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Sunday, August 2, 2015

{Luke} Five Months

Happy Five Months, Luke!

Luke weighs 15 pounds 8 oz.
He wears size 3-6 months clothes
He wears size 3 diapers

I can't believe we are just weeks away from him being six months- half a year old! So many milestones start happening at six months that I am excited for (food!) but also I am not wishing the days away.

This month had its share of challenges. In his four month update I shared how Luke was starting to drool alot and liked chewing on his hands. That continued through July but included a sleep strike that left Ian and I totally useless for a couple of days! Whether it was teething or growth spurt related we will never know.

Our little buddy is back to his normal schedule. He nurses really fast and he currently wants to be held constantly when he is awake. He's started reaching for cups and spoons when we are eating so starting food next month will be fun!

6 am- Up for the day, feeds.
7:15- Nap
9:30- Wakes up, Feeds
10:30- Sometimes naps but most days we run errands in this time and he cat naps in the car
12:30- Feeds
1:00 pm- Nap
3:30- Wakes up, Feeds
5:00- Naps
5:45- Wakes up
7:00- Bed time!

Luke still doesn't roll over but he loves to sit or stand assisted.

He loves suck on his thumb now to fall asleep. We take him up to his room when he is fully awake, lay him down, and he rolls over onto his left side, puts his thumb into his mouth, and falls asleep. Easy peasy.

Sophie the giraffe is still a favorite toy and he talks to himself sometimes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

{Grace} 4th Birthday- Cinderella Style

Alright ya'll. I have a confession to make.

Two confessions actually.

One: When Grace was still TWO years old and we were in the US, I picked up some Cinderella party supplies for her third birthday party. That party never really happened. So, despite her not really being a fan of Cinderella at nearly FOUR years old, she had a Cinderella party.

Momma's on a budget!

Two: I'm really bad at throwing parties. Or at least making them look nice! Sure, people have a great time and everyone walks away full and happy, but the pictures of the decor and setup? It's not bad photography, it is just my skills are that bad.

Plus, Momma's on a budget! (in a land devoid of crafts supplies stores and dollar spots.)

Alas, the show must go on.

Grace had her friends from church over, many came dressed in princess/prince attire. They made crafts, played games, and opened presents.
Cupcakes and cake were had, birthday songs were sung, and we as parents remarked at how this was the calmest party ever! The kids are just so used to one another that they just payed perfectly and us grown ups got to sit around and chat!

Grace and one of her BFFs, Maya, born also on the same day as Grace!
Happy Birthday, Gracie Girl! We are so excited to see what FOUR brings your way!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

End of School Celebrations

Grace and Sophia finished their year at preschool (called nursery here,) on June 30th, 2015. They had such a great time at school and looked forward to going three half days a week.

Grace was in the oldest class, called the Clever Camels. Her teachers was Ms Victoria, and her helpers were Ms Lucy and Ms Florence. Her class was such a diverse mix of students from so many backgrounds and languages. Pick up time was always interesting because parents would switch from their mother tongue to English as they greeted their children then turned to talk to the teachers! Grace didn't have one "best," friend in the class but did migrate towards 4 or 5 specific kids.

Sophia was in the youngest class but was one of the oldest in the class. Her class was called the Baby Bears. Her teacher was Ms Sarah and her helpers were Ms Joan and Ms Jenny. The first month or two of school was rough on her class, because some of the kids were just barely 18 months old and were there five days a week for 5-6 hours. Many of them came from homes where English was not spoken, then to be put in a classroom where only English was spoken was hard on them. Bless their little hearts! One time, when picking Sophia up, there were 6-7 toddlers standing at the baby gate at the door crying. Her teacher asked me if I had ever seen The Walking Dead, then she pointed at the babies and said that's what they reminded her of when they were just standing at the door moaning with their arms outstretched, ha!

Grace's class had a small graduation ceremony, performance, and party the last week of school. It was so cute to see Grace in a cap and gown but her little hat kept falling over her eyes and so she finally just took it off. She sang and did the motions more than in other performances but still was unsure about the large crowd of people staring and taking constant pictures.

 Sophia's class had a "performance," as well but it was really just a sing a long/ music class that the parents got to sit in on. We arrived late and so weren't really in the circle on the rug but since I had Grace and Luke with me and Ian was at work we needed a little space. Sophia had NO desire to sing or do hand motions so it was just as well.

I had such wonderful memories from my own preschool experience (many moons ago,) and we are so thankful that we were able to provide this for the girls, even on this side of the ocean.

More to come on what's next for our girls.

Friday, June 26, 2015

{Luke} Four Months

Our Luke boy is four months old now! I can't believe how fast his infancy is flying by. Almost every night, when I am dressing him for bed, I find myself talking to myself. "Don't blink! It's going too fast! Don't miss a moment! Look him in the eyes and talk to him!"

I missed Luke's three month update so I will try to fill in the gaps.

