Feathered Aspen


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Lily turns 5

Lily turned five last Wednesday.  On the Sunday just before her birthday, she biked all the way around Sloans Lake with me as I ran.  Which was kind of the best.  I have honestly dreamed of the bike/run daughter/mother combo since before Lily was even born.  On Tuesday, there was a celebration at Lily’s school, and the teacher told a sweet story about star child Lily looking down and picking us, making her way over the rainbow bridge and gathering the gifts of memory, storytelling, and friendship along the way, and then arriving in this mountainous land.

On the day of her birthday, we had the Ps over for french toast, whipped cream, and fruit salad.  Afterwards, we met an old college friend of mine and Lily biked along the Clear Creak Trail.  That night, we ate Spanikopita at Lily’s request and then we paid a late evening visit to Sweet Cow for some ice cream.  When Saturday rolled around, we walked up to get biscuits, played at the playground, and then headed back to the house to get ready for our party.  We cleaned, shopped, and prepped food, and then at five, our guest began showing up.  Joshua made pizzas and I made a strawberry cake.  At least, it was supposed to be a cake, but then when I took it out of the bundt pan, it crumbled and looked as though I had dropped it 😦  Oh well.  The kids pretty much devoured the whole thing and no one was complaining!

It was funny.  We had talked about throwing a party in the beginning of March, and then life with three little kids just got in the way.  Just two weeks off from the party, I sent out some text invites and what felt like a casual party thrown together at the last minute evolved into 37 people (I think the final count was 17 kids and 20 adults).  It’s so strange how when Lily was born five short years ago, she was pretty much the only kid I knew.  We had moved to Denver just a year before, and our village felt more like an island.  It feels a little surreal to host a party like that, with kids running amok and our house and yard bursting at the seams.  Surreal and pretty awesome.  I’m so grateful to know other families with kids!

Lily is definitely growing up.  Just tonight, she dressed up in her new (…ly thrifted) dance costume for her little neighborhood dance class.  I scooped her hair up in a high ballerina bun, and oh my.  The girl looked like a teenager to me.  Why do all of my children insist on growing at rapid speeds?!  Like, can we please slow down a bit?  And then before bed, she came over to me and Luna and then leaned in and cooed, giving Luna smooches and snuggles.  Luna looks up at her with a huge smile and coos right back at her.  It’s pretty amazing.

I’ve been noticing recently that Lily seems ready for something new and challenging in her life.  I see her pushing the boundaries and occasionally provoking her little sister or other friends, just to see the dramatic reaction, and I really think the uptick in these behaviors is the result of feeling a little bored.  With school just two days a week and a lot of our routines being the same for the past couple of years, she’s outgrown a lot of her toys and worn out many of the activities.  Biking has been huge because it’s been a new challenge, and it’s been fun to see her keep trying and get better and better.  First is was starting on her own.  Then it was stopping with the back pedal.  Then it was better traffic awareness and slower stops.  Now it’s going uphill.  And the pace that she masters these skills is kind of mind boggling to me.  She’ll literally be a different biker at the end of just one bike ride.  She’s now gone around the lake with me three times, and one day, she even covered 7 miles.  It’s kind of crazy, and I think it’s just an example of how ready she is for new challenges and experiences.  She’s more than ready for kindergarten in the fall, and I think this trip to Costa Rica will also be a ton of fun for her.

Some fun facts about Lily at age 5:

  1. Birthday Menu:  French Toast with whipped cream and berries for breakfast.  Spanikopita and ice cream for dinner.  Strawberry cake at the party.  I was joking that she is quite the menu planner!
  2. Loves to run and bike.  She often requests to join me on my run, either for a mile in the beginning and then I’ll drop her off at home before I go around the lake, or now she’s biking the whole way :):)
  3. Adores playing outside.  I really credit Waldorf for this, but Lily is so happy outside.  She is so confident in her creative play outside, and I have to say watching her ease outside just fills me up.  Whether it’s mud, dirt, sticks, rocks, water, or whatever else she finds, there’s endless entertainment just being outside.  She’s also pretty resilient with all sorts of weather.  Rain, snow, wind, or sunshine, she’s happy outside.
  4. Enjoys her dance and yoga classes.  She loves reliving her “Silver Bells” performance from the holidays and will often ask us to play the song so she can dance.  Ellison is in yoga with her now, and she loves being her “yoga mama.”
  5. LOVES swimming.
  6. Still adores stories.  These days, she likes my made up stories about Ernie the Gnome.
  7. Loves playing with her sisters. Plays with Lu for hours and loves holding and sitting with Luna.
  8. So loving.  She adores her many grandmas and grandpas, aunties and uncles.
  9. Branching out her fashion sense.  It used to be that skirts and dresses were her only loves, but these days she’s happy in leggings and a long sleeve top.  She’s also growing like a weed and all of her leggings are capri length…
  10. Lily is such a joy, especially one on one.  She’s a great conversationalist, and a wonderful companion.

Oh Lily!  I love you so much. Thank you for making me a mother.  I’ll never forget the day you came into my life, how the song Heavenly Day started playing and how you looked into my eyes for the first time.  These past five years have been the best years of my life.  You’ve taught me so much, and I can’t imagine our world without you.  You’re a gift.  You’re loving and interesting, plucky and creative, a good friend and a wonderful sister.  Thank you for being you.  Hugs and kisses, Mom.

 


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Spring Flowers

My favorite tree in Denver. It smells like heaven, and it’s shaped like a wisteria vine.

This was such a nice morning. The blossoming trees and the tulips were so lovely and it was nice to spend time with my mom (the girls have started calling her Grammy 💕).


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#grassbirth

On Thursday at 8:13 pm, Joshua and I receive the following texts from Kyle:

“Labor now”

“Now.”

“Come fast.”

“Delivery at Ellie’s house.”

“Can’t make it”

As we read the texts, Joshua says, “is he joking?! What does that mean?” Pulling on my jeans, I shake my head, “you don’t joke about that sort of thing.”  I look for my shoes, but before I find them, we hear Kyle honking the van and he’s pulling up alongside the curb in front of our house.  He jumps out, and we run.  Stacy is leaning over the middle row of seats with her head in her hands, groaning.

We’re in a flurry.  Joshua runs to stow our two older children with my dad who just happens to be in town.  Our youngest is ten weeks old, and she’s sleeping in our bed just 30 feet away in the front bedroom.  Kyle and I try to figure out what to do.  Stacy tells us she’s having the baby now, and I ask her if we need to take off her pants.  She shakes her head, groans, and has another contraction.

I decide we need to get her into the back of the van where there’s more room.  Kyle will drive to Mountain Midwifery, and she’ll very likely have the baby on the way there, but I’ll be in the back with her, and I can help.  We help Stacy out of the van, and she collapses on the grass, hit with another contraction.  We start emptying out the back of the van, but Stacy tells us she’s having the baby now, here.  She can feel the baby’s head.

I tell Kyle to call the midwife, and we pull off Stacy’s pants.  She’s on her hands and knees and over the line, the midwife asks if her perineum is bulging.  I tell Kyle it’s not.  There’s swelling and discharge, but no bulging.  We start moving towards the back of the van again, but in the next contraction, I see the bulge.

The midwife tells us to get towels, blankets.  Joshua runs inside and grabs whatever he can find.  I kneel behind Stacy, and she’s pushing.  Kyle is relaying it all to the midwife, and between what I can hear from the phone and what Kyle repeats, we follow her directions.  Stacy is whimpering, and we’re all trying to reassure her that it’s ok and she’s doing great and everything’s ok.  I think we’re trying to reassure ourselves as well.

In moments, the head is crowning.  The midwife asks if there’s someone there to catch the baby, and Kyle tells me to do it.  I put my hand on the baby’s head.  The bag of waters is yellowish and still intact, but in the next push, it bursts, slipping over the baby’s head as Stacy pushes it out.  The face is slightly purple, the eyes tightly squeezed shut, but I see movement.  Her nose twitches and her mouth quirks.  Now, time is suspended.  The baby’s head is out, and in those long seconds, I’m aware of Stacy’s cries, the grass beneath my bare feet, the light of the iPhone, and Joshua and Kyle fumbling with Stacy’s shirt and bra, following the midwife’s orders to get her ready to go skin to skin with the baby.

A hand emerges, and a second later, Stacy pushes out baby Lucia.  She’s slippery and moving, and I catch her.  I look at her neck to make sure that the umbilical cord isn’t wrapped, and it’s not.  The midwife tells me to pass her through Stacy’s legs to her chest.  Stacy holds her and leans back on her heels.  She hasn’t cried.

The midwife tells us to rub her back, and Stacy and I slide our hands up and down her white blue back, waiting for cries.  I try rubbing her feet.  At some point, I look up, and a wide eyed stranger is looking at us.  “What’s happening?!” she asks.

The midwife tells us to look for muscle tone.  We see her open and close her mouth a couple of times, and she gives a couple of small grunts, but those minutes before she cries are long, and I am afraid.  The midwife tells us to call 911, and Joshua does.

Finally, she lets out a good cry, and we heave a collective sigh of relief.

Sandy, Stacy’s mom, shows up as we’re wrapping Stacy and Lucia in blankets, trying to ward off the chill.  I tell her to grab the duvet from our bed where our youngest is still sleeping peacefully.  It’s not quite 8:30 pm, and the day has been warm.  Somewhere in the fray, pictures are taken, video.  I look up again and see the same wide eyed stranger and now a concerned couple, kneeling nearby and asking if we need help.  Joshua is telling the dispatcher that a baby has been born, that we are in the front yard of our home in Edgewater, that the mother’s name is Stacy, that she is 31.

The police arrive first and flash bright lights into our eyes, and Stacy pulls the blanket over Lucia’s face to shield her from the light.

From the ambulance spill EMTs, and nice man with a smile in his voice introduces himself.  “My name is Eric.  What’s your name ma’am?”  Stacy responds in a calm, level voice.  She only has eyes for Lucia.

They pull a stretcher out from the ambulance, and Stacy gets onto it with the baby still at her chest.  The story is coming out in fits and starts.  What time was the baby born?  We’re not sure.  Maybe ten minutes ago?  We tell them there was meconium and lots of it.  We tell them it took her a while to cry, but after a bit, she did.  Stacy, Lucia, and Kyle are loaded into the ambulance, headed to Lutheran hospital, and I tell them that I’ll follow.

After the ambulance pulls away, the police stay for a few minutes longer.  One of them asks, “but why was she naked?”  I laugh and say, “did you want her to have the baby with her pants on?”  They shake their heads, but still seem a bit perplexed.

Inside the house, I grab my shoes and wash the meconium off my hands and forearms at the sink.  Strangely, my shirt and jeans are clean.  Joshua gathers a small diaper bag together, and I go to get the car seat, stopping to check in with my dad and the girls on my way out.

“I just caught a baby,” I say, still completely in shock.

“What?!”

“With my bare hands,” I say, laughing a little bit.  “In the front yard.  No.  Not even in the front yard.  We didn’t make it through the front gate.  Stacy had her baby on the boulevard.  Oscar was watching.”

The girls are all blue eyes and frightened faces, and I try to reassure them.  “Stacy’s ok.  She had her baby.  Baby Lucia.  She’s beautiful, she’s perfect, and everyone’s ok.  Baby Lucia’s ok.”

After a few minutes, I load Luna into the truck and I drive to the hospital.  At the door to labor and delivery, I press the intercom.  “Who is it?” they ask.  I respond, “Um.  I caught my friend’s baby?  Her name is Stacy?”  Without another word, they beep me in.

I’m let into the room where people are laughing and the OB on duty is taking off her gloves.  “She did it all,” she says, shrugging.  “Even her placenta.  I went to help deliver it, and then she just pushed it out.  I didn’t even get my gloves dirty.”

We spend the next hour retelling the story.  The nurses are confused.  “But why did you go to her house?” they ask.  “Is she a midwife? A doula?”  Stacy shakes her head.  “No, but she’s watched every season of Call the Midwife, and she listens to every episode of The Birth Hour.  Plus, she’s the only one who read up on precipitous labor.”

It doesn’t feel real, and yet the fear, the relief, the cries and the blood and the bright lights are very, very real.  We’re laughing and shaking our heads, and we can’t believe it.  Stacy takes a shower, and when she does, she walks over normally, as though she hasn’t just birthed a baby, but she has.

Kyle cradles Lucia against his chest and tells me how scared he was when she didn’t cry at first and how he never wants to feel that way again.

On the scale, Lucia weighs 7 pounds 7 ounces, and on her birth records, the nurse writes my name over Delivering Physician and Joshua and Kyle’s names over Delivering Nurse.

It’s almost 10:30 pm, so I say goodbye.  Luna has slept peacefully in her wrap the whole time, but I want to get her home and I want to leave Kyle and Stacy and the newest little member of their family to themselves.  Before I go, I thank Stacy for granting me one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

When I get back to the house, Luna goes straight to sleep, and Joshua shows me the video, time stamped at 8:22 pm.  It’s lacking setting and scene, but the birth is there, in full surreal glory.  We hug, and I say, “I think we should plant a garden there.  A birth garden.  We can put a little sign up that says, ‘Life started here.’”

He nods his head.  “Definitely,” he says.

Stacy and Lucia are lying in the stretcher, and we’re answering questions fielded from the police and EMTs.

Kyle and I cover Stacy and Lucia in blankets as the EMTs get ready to load them into the ambulance.

Stacy and Lucia in the hospital bed after the ambulance ride.

Kyle goes skin to skin with Lucia while Stacy takes a shower at the hospital.

***

Although Kyle, Stacy, and then Lucia were only on the boulevard in front of our house for less than 20 minutes on the night of March 16th, there’s much more to this story.  Most of it is not really mine to tell, but because Stacy is my best friend and we spend quite a lot of time together, I can piece together much of the backstory, and with Stacy’s blessing (and the hope that she’ll write her own account!), I’ll write the rest of the story here.

I’ve had the honor of attending both Stacy’s first and second labors.  Although the first was induced, and the induction took over two days, once her water finally broke and she began active labor, the whole thing only lasted four hours.  The second labor was two hours start to finish, and when she got pregnant a third time, there was some real concern that this labor would be even shorter.

Over the course of her pregnancy, we talked a lot about different scenarios.  Initially, she enrolled with Westside Women’s care at Lutheran Hospital, thinking that the location was better than Mountain Midwifery (a 10 minute drive as opposed to a 20 minute drive), but the tour of Labor and Delivery was off putting for someone who wanted as few interventions as possible, and so Stacy transferred to Mountain Midwifery before her third trimester.

The plan was that her parents would be in Denver from 37 weeks on.  Kyle would start working from home at 39 weeks, and she would never go anywhere alone or without a plan for being quickly picked up and whisked to the hospital.  Close to her due date, we all made sure our phones were charged and the ringer was on.  Stacy asked me to attend her labor, and we tried to figure out how it might work.  What would we do if both of the husbands were at work?  What would she do if she was on a walk around the lake?  I privately thought it very likely that I might not be able to make it to the birth, between her history of short labors and my three children, especially my youngest, but when I told Stacy, she said, “bring Luna!  I secretly want to be able to tell Lucia that she was there anyway!”

As the due date approached, Stacy bought a shower curtain and packed a hospital bag, stowing both of them in the back of her van.  We talked about what she would do if she had her baby on the freeway, and she said that the midwife told them that if it was less than 10 minutes away, they should just keep going to Mountain Midwifery.

The due date came and went, and the night before her 41 week appointment, Stacy and Kyle made the trip to Mountain Midwifery, thinking Stacy’s water had broken.  After a few hours with no contractions or other signs of labor, they returned home.

At the 41 week appointment, the midwife checked and told Stacy that she was 5 cm dilated and 80 percent effaced, but the baby was sunny side up.  (When she told me via text, I joked that she had a birth canal like a laundry chute…  Maybe not so funny?).  She bought a bottle of Cotton Root and made an appointment with an acupuncturist for later in the day and then stayed on that side of town, walking laps around Whole Foods and having a late lunch of tacos with her mom.

After the acupuncture appointment, Stacy went back to the midwife, but unfortunately, she was still at 5 cm and she wasn’t having contractions, so the midwife sent her home.  That was at 6:30 pm.

At 7:55 pm, Stacy texted me.

“I don’t know what to do.  Aubrey sent me home but I’m here and it hurtzz”

“:):) can you describe the pain?” I texted back.

“3 min apart, 10 sec long. Can’t parent”

“I shouldn’t think so” I texted “Who’s making you parent?!?!” then “Oh man.  I’m so sorry dear.  I guess you need to use all those laboring strategies that you haven’t really needed before.  Want me to come over and help you make a lady cave?” I wrote, thinking that maybe this meant that the “wild card” third labor for Stacy might mean a longer one, rather than a rapid one like we had been thinking.

“I think I want to go in” Stacy texted back “I can’t do worse than this in the car”

I responded “I totally get that.  You should call and talk through it with Aubrey”

“Will do” she texted.  Time stamped 7:59 pm.

Tonight, I was asking Stacy more about her timeline.  She said that after she texted me, she walked to the bathroom just fine.  She called her parents.  Once they were on their way, she relaxed, and all of a sudden, the pain got much, much worse.  She could barely bend over to pull her pants on.  Kyle came out from putting the kids down to sleep, and they headed for the van.  She says she looked up at the blooming plum tree in her front yard, deep in the pain cave, and thought, “it’d be nice to have my baby looking at this plum tree.”  But then she saw her neighbors and decided she’d rather try and make it to the van.  Once she got there, Kyle said, “it’s ok honey.  We’ll be there in 21 minutes.” But Stacy shook her head.  “No.  I’m having the baby now.”

Kyle tells me that he remembers from the birthing class at Mountain Midwifery that a woman is never lying if she says she’s having a baby right now, so he asked Stacy what she wanted him to do.  “Drive to Ellie’s house.”

And that, my friends, is how my best friend ended up having a baby on the boulevard in front of our house.  Wild, amiright?  For someone who is completing pre-requisite courses to attend nursing school so that I might one day become a midwife, Thursday night felt like a sign.  I mean, who gets to catch a baby years before they even enter nursing school or become a midwife?  Maybe firefighters, but not stay at home moms of three with no credentials to speak of, save having watched every season of Call the Midwife and listened to every episode of The Birth Hour.

You’ll be happy to hear that the Pietaris are doing well.  Stacy has the core of an iron woman and does not walk like someone who has been hollowed out (that was me after I gave birth).  Lucia is nursing and cute as a freaking button with long arms and toes that prefer to rest upon her shins.  Kyle has already gone on a couple of double jogger runs and announced to the Strava-sphere that his awesome wife had a #grassbirth on his friends’ front lawn.  Grandma and Grandpa are helping out with the older two kiddos, and we’ve toasted with champagne and ate a bunch of cheesecake, per tradition.  The local newspaper published a short article about the unconventional birth, and we keep shaking our heads, still unable to believe it really happened.  Life is good, and already we’ve had two meals with the six kids all together.  The village has grown, and now all we have to do is raise them (that’s all) and plant a birth garden and tell this story – again and again – until we’re old and gray.  And you know what?  I don’t think it will ever get old.


