.

Enjoying Friday

Our family has been in somewhat desperate need of a Costco shop recently, but we’ve been trying to hold off as long as possible. But we were finally at the point where we had no milk, yogurt, Cheerios, bananas, cheese, to name just our staples. We also are out of all fresh veggies, save for some cucumbers and old broccoli. It was just time. Brady and I had planned to take the kids into the city to run errands on Saturday, but when I called to book a hair appointment for the same day, the only time we could get it kind of messed up the plan to make a family day of it.

So I rather decided to take the kids in and just do Costco this morning. The rest of the errands were small “in and out” type of errands, so we planned that Brady could just do them on his way home. But as hard work would have it, he finished his work today in the late morning! So he met us in the Costco parking lot and we did the big shop together.

We both knew it was going to be a bigger shop today, and man, was it ever!! We dropped a good chunk of money there, and we didn’t even buy diapers this round! Shoot…did we need diapers? I have no idea. I hope not. But seriously, we bought SO much delicious fresh stuff! I find it so much easier to eat healthy in summer when the veggies are yummier and crispier and just so refreshing. In winter, I just want soup or potatoes, haha! Almost as healthy 😉 We stocked up well on grape tomatoes, baby carrots, snap peas, peppers, bananas, cherries, strawberries, and raspberries. We still have watermelon here at home so we left those behind, but I don’t think we’ll be hurting for fresh things anytime soon. I’m so hungry just thinking about all of it.

We were there at the perfect time of day, and walked right up to a till, where the Costco employees helped us unload our stuff. It all went super quick, which was perfect since Rowan was getting annoyed with Solly sitting beside him. Its such a funny adjustment for them, because I think Solly leans on him a little. Ro gets super annoyed, and leans back, squealing, “No, Yollyyyyy!” I love it. Lol!

Once everyone and everything was loaded into our bus, Brady joined us in the bus and we ran to do our few other errands. Our insurance place got us an AMAZING deal on our home insurance, so we went in and signed for that. We picked up a saw blade Brady was having sharpened for work. Probably the highlight was going to J&H and getting a gate for our deck! We just have to do some quick assembly and we’ll be good to go! I so anticipate being out there on the deck as a family, where Solly can join in without falling down the stairs or getting splinters in his knees when he crawls. Its going to make the deck just perfect, which is already isn’t too far from. We just have to grab our stacking patio chairs from my parents place where we’ve been storing them for the last year or so and we’ll be ready!

We got home, and the little boys were hurting for a nap. Surprisingly, so was Dekker. He got upset about one thing, and no matter what we did to calm him or snuggle him, as soon as we’d calm him back down, he’d work right back up. He was SO sad to go to bed, but its now been a solid 1.5 hours and we haven’t heard a peep from him. Once ALL of the boys were down, Brady seemed to lose his mojo, and he is now sleeping in Laela’s room, haha! So just she and I are hanging out 🙂 Its nice. I love her.

I’m going to go enjoy some more Laela cuddles before everyone wakes up for the evening. I hope you’re all enjoying your Fridays! Happy weekend!

Feet Up

It was a bit of a disjointed morning, resulting in fatigued children and a snippy Hailey. I’m trying, though, and I haven’t had any moments of regret yet, so I can proudly say I’ve succeeded this morning, with ALL of the glory going to God!

The upside of everyone melting down mid-morning is that everyone is napping!!! This happens almost never, and only really when the kids are all super sick (which happens often, apparently, but sickness doesn’t always equal napping 😉 ) So while the morning was a bit of a marathon, it was worth it. Here I am, in my living room, with my feet up, blogging and watching YouTube simultaneously. I’m doing a bit of research, as usual, and texting some friends. Its so peaceful. I love it, and I am already feeling refreshed. Could I still use some more coffee? For sure, haha! Today, there just won’t be enough coffee. And thats ok.

I hope you’re all doing well. This week has felt monstrous for some reason, and I feel like I haven’t connected with too many people. I am trying, thought, and thats the best we can all do, right?

Sorry about the shorty post 🙂 I want to really soak up my short alone time, haha! More tomorrow, as always.

Fighting Over Jobs

I hope this stage of life never ever ends. I know some more experienced parents than me will likely say that it will, but let me live in blissful ignorance for just a little bit longer.

My kids love to help. I am so grateful that he do, and that I haven’t had to push them to help, or make work a consequence yet. This morning really brought to light just how sweet of a thing it is, because its happened so much.

Rowan had rice krispies for breakfast, and it was a HUGE mess! That ridiculously light cereal was just all over the floor. I wish I could just add milk and make it a bit easier to stay in the spoon, but Ro still loves to secretly dig into his food with his hands when no one is looking, regardless of what it is, so that would be an even worse, stickier mess than the dry ones floating around on the floor. Once everyone was done, Dekker commented on the mess on the floor. I heard him mutter “We should do something about that,” and he wandered off. I heard the hall closet click and Dekker surfaced with the broom and dustpan. Now I don’t about you guys, but my kids cannot sweep. The tall broom and the coordination just isn’t there, and I am NOT complaining, because we all know Dekker is a great vacuumer! But he brought it out, and Laela and Rowan flocked to the scene. He organized a system and tried super hard, but couldn’t quite make it happen, and finally asked me for help. Of course, I did it right away while Dekker, the general contractor, observed the operation. Once it was done, Laela dumped out the contents of the dustpan into the garbage and Dekker put the broom away. Rowan asked “Favor? Me?” So I had to find him a favor to do for me, too!