Luke's schedule is he is:

6 am- Up for the day, feeds.
7:15- Nap
9:30- Wakes up, Feeds
10:30- Sometimes naps but most days we run errands in this time and he cat naps in the car
12:30- Feeds
1:00 pm- Nap
3:30- Wakes up, Feeds
5:00- Naps
5:45- Wakes up
7:00- Bed time!
10:30- Dream feed

And that's it! His days are very routine. Occasionally he wakes up in the middle of the night for a feed but that is usually in growth spurts or when my milk is low. He has much longer awake times then the girls ever did! Both Grace and Sophia were ready for sleep at the 55 minute mark but he can often reach 80-90 minutes.

He's a super fast and efficient nurser.

He has started drooling like crazy!

He loves sucking on his hands or his thumb and pointer fingers.

He loves diaper free time.

Luke loves eye contact and smiling.

When sleepy, he likes to burrow his head in mt stomach/crook of my arm and falls swiftly asleep.

He is unswaddled now and just sleeps in a sleep sack.

He found his voice around fifteen weeks.

Luke wears size 3-6 months clothes and size 2 diapers.

He can roll onto his left side but that is all he does unassisted.

We love you, Luke!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Coffee Cup Ramblings

It's mid term break here in Abu Dhabi, which means the kids are home from school and I am trying to keep us cool inside. Temperatures are around 110 most days and outside is simply not an option. And, seeing as losing your mind shouldn't be an option, indoor survival is where we are at.

We have no plans to travel this summer, which is quite the opposite for the average expat who lives and works here. Most people leave for 1-2 months of summer and the mass exodus that happens as soon as the last school bell rings is a bit depressing. It does mean less traffic, less mall crowding, and easier lines at the grocery store, so there is always that!

The kids are doing great. They are all growing and developing so well. There's always a niggling in the back of your mind that your kid will be a little messed up from being a TCK (Third Culture Kid,) but I think, for the most part, they are doing well. Except for the fact that they think America is a city and the only thing they know about Florida is there is lightning storms and alligators, they are very well rounded and well traveled. There's always time for geography and culture lessons later, right?

Grace shows her British English influenced language by asking why we are not going on "holiday," and when all of her friends are returning. Throw in her frequent use of the word toMAHto (tomato,) and references of putting the rubbish in the bin and she keeps us rolling on the floor with laughter. Poor thing also has some serious Southern twang to her vocabulary. We were practicing clapping syllables and the word was "Whale." She kept drawing it out to a three syllable word, "Way yuh luh," and couldn't understand why I was making her do it again and again!

Her schooling is still up in the air right now. We got some not great news about the school systems here yesterday and feel backed into a corner. She just finished All About Reading's Pre reading program and we will be starting the Level One soon, even though I swear we aren't doing formal "homeschooling," this year as she is only four.

Then there's Sophia.

She's a HOT. MESS.

A beautiful, sweet, hot mess with squishable cheeks. She says the funniest things it just makes me fall out of my chair most days. Ask her who her best friend at school is and she will answer "Jumaa. There are two Jumaa's in my class." And when you ask her which one is her friend, she will almost always answer "The naughty one." She climbed out of her crib for the first time last night and just started to cry when she realized she couldn't get back in.

She is currently running around the house in a red tutu, cowboy hat, and masquerade mask while yelling "He-Haw!" I'm thinking that's what a cowboy donkey would say.

Luke is all smiles and cooing. Not much to say about our adorable little chunk of a boy. He's a real joy to have and as long as he is fed and clean he is a happy little man.

Ian's work is just that. Work. He's surviving it and it is a great plus to his resume but not the best overall situation. Long hours. Stressful situations. Little else happens during the week and the weekends are just recovery times. He's still my sweet man who gets up with the baby in the middle of the night and read to the girls each night before bed.

And me? I'm smack in the middle of motherhood. Trying to maintain my own sense of identity in conjunction with motherhood (which is obviously a large part of my identity now and forevermore,) and have real, meaningful conversations with other adults on a nearly regular basis. You know, other than explaining a million times in a day what we will eat next, where we will go next, and why it is wrong to lie/hit/put chewed food on the table. And trying to main my sanity amongst the variety of repetitive tasks- wake, shower, feed kids, clean, feed kids, wipe bottoms, clean, feed kids, bathe kids, collapse onto couch/bed. Repeat.

Part of this stage is trying to hold onto my hobbies. Right now I'm really questioning what my hobbies really are.

Blogging? I've really fell off the bandwagon. I want this one to take root again.
Photography? I love taking pictures of my kids but hate that so much of our time is inside.
Reading? What's that?!
Exercise? I don't think so.
Travel? Not enough funds in the bank to make that a hobby.
Baking? LOVE it. But if Exercise is not one of my hobbies then perhaps neither should Baking.

The real question is what do I have the energy for at the end of these long busy days.

That's really it! Our family at the present time.