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My first update with all three girls…

It’s been two months since Luna was born, and it’s been tricky to find the time to log onto this space and post an update, but all three girls are sleeping right now, so I’ll try!

Luna

At eight weeks old, Luna is a smiley, sleepy, easy going baby.  These days, she goes down for bed between 745 and 9 pm and then sleeps next to me, nursing two or three times during the night, until the two big sisters get us up each morning (right around 615).  She wakes up for about an hour and grins at Lily and Lu while they marvel over her.  We eat breakfast and get dressed, and then I nurse her just before she falls asleep.  At this point, she’s so used to being held and I enjoy wearing her so much that she only naps for a long stretch if she’s being worn in the carrier or if I’m laying next to her.  It’s not the most flexible habit, but it’s pretty similar to what I did with the other two girls, and I just love all the newborn snuggles.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’re in the car a little after 8 am to bring Lily to school.  We drop her off in her classroom around 830, and then we go grocery shopping if it’s Tuesday or head back home if it’s Thursday.  Sometimes we visit with Ellison and Bierstadt, otherwise we’ll take the opportunity to do some vacuuming and mopping around the house.  On these days, we do lunch around 1230 and try to get down for nap by 1.  We’re back in the car just before 3 to pick up Lily from school.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we move a little bit more slowly in the morning, but we usually get out of the house between 9 and 10.  Recently, there have been a lot of doctors visits, but typically, we’ll head to a play date, the Children’s Museum, the Art Museum, a story time at the library, or a playground.  These morning outings are my salvation.  If we hang out at home for too long, the older girls start to bicker and I find myself continually cleaning up little disasters (the most apt metaphor here is shoveling in the middle of a blizzard).  Once we’re out of the house, the girls get to engage with something new and I can interact with them rather than simply clean up after them.  Oh, and feed them.  I’m stealing this line, but sometimes I feel like my main job as mom is feeding my children 36 times a day.  That, and picking up their messes and wiping their butts and issuing band aids.  Add in refereeing sibling and other social interactions (which I try to keep to a minimum without crossing the line of allowing them to maim each other or irritate another parent), and you have a pretty clear picture of how I spend my day.

But back to Luna.  She naps throughout most of the morning, and then I try to get her out of the carrier around noon.  We nurse, and then I set her down to do lunches and some tidying before nap.  After an hour or two of wakefulness, she’s ready to nurse and nap again, right around nap time for the big girls.  This is one of the trickier times of day, trying to get all three girls settled down, but I’m happy to say that we’ve met complete failure only once, after which I learned to try to keep Luna awake for an hour or two before nap.

After nap is by far the most emotionally fraught time of day.  The big girls are hungry, cranky, and want plenty of snuggles when they wake up, and it’s difficult to supply all those things, all at once, to all the girls.  So there’s lots of sobbing from about 330 -4 until Joshua gets home between 430 and 5.

Luna wakes up to the sound of her sisters screaming or sobbing and then stays awake for most of the evening, taking a couple of cat naps here and there.  Until a week or two ago, this is when she’d also be incredibly fussy, crying and writhing unless we were holding her and bouncing her, and often crying and writhing even if we were holding her and bouncing her.  Thankfully though, I’ve noticed that she’s more content in the evening these days.  (With perhaps the exception of when I go for a run, where I’m pretty sure she gives Joshua a run for his money.)

Joshua went back to work a little less than three weeks ago, but before that, we had a lovely, long paternity leave.  For six weeks, we were able to adjust to life as five, and it was such a blessing to have that time.  Not only did those six weeks give the two older girls the gift of an easier transition, but those were also the more challenging weeks of Luna’s life thus far.  She was quite restless in the evenings, sometimes crying until 11 or 12 pm at night before she’d finally fall asleep.  Having two parents at home meant that these fussy times were so much more manageable.

