Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Wonderful Early Christmas

Today my in-laws came over for a little early Christmas celebration. We had such a great time. My mother in law is super creative and she came up with some fun games to play that resulted in some fun gifts!! She had questions like, "Who in the Troyer family is the 'monkey-est', 'sweetest', 'stinkiest' and 'naughtiest'" and the gifts for who won (we voted by secret ballot) were, Plantain chips, candy, soap and "lump of coal" candy. How fun!! My children loved the gifts they received: Aaron got a Melissa & Doug car carrier truck, Savannah and Abby got "sing a ma jigs", Luke got a hex bug habitat which I have to say I think was the life of the party (and yes, we got more batteries, Karen!) And my personal favorite gift was Lilah's, a darling "Baby Stella" baby doll. I love having a baby girl again!! Oh and of course, my wonderful mother in law has kept up the tradition of getting me the annual Willow Tree ornament. She's done this for I think 5 years now. I just adore Willow Tree and it's so neat to be the only grown up that gets a gift! Makes me feel special! Thank you for coming down to visit with us, we really enjoyed having you, as usual!! I'll post photos soon!

Downplaying the Husband

I was having a conversation with some friends of mine at the park yesterday...we get together on a weekly basis to have our children get some proper socialization (insert eye roll here). Honestly, it's more so we mommies can get some proper socialization! Usually it's me and 3 or 4 of my good friends. The great thing about this group of ladies is that they're all Christians. Not just "Christian" ladies, but practicing, God-fearing, seeking to please Him in all they do Christian ladies. We all homeschool and we're all what you would call "like-minded". Whenever we get together, it's a time to uplift, admonish and encourage each other. We share gripes and struggles, but we also do our best to lead each other back to the Lord we serve and are striving to please by walking this challenging path we walk. There are times when we all struggle with WHY?? Why am I doing this? Why is this so hard? Why won't my children just do what they're supposed to do and give me some peace...and the big one: WHY ISN'T GOD LISTENING TO ME?!?!?! It's definitely a struggle living this life. Having children home 24/7 is a blessing I wouldn't trade for anything. Having MANY children is a gift that is as humbling as it is wonderful.

So what does this have to do with husbands, you ask? Well, the thing is, although I would consider my group of close friends a godly group of women, we are just as easily drawn into secular sentiments as anyone else if we aren't on guard. So, the conversation that sparked this post went a little something like this:
One of the ladies in this group of friends announced that she is pregnant, yet again. What wonderful news, right?!?! Well of course!! Everyone was very happy, but then the conversation took a bit of a turn. "My husband is SO happy, he'd like us to have a dozen more!"
One friend says, "Of course HE would, he's not the one who has to deal with them all day long!" Now, let me just say, this wasn't said in a way that many similar sentiments to this are I said, we all homeschool, we all think that children are a blessing and we all feel blessed beyond belief to be able to have the privilege of being home with our children. It was said more with a feeling of, "Children are a LOT of work, they're hard on our bodies, and when you're already not getting much sleep, they can be downright exhausting." And to this statement, we all laughed, and nodded in agreement. But then I got to thinking. No, our husbands have no idea what it is like to be pregnant. The nausea, the exhaustion and the reality of still having to "get it all done" no matter how you feel. They don't know what it feels like to be up all night nursing a newborn, or the stress of trying to teach children while a baby cries and a toddler yanks at your leg and your preschooler announces that they accidentally pooped on the floor and need you to clean it up because although they did the best job they could, they couldn't quite do it! The stress load can sometimes be seemingly more than we can bear...and while we're doing all this: still keeping a clean home, cooking meals, trying to look attractive, keeping a good attitude AND maintaining a healthy desire for our husbands (PSHEW!!). Sometimes the thought of another baby isn't as joyful to us as it may be to our husbands because we're the ones who have to bear this burden. But wait a minute!!! Don't our husbands have a burden to bear? I mean, beyond the obvious bringing home the bacon, making sure we've got a roof over our heads, a bigger car for our ever-expanding family, doing well at his job so he HAS a job to afford the lifestyle he has chosen. Yes, he has THAT burden. But beyond that, he has the burden of being the SPIRITUAL leader of the family. He is responsible for what I do as far as the upbringing of our children is concerned. Of course, I will stand before God on Judgement Day and answer for what I've done (or haven't done as the case may be), but my husband will be held responsible for how HE lead his wife and his family. That is a huge burden to bear. I realize that many husbands may not even KNOW that they are responsible for this, but look at Adam and Eve. It was EVE who sinned first. Yet God doesn't address her, he addresses Adam and his failure to watch and protect his wife. To this day sin is found in the "seed of Adam", not Eve, which is why Jesus was the only human being born without sin, because He was conceived absent of the seed of Adam. God punished Eve for her sin, but the responsibility was put on Adam. Our husbands have this same responsibility not only for themselves, but for their wives and for EACH child the Lord blesses them with. So yes, it may be "easy for him to say that" since he doesn't have to stay home and take care of the children, but if we look deeper, each child the Lord blesses us with is yet another soul that he is responsible to "train up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." I have to say, as I have an 18 month old and a 6 month old who keeps me up all night many ways, I have the easier job. I tend to their needs, he must tend to their souls. Thankfully, by God's grace, neither of us have to do it alone. Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My sweet little Airy-Bear

Aaron loves to have Savannah read to him. He'll grab a book and plop himself on her lap, it's SO sweet!

Actually, EVERYONE loves for Savannah to read to them! Savannah loves to oblige them!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It's that time of year....
Pfefferkuchen is a traditional German Christmas cookie that my Oma made for us each year. That, along with the little chocolate advent calenders just SCREAM Christmas for me, so I've started the tradition of the advent calenders, but also Pfefferkuchen baking with my children each year. They just love it and we have such a fun time! This year we have a very special reason for baking so early. My beloved brother and his family are moving far, far away. We've always been very close...both relationionally, but also geographically. The sad thing is that he has a baby now...a darling son that I adore...he's 11 months old. And they're moving away. :( But I we baked like maniacs so that we could send my brother off on his cross-country journey with a trailer full of Pfefferkuchen. We'll definitely have to bake more as it gets closer to Christmas. It's just so tasty!


Melt together:
8oz honey
1 c. sugar
1.5 stick butter

5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp dark cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

When melted ingredients cool to room temperature (cool enough where it won't cook the eggs when you add them), put into stand mixer and add:
2 eggs

While running mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.
Take dough from mixer and knead a couple of times on a floured surface and roll about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. I prefer small-ish shapes.

Note: dough is WAY easier to work with when it's warm.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, just until the underside is lightly browned. When cookies are nearