Wednesday, December 21, 2011

naughty in a cute way

Arabella Jun is pure trouble and pure cuteness all wrapped into one. She's having a hard time listening and obeying right now and tantrums are a frequent affair BUT she is able to go use the restroom all on her own now without anyone to wipe her or help with her pants. She uses please and thank you all the time and says "I yuve you" to melt my heart.

Here we caught her sneaking sips of Justin's beer. She seems to like the super hopy IPAs just like her Dad. This girl is naughty in a cute way. We are going to loose some sleep over this girl.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Ashlynn Olivia slept for six whole hours last night. She didn't wake up to eat the entire time. When she did wake, she ate and was changed and went back to sleep until 6AM. Finally waking for the morning at 7:30AM Wow, this must be what it's like to have a baby who sleeps. I'm sold.

Oh, the other miracle is that we should be in the States for Christmas now since the guy at the passport issuance desk just laughed at Justin when he heard we were supposed to be in Ethiopia mid-December.

We also just heard that the house we've been assigned, while not in the neighborhood of the international school, is a newer home and will be move-in ready when we arrive. Yay for avoiding temporary housing!

I'm off to do some Christmas baking!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

cloth diaper review

Cloth diapers seem to be the new craze for uber cool moms. I jumped on the bandwagon quickly when I realized how much money it will save me from shipping diapers to Ethiopia. When I started doing the research I was completely overwhelmed with all the options and accessories. It's a far cry from the pre-folds and pins my Mom used on me! In the end, I followed some great recommendations from a mom friend in Manila.

I have Kissaluv's cotton fleece fitted diaper size 0 with Thirsties duo wraps (Velcro size 1) for Ashlynn now. When she reaches 12 lbs or so (pretty soon-holy cow!) I have bumGenius one size diapers (snaps).

I only have 9 Kissaluv's and 6 wraps to go with them. I use them during the day when we are going to be home. If we are going out or it's bedtime, I use disposable Up&Up diapers from Target. Cause here's the deal; cloth diapers are a ton of work! I definitely didn't anticipate being overwhelmed with the normal housework and mothering of three let alone remembering to rinse, wash and line dry the cloth diapers. You must change the Kissaluv's much more frequently than disposable diapers as well. They saturate much faster. I will say they do not leak, not an ounce. I've never had a cloth diaper blow out. The only urine leak I had with the cloth diaper was user error. I simply didn't make sure the wrap was in place correctly.

It doesn't make any sense to use these Kissaluv's at night time since they have to be changed so frequently. The goal is to keep Ashlynn asleep as long as possible and have only one or two, at the most, diaper changes a night. Disposables preform better for nigh time wear.

I am using the bumGenius diapers on Arabella for night time. I really love these diapers. They are very absorbent and the inner layer wicks away the wetness so they don't feel wet on the skin. I still find washing an inconvenience. They will be great for when Ashlynn is a little bigger and we are in Ethiopia without a Target down the road.

In conclusion, if you are a busy Mom of three or more kids I don't recommend adding cloth diapers to the list of things you have to do on a daily basis. Getting regular laundry washed is hard enough.

But, if you are living overseas with a house keeper who does your laundry I say go for it. It definitely saves money in the long run. Best yet, the environment wins.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ashlynn at 7 weeks

When I opened the blog and saw the picture of Ash I had posted on November 14 I was shocked at how much she's grown!

At her 6 week check up-which included her two month shots since we are leaving soon, she weighed 11 lbs 5 ounces and measured 22.5 inches tall. She's smiling and cooing and starting to space out her naps a bit. She loves looking at her sisters. She gave the Bumbo seat a go the other day and held her head up for a split second before her melon flopped back. She's not a huge fan of tummy time, which is new to me since my older two girls slept on their tummies and loved tummy time. She's the first of my girls to rub a bald ring on the back of her head from sleeping on her back so much.She's such a sweet baby. She has a calm temperament and can soothe herself. She's so chill that I was truly alarmed two days ago when she started screaming in the morning. Her tummy was tight and it was simply gas she hadn't burped out the night before but it was one of the first times she's cried out in that way.


This is my favorite picture of my parents with their newest granddaughter. It's going in her nursery.


My sister Megan is amazing. She's a wonderful aunt and sister. Having her with us for a week after Thanksgiving is like have two of myself here. Things run so smoothly. Needless to say I'm missing her this week. And not just because there was an extra someone available to wipe a tush! She's my best friend! We love you Megan.

Christmas festivities

If I had the time, I'd be blogging like crazy because there are a million stories to be told about November and December. Stories about rats eating the electrical wires of the dishwasher, Grandpa and the Fire Department fiasco (just trying to be helpful), a stolen catalytic converter (shifty mechanics in the Philippines), falling mirrors (landlord), $616 spent during one trip to Trader Joes (consumables), dead rats stinking up the house (freakin disgusting)...the list goes on.

It's amazing that I haven't gone crazy in the last few weeks, getting a newborn interrupted 6 hours of sleep, trying to prepare for our move to Ethiopia while being Mom and hosting family during all this craziness. And seriously? Every time we are preparing to move overseas there are rodents involved.

On top of it all, it's Christmas time. My favorite time of the year. In Manila we would have had our tree and decorations up the week before Thanksgiving in following with their early and long holiday celebrations. I'm very sad that we will not be in America for Christmas this year.