Thankfully, Luna seems to have grown out of her fussy evenings, and my main challenge now is helping Lu cope with this huge shift in her life.  It’s hard for both of us.  Physically, Lu is very uncomfortable.  She’s been sick a lot since Luna was born, and she’s often nursing little injuries from playing.  It seems pretty clear that Lu is both uncomfortable and seeking comfort, in both figurative and literal ways.  I recently stumbled upon Janet Lansbury, and after listening to a few episodes of her podcast, Unruffled, and perusing her website for various trouble spots in my day, I’m feeling a bit more fortified in my response to these behaviors.  That being said, a hurricane of whining and crying can really wear a person down (me), and we still have our challenging days.

***

As has become the norm, I’m now returning to this post two weeks later.  At the moment, all of the girls are napping, but you never know how long that will last!  Luna is fabulous, grinning and cooing and gurgling even more, and each day, I try to get a few uninterrupted minutes of flirting in.  Oh man.  She is so sweet.  I just love her to pieces, and like I wrote a couple of weeks ago, she’s just an easy, smiley, cuddly baby these days.  I’m loving it!  At her two month appointment, she was doing really well – she’s already up to 12 pounds (a pound and a half heavier than her sisters at this age!), and the pediatrician was impressed with her muscle tone and strength.  I don’t really think it comes as a surprise that she’s bigger and stronger, because two squirrelly big sisters will do that to a person 😉

Lu

Oh my little Lu.  At 2 years and 8 months, her hair is outgrowing the pixie I cut at the end of July (after Lily chopped off her bang hairs at the root), and draping over her ears and eyes at odd angles.  After a long night’s sleep or even just a nap, the crown of her head is a tangled little nest, and with her depressed immune system (I truly think a response to losing her role as baby of the family), she’s had a drippy nose for weeks.  But that face!  She just gets me every time.  Disheveled and oh so sweet.  I could trim up the hair, but I figure any growing out pixie has an awkward phase, so we’ll just muscle through.  And when you’re as sweet and adorable (shh! I’m not telling them how adorable!) as she is, who cares?

One of the things that I love about Lu is how easy she is with other people and in groups.  She just has this comfort, and she loves to be in the thick of it, playing and running around with the other kids.  She lacks the self-consciousness that I’ve always had.  On play dates, she loves hanging with the big kids, and to Lily’s credit, her older sister is so good about including her.

Lu has been showing more interest in drawing and painting lately, and a couple of times I’ve gotten her set up with a craft and she’s been so caught up in the creative process that she’ll sit for over a half hour, just working.  My favorite craft recently was a little embroidery sampler.  She did so well and she was so proud of her work!

On the playground, Lu is becoming an adventurous climber, but those darn slides scare her to bits (she’s been chucked on the chin too many times in the landing).  I love watching her run; she does this cute stride with her little arms straight out at her sides and her head thrown back.  Haha!  She’s also the sweetest little hand holder.  She loves holding my hand while she walks and often invites me to run with her while holding her hand.  I just ordered a Tula toddler carrier so I can carry her a little more easily on my back (with Luna on the front).  She doesn’t want to be carried all the time, but even just a couple of blocks reassures her and helps her feel loved and remembered (even if she’s not the baby any more), so I’m more than happy to be a pack horse! (Haha, and most of you know I love an excuse for a good workout anyway, so I’m not much of a martyr ;))

Poor Lu, she’s had the flu (or stomach bug or whatever it is that makes one vomit a lot) three times in the past two months, and for a while there, she was so skinny all of her undies just fell around her knees (BTW why does Target not carry undies in sizes smaller than 4T?!).  Luckily, she’s doing a bit better now, but our bittiest little lady is looking even more bitty these days.  At a weigh in recently, she was just under 24 pounds.  But that reminds me that I haven’t taken her height in ages…  So I have no idea.

