Sunday, August 24, 2014

January 2014--Month in Review, only 7 months late! :-/

I have been wracked with guilt ever since I stopped writing in April. I know that journaling will be important to our family, if it's not now. I take billions of pictures and our kids are at the age where they're constantly changing, so keeping up with blogger AND facebook AND instagram is just a bit overwhelming and repetitive! Not to mention once I get behind it feels so easy to just forget it all and put it out of my mind.
Here's a big review for document's sake; read on if you wish or skip it, it's all for us anyway :-)

I got an iPad mini in January, which made documenting everyday things so much easier! Not to mention how easy it is to share everything with everyone, which a lonely stay-at-home mama needs! (Thank heavens for my cousin Kim and other great friends...the dead of winter in Rexburg is not a fun time to be stuck alone with kids all day!!)

January 2014
 Babies love DVDs! When Eliza made this mess with DVD cases I knew it reminded me of's Nathan at 7 months old (June 2011) and Eliza at 8 months old (January 2014) doing the exact same thing :-)

As far as the kids go, exploring is all they did, day in and day out, at these ages. Eliza was 8 months old and into everything. She was semi-mobile, but not quite crawling. According to my facebook status updates (terrible that THAT'S my recording method, right!?) she started rolling to get places on January 8th. My babies have never been big into rolling all over, and she didn't roll like some babies I've met who will make it across a room in 5 seconds, but it sure helped her get where she wanted to be! Around January 30th she learned how to crawl backwards...I have a video on my computer that needs to be rotated, but at least it's documented somewhere! It was hilarious and she would get SO mad at being stuck under the table and chairs! She also decided she liked (some) solid food this month. This girl really took her time with solids, but I've learned not to rush the grow-up process, because it really just happens too fast. Food before one is just for fun!

I've been trying to document her size and growth, since she's so tiny for her age and probably will be for awhile. Here's a comparison photo: (wish I would have gotten out my light kit for the one on the right!)

Here are some more pictures of Eliza from January; they're pretty self-explanatory:

This was one of the first iPad pictures I took; I love this little onesie that my friend Betsy gave us as a baby gift! What a squishy, sweet little girl!

The rest are from my camera:

More from the iPad:
Solids! Yum!

Surprise! Mom, I can open wipes now!

Nathan started preschool on our university's campus in January. He LOVED it! It was his first time going to an actual preschool; he had done "toddler lab" before on campus and loved that as well. We love seeing him come out of his shell a bit more! Here he is with a fresh haircut and a new backpack before his first day. He loved it and came home only slightly covered in paint! :-)

Nathan loves Scotch tape, probably just like most toddlers. His favorite thing to make when he asks for a piece is a "mush-mash". I love him!!
 Even though Nathan loves to run away from the camera or iPad mini (he knows Eliza will take pictures, so why should he!?), I love catching him being a good big brother. It was a bit of a shock for him when she learned to move around and suddenly wanted his toys. She wanted one of his Thomas trains, so here he is showing her how to play with another train (so he could have all the Thomas engines to himself...natural 3 year-old logic!). I love it!

 We are huge into parallel play at our house (playing beside, not with, each other). Eliza is naturally much more social than Nathan and reaches out for his stuff much more often, but Nathan is just breaking into cooperative play and is trying to figure out how to respond to her. I love watching them do their thing and form their little relationship! I knew before she was born that we would love Eliza as much as Nathan, but the thing that (for some reason) slipped my mind is how much they would naturally love each other. It came as a surprise to me and I just love it. They are such sweet kids and they love each other so much!

Other things:
Mitch had been working a night job that required 20-25 hours per week, in addition to being in school full-time. He started a few weeks after Eliza was born. When she came a month early it really caught us off-guard, and since we weren't as prepared as we should have been, it ended up costing us more. We were so blessed to have medical bills taken care of and no NICU stay for Eliza. We started really feeling the cost of a second little one in the house (diapers, especially!), so my sweet Mitch found another job with more hours. After we flew home to KC for Christmas in December we came home to a new month's worth of bills and very little money (although some Christmas gifts from parents GREATLY helped with this!!). 

Right before Christmas, Mitch decided to look for yet another job that would help us out more, so in January he started working a full 5 nights per week at 8 hours per shift, while holding all As in school. At work he was a QA (Quality Assurance) Tech for a Potato Processing Plant (we ARE in Idaho, after all!), and the job had a very steep learning curve and was very strict about how things were done. It took a lot of mental energy, which was much different from the night stocking job he had at a grocery store before this change. I really don't know how he did it. He rarely complained and his body stayed strong and capable to roll with the punches and go to sleep when he needed to. His biggest struggle was not feeling a part of the family. He missed almost everything the kids did and he and I didn't get much couple time. We rarely did anything together and it just got harder on both of us.

I was left at home alone a lot because he went to bed at 4 pm and woke up at 11:45 pm to go to work, as well as being at school all day. I didn't want to make it obvious online that I was alone or that my husband was asleep, so I started blogging less and less. All the cooking, caretaking, and chores (including laundry, which had to be dragged through the snow to the complex laundry room while the kids slept or were bundled and dragged with me), were left to me. Mitch felt terrible about this, but it was our only choice. I was also still working, but just 6 hours per week. 

After a few months, his grades started to slip a bit and we were feeling less overwhelmed after receiving a large tax return. It was enough for us to live on for the rest of that semester until grants came again, so Mitch was able to quit his job! That didn't all happen in January, of course, but it kind of speaks to the atmosphere in our home for those few months. We were taught a lot, stretched a lot, blessed a lot, and had a lot expected of us, but we managed, somehow. We could not have done it without support from our parents and good friends (thanks for letting us vent when we were stressed and calling to check in on us!), and we know we couldn't have done it without the strength and blessings that came from working hard for our family.

In any case, we can already see how these times of intense struggle and heartache, as well as back- and mind-wrenching work have blessed us greatly. We had what we needed and everything lined up well: church and my work every week matched Mitch's "awake" hours and we were able to fulfill all our commitments without much problem. On our few nights out my sweet cousin (and one of my best friends) Kim and her husband Matt would watch our kids so we could go to the Temple or out on a date somewhere. It was wonderful!

Hopefully I'll catch up soon; life is fast-yet-slow right now, if that makes any sense, and I need to make time to document our family a bit more regularly!