We've been celebrating though. Every chance we get. My sweet husband brought home a little real Christmas tree for the girls to decorate when we found out our travel orders had been delayed and thus we are delayed leaving for Ethiopia. Now our leave date is up in the air. I know he brought this tree home for me just as much as it's for the kids. I desperately wanted to have a real tree for Christmas this year. The girls love this little tree. I have to admit it touches my heart too.So did the local community center's tree lighting celebration. Complete with Santa Claus arriving on a fire engine and Girl Scouts caroling. Driving around and seeing all the tacky Christmas lights on people's homes touches my heart too. Addie and Bella helped Kiki decorate her Christmas tree which is a dream come true for them since Kiki has an amazing collection of Hallmark ornaments. It was so much fun and made me miss unwrapping all our ornaments. I love rediscovering them every year and the memories it invokes. New memories were made at Kiki's house!


We made so many wonderful memories with our family this Thanksgiving. My entire family flew to spend the holiday with us here in Virginia. My house was clean, the girls were happy and entertained by their aunties and grandparents and I had a moment to breathe, eat, shower and feel like a woman again. It was glorious. It was a Thanksgiving to remember. This photo was an attempt at our family Christmas card photo. Too bad the lighting was kind of funny!

I also really love these pictures of Arabella with her Aunt Emily and Ashlynn with two of her grandpas and her Great Grandma Mimi!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ashlynn at 4 weeks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (coming all too fast this year); I am expressing my great appreciation for my youngest daughter's sweet temperament. Ashlynn is giving me so much to be thankful for. She's a beautiful baby girl and I adore everything about her. She smells sweet like milk and baby soap. She is warm and heavy in my arms. She puts this blanket of sleepy calm on me when she falls asleep on my chest.

I am extremely grateful that she likes her car seat and tends to fall asleep when we are driving; often staying asleep in her car seat long after we've reached our destination.

She is a good nurser, especially in the middle of the night. She took a bottle from her Father last night without any fuss. Hopefully she won't mind switching from bottle to breast here and there.

When she's well rested she falls asleep easily for her naps and stays asleep for a good long nap.

She isn't fussy unnecessarily.

She is soothed by a pacifier in the late evening hours when she tends to get restless and overtired.

She likes all the noise our family makes!

I am mostly thankful for the first real smiles she has given me in the last few days. Smiles that say "Hi Mom, you're the best!" There is nothing better than that.

ice skating

Our weekends have been jam packed ever since we moved to Virginia in August. We have not had one lazy day yet. This weekend was no different. Kiki visited on Saturday and we went ice skating!

Neither of the girls have been ice skating before. They both experienced Disney on Ice the weekend prior (thanks to Kiki!) so they had an idea of what to do. Addie immediately put on her "ice skating outfit" when she found out our plans. Bella obediently put on her ice skates when we got to the rink and did two laps, one pushing a bucket; screaming the entire time. She was not a fan. We put her Crocs back on after this photo. Poor girl hated it.Addie on the other hand did well. She loved every minute of it and dusted off the ice when she fell. By the end of our time at the rink she was skating by her self!To top it off we met Santa and Mrs. Claus. Addie walked right up and gave Santa a bug and answered all his questions. Bella wanted nothing to do with Santa (other than a peak from afar) so the photo is incomplete but at least I got my oldest and youngest in a great photo!

late Halloween

I'm not keeping up with the blog as well as I'd like to be doing. I blame it on our family of 5 status. Phew! The kids are kicking my butt on a daily basis.

Halloween was wonderful in our little American neighborhood. Auntie Brienne came over to hand out candy with us. The girls bounced around the house in anticipation of trick-or-treating when Justin got home from work. It reminded me of when I was a kid and I couldn't wait to get my costume on, light our pumpkins, and go out trick-or-treating with my Dad and sisters.

My one request for our first Halloween in America was a good picture of all three girls in their costumes.

Ashlynn didn't end up walking around with her sisters. She was happy once the lady bug costume was off and she was in my arms nursing and rocking again.

The pumpkin trick-or-treated for about ten houses and then declared that she was done. The angel on the other hand ran around with her Dad and the neighbor kids until bedtime.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ashlynn's quilt

Ashlynn received a gorgeous baby quilt from her Great Aunt Mary K just as Addie and Bella did. These quilts are well loved in our family. They go with us in our air freight shipments so we can always have them. They've come in handy with out cold fall nights lately.

Ashlynn's quilt is the first my Aunt has done in pastel baby colors. It's a beautiful blanket.

Friday, November 4, 2011

count down

We knew all along that we would be bringing our new daughter into the world among some major transition for our family. The count down to moving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia began the moment she was born. At 40 weeks pregnant I was torn between wanting Ashlynn to arrive already so I didn't have to be pregnant any longer, and her staying put so we as a family could stay put in America a little longer.We have roughly 5 weeks before we have to pack up and move to our new home in Africa and I'm panicking a little bit about all that needs to be done but cannot possibly done with a newborn, a two and a half year old and a four and a half year old.We knew that we wouldn't have much time in America to repatriate and enjoy being Americans. We knew that we probably wouldn't be allowed to stay at home with family for Christmas. We knew all these things and yet I am having a really hard time processing the upcoming move and all it's inevitable transitions for my children and myself. We've only gotten settled here in Virginia. I knew I'd feel this way and still it's hard.
5 weeks and counting.