Lily

Oh my!  This girl is getting SO BIG.  I cannot believe that I am the parent of a child this grown up.  Seriously.  Sometimes I look at her and I see this super mature face and nature coming through.  She loves to have conversations just between the two of us, and when we do, she has a very serious, earnest look, explaining her thoughts and realizations.  To be honest, most of the time she just seems so old to me that when she does things that I consider “younger” behavior, it throws me off.  When she doesn’t listen or pushes the physical boundaries too far with Lu or Luna, I get really frustrated, and I have to remind myself that she’s not even five yet.  It’s funny to have this little girl who is on one hand an incredible helper and a mature conversationalist but on the other hand really isn’t that old yet and therefore exhibits some really normal (and sometimes irritating) 4 going on 5 year old behaviors.

These days, Lily is loving school, dance, yoga, and play dates.  She’s gotten to practice biking a lot in the past week because the weather has been so glorious (80 degrees today and above 70 for the last four days), and she’s doing really well getting started and pedaling for the length of a block (hills and stopping are still a challenge).  She loves drawing and it doing some pretty recognizable shapes and images these days.  She LOVES holding her littlest sister (actually, she loves holding all the kiddos, Lu, Ellison, and Bierstadt included), and she likes being in charge of Oscar on our walks.

Swimming is still a favorite, and I’m just kicking myself that I haven’t gotten her into swim lessons.  I mean!  The girl would practically be swimming laps by now if she had gotten the least bit of instruction.  I think she’ll adore our trip to Costa Rica for that very reason (because we’ve promised her that she’ll be able to swim almost every single day.  Bliss!).

At school, Lily is getting ready to transition to kindergarten (ish…  Waldorf doesn’t really do kindergarten in the same way that traditional schools do.) next year, attending every day Monday through Friday from 830 to 1230.  (I forgot to mention that Lu with also be going to ECE at the same school next year, but right now, we’re not sure how many days a week.)  We’re still sensitive and sometimes have short outbursts, but you guys.  Lily has grown up so much in the last year.  For a while, we struggled with whining, and before that, god knows there were tantrums, but right now, we’re in a really good spot.  I’m so curious what 5 and this next stage will bring.

Well, I’m going to leave the updates at that for now.  I’m sure I’m missing a billion things, but it’s better than nothing!  My dad and Mandy are in town for almost a whole week (spoiling me with help!), and then Joshua has spring break and we’re going to take a long weekend in Moab with the Pietaris…  And then on May 18, we leave for Costa Rica!  So in terms of solo parenting three kiddos, we’re really looking at a very short time.  Next school year will be so different with Lily in school every day and Lu in school anywhere from two to five (I hope not five) days a week.  Plus, by the time Joshua goes back to work, Luna will already be 7 months old.  So really, I’m just looking at a month and a half here of solo parenting three young ones during the day, and really it’s not that bad.  There are moments when they’re all crying and I think I might just combust from being pulled in so many directions, but those moments are not as frequent as I might have predicted.  And I keep reminding myself how lucky I am.  I get to spend this time with my kiddos.  I get to be there for these young years, snuggle them, carry them, feed them, and listen to them.  I get to see them grow.  It’s pretty fantastic.

 


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More newborn photos and some old ones I never posted 💛

Grandma met Luna for the first time at 9 days old… Lily has a hard time relinquishing holding privileges 😉

Some daisies for photos. Look at this sweetie 💛

9 days old.

Adore this one.

That’s a lot of boob fer y’all, but this is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Sweet snuggles.

January 1st… I just can’t get over how weird/amazing the human body is. I mean, how did all of her fit in there?! How was my belly that big just 10 days ago?! Crazy.

Besties at 30 weeks and 40 weeks… I hope these two babes are good friends:)

And then these are all the family photos Brittaney took at the beginning of October! I didn’t share all of them then bc I had yet to send out our holiday photo, but now those are all out, here they are! The Black Hills were so gorgeous, and we were lucky to have some good photographers in our midst 😉 If you didn’t get one, just message us! It’s hard to keep track of all those addresses…