The page turns and a new chapter in our lives begins.

Each time we welcome a new child into our home, changes and transitions naturally come with the child.  They are not always the same changes but we adapt and our life morphs a little bit forever more.

The morning after our first night home with Gabriel, the house was still and quiet.  This hasn’t happened in seven years!!!  My boys are morning people.  They don’t even sleep in after we go to the midnight Paschal Liturgy.  (It’s crazy!)  My mom had told me to sleep in the next day after we came home from the hospital and she’d take care of the boys in the morning.  At 9:00am, she was puzzled since there was not any playing coming from the boys’ rooms and they are almost always the alarm clocks of the house.  She went to check on them to find they were still sleeping.  They slept until 10:00am!!!!  This was an absolute first for them!  She asked the boys why they were so tired as they stared at her with bags under their eyes and they told her, “Gabriel kept us up all night with his crying!” Hahahahaha!  At one point during that first night, Justin came running into my room in a panic, “Mom! Mom!  What’s wrong?!”  It took me a second to realize nothing was wrong with him and he was worried about Gabriel.  I told him Gabriel was just crying because he wanted to eat and it was ok to go back to sleep.  Since then, they have all learned to block Gabriel’s crying in the middle of the night (and Gabriel has actually stopped crying as much as he establishes a routine himself).  They’ve gone back to waking up again at their normal too early in the morning hour.

This time around, I have helpers I didn’t have when the boys moved in with us.  I’m starting to see some of the fruits of my labors and it’s kinda exciting.  For instance, Niki made the meals for the first several days after we came home from the hospital.  She made braised chicken with potatoes & carrots along with a Greek salad using cucumbers & tomatoes from our garden for dinner one night.  (This is a recipe I taught her how to make as she worked along side of me in the kitchen but it was the first time she made it completely on her own.  It turned out perfect!)  She made bacon and eggs for the kids one morning – which is pretty exciting because cereal is the norm.  She made sandwiches and taco soup and all sorts of yummy things for us to eat.

I’m taking it easy per promising my midwife I would not go home and immediately resume normal life. I laughed at her when she told me no cooking, cleaning, or driving for 2 weeks.  Um…I have 4 other kids.  I can pull off the no driving and leaving the house since I have Niki around.  The cooking and cleaning was not going to happen.  I am doing a lighter version of my normal though.  The kids all help with their daily chores and it keeps the house in presentable condition.  With all of us pitching in to clean for less than 30 minutes, I can have the floors cleaned, a load of dishes going, a load of clothes in the washer and dryer, clothes folded, clothes put away, trash taken out, bathrooms stocked and straightened, table cleaned off, bedrooms clean, and counters wiped down.  It’s nice.

My kids are very good about doing their chores.  I may have to remind them to do them but once I do, it will get done.  Thus, I have plenty of time to snuggle Gabriel and sit down with the kids and do something with them.  My kids are used to me constantly doing one thing or another and rarely resting.  I usually sit for the first time around 10pm but there’s a lot more sitting these days for me and I’m struggling between enjoying it and worrying that I’m not being productive enough.  One would think I could get a lot more computer work done on my iPad or something but it’s more difficult than one realizes to type one handed.  I started this post 5 days ago and have been adding a paragraph here and a paragraph there for several days now.  Ahhhh…navigating the new normal and establishing new rhythms.

Gabriel is a mama’s boy.  I’m not really surprised by this.  I could hold him all day long…but there are things that need to get done at some point during the day requiring both of my arms and not just one. He’s learning he has to sleep or kick around in one of his “beds” while mommy showers, cooks, etc.  He does fantastic when the kids aren’t jumping or all of a sudden get really loud – otherwise it’s pretty much an instantaneous cry for mommy to pick him up.  Who can blame him really?  We’ve been working on the boys for years that it is possible for them to play and not be crazy.  They have an unusually hard time gauging their emotions and don’t realize the difference between talking & playing and being wild & loud.  Gabriel is showing them when they’ve gone past the normal level of playing pretty effectively.  Hopefully they learn to respect that level at some point.

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 Gabriel hanging out by the cookbooks.  He likes the car seat best, if he’s not in someone’s arms, since its a snug fit.

For instance, Niki and my brother, Michael, took all the kids to church this morning.  (My brother is here visiting with his three daughters – ages 7, 5, and 2)  After they left, I fed and changed Gabriel then put him in his car seat in the kitchen while I quickly put in a load of clothes and dishes.  The background noise keeps him asleep otherwise he wakes up every time I move around him.  Again, I’m trying to teach the kids that he’ll sleep through a constant hum around the house but when someone decides to jump down into the living room, yell to someone on the other side of the house, or suddenly start playing with a loud toy…he’s going to wake up.  We’re getting there.

I was nursing Gabriel the other morning in the strategically placed rocker in my room where I can see the entire upstairs hallway from that one spot.  I was watching the boys walk between each others’ rooms as they were playing.  It’s interesting to see how boys are influenced by a new baby being in the house.  Where girls might play mommy with their dolls, I watched as my boys loosely swaddled their teddy bears in their baby blankets and tucked the teddy bear under their arms as they went about playing Legos.  It was endearing and cute.  I’ll hope they grow out of tucking their newborn under their arm pit when they grow up but other than that it was cute.

Daddy has been blessed to get more time than normal at home.  He was able to stay home until Gabriel was 5 days old.

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Daddy talking to Gabriel before going to work

We’ve enjoyed visiting with Uncle Michael and cousins this week as well.

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Gabriel LOVES rocking in the hammock swing with mommy.  Emma liked sitting with us too.

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Emma was trying to feed Sunny.  Sunny is our explorer.  She believes our entire 1.25 acres is her domain.  We’ve stopped putting her back in the fence unless she’s near my garden – which is often.  She ate ALL my strawberries!!!!  Grrrr!  We’ve threatened to roast her a few times.  I think she’s figured out that it’s an empty threat though.

We also made cookies the other day.  I had a recipe for a small batch of cookies so each of the kids got to make their own batch.  (About 5-6 cookies)

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DSC_1048For whatever reason, Maddie decided she needed to puff out her cheeks as she rolled her cookie dough.  Too cute!