Soon after that, I started doing the dishes, and the kids instantly rushed over to help. This particular load of dishes hadn’t dried well, and were still quite drippy. Also, there were a decent amount of knives. So I thanked them but said I would do this one on my own. Everyone kind of deflated, and Rowan asked “Please mommy.” I had to make a point to change my attitude here, and be ok with them helping making a bit more work for me, take them up on their offer to help. I never want to discourage their desire to do jobs with me. So I fished out all of the knives and let them go ham on the rest of it. And as per usual, they did awesome! I just had to clean up some puddles off the floor where dishes dripped when I would’ve normally tapped them off into the dishwasher or sink. Whatever. It took an extra five seconds. I’m so glad I let them help.

Beyond those things, all three big kids have just been actively in help mode, almost to a fault. If someone gets a job, I have to find one for everyone else. One person brings me a diaper, one person throws the dirty one away, and one person brings Solly a toy while I change him. Like its that specific. But I want to foster this desire in them SO MUCH. I don’t want to mess it up. I’ve been slowly trying to build an arsenal of ways to make that kind of thing easier for them, whether its some kitchen gadgets that are safe for kids and easy to use, that super light vacuum that isn’t great but that works enough that the kids can use, or using up wipes a little faster because they clean things easily. Best of all, the kids seem to really love it! I wish there was a way for them to get the laundry out of the washer, though. That is a job that is on everyone’s radar that I can’t let them help with :/

As I was writing this, I had to get up a number of times when Solly would be upset or to deal with one thing or another. I was recently having a chair snuggle with Solly when I had to jump up and run to someone else, and the moment I set Solly down, he started to get sad again. But before he even had a chance to finish his first vocalized fuss, Dekker was on the floor on all fours, baby talking to Solly. Crisis averted.

I am SO grateful for my amazing children, and their loving servant hearts <3

Pictures, Finally!

I didn’t post pictures of the deck yesterday, and I’m realizing that I’m doing everyone a huge disservice, because its SO BEAUTIFUL! So behold, our gorgeous deck!!

Like I mentioned yesterday, we have to exchange the railings we got for the stairs, so those aren’t on. Those, plus a nice aluminum gate will finish things off just right 🙂 But obviously, its still very usable like this, and I couldn’t be happier!

I’ve been feeling high stress the last few days, and I feel SO much better today! I love this kind of project, so I don’t think that’s been my point of stress. I do think I’ve put together at least part of it, though.

Before we ordered the deck, we went back and forth between treated wood or composite decking, bigger or smaller, aluminum or wood wailings, aluminum or wood stringers, etc. We obviously decided on composite and aluminum, for lots and lots of reasons, and I’m really happy with our choice. But if you’ve done any deck building or pricing, you likely know that we chose the most expensive combination. No, our composite is not top of the line, and neither are our railings, and we got amazing deals thanks to some of Brady’s work contacts, but YIKES it still came out to a pretty hefty price! And to be completely honest, I struggled with that! Our house is amazing, and I fear sometimes people think we’re over here just dripping money, which we indeed are not. We saved and researched and were really smart about our decisions, but here we were choosing such an expensive option. I do NOT require the best of everything. Not. At. All. I really don’t want to appear like we do. I made jokes to friends and family about how I would likely feel gross about the amount we were spending on our deck until it was up, and we’d laugh about it. And today, with how I’m feeling, I think that was actually really true!! I think the stress of the expensive materials and the pressure to not mess any of it up really was getting to me. Now that it is pretty much done, and it is perfectly imperfect, just like I like it, I feel like I can breathe again. The pressure is off, and I’m so relieved!

Turns out, I really don’t have any regrets about choosing the deck we chose. It is bang on! It’s everything we wanted. There is no way a baby will get splinters crawling on our deck. We can hose the sucker off easily and it’ll dry super fast. We don’t have to treat/paint/stain it every year or two. It can just be. And its SO pretty!! I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Rant over 🙂 And deck almost over, haha!

Not Quite, but Close

So we had very much hoped to finish our deck today, and sadly, we won’t. That being said, we could use it already. The thing is, the railings we picked up last week all look pretty decent except for the ones that go down the stairs. We only noticed today just how badly scratched up they are. I know they’ll get dinged up as we use them, as well, but I mean “scratched” as to say that big bites of the paint are missing on spaces, and they almost look a tad rusted. It doesn’t bode well, and we don’t think we should install them before at least trying to exchange them. So we’ll see what the guy we bought them from says, but until then, our deck sits and waits.

That all being said, the railings around the actual deck itself are DONE! Its beautiful. Seriously, everyone should creepily drive by to look at it, and hypothetically stick your heads in and ask for a beer to test it out with. I’m so thrilled with the outcome so far. A HUGE thank you to our neighbour who took pity on us and our jammed up impact drill and lent us his, along with the right attachments to drive the lag screws into the framing rather than me doing it by hand with a socket wrench. So. Much. Better.

Our backyard is super shaded in the mornings, but by the afternoon, the sweats were traded in for shorts and my long sleeved tshirt was swapped for a tank top. We all got sun today 🙂 The kids weren’t pumped about the wind so they opted to stay in hoodies most of the time they were outside, but at least they were out with us!

Yes, Solly wore ear muffs when Brady was using the angle grinder to trim down the railings. They were a little big, though, and sometimes they just protected his chubby cheeks.

They were such champs, and played really really well. I’ve felt pretty discouraged over the last few days, and Dekker is so sensitive to it. He kept inviting me over to sit on the stairs with him, just for a snuggle. He knew I needed them. It was so wonderful.

While not being able to actually finish up the job today, I’m happy with how much progress we did make. I’m happy I got to be out in the sun with everyone for at least a little while. I’m happy that our week, and by default, our normal routine, will start back up and maybe everyone will feel just a little bit more themselves. But I’m not ungrateful, I promise. Its been so nice to have a long weekend. Spring is here. And I welcome it with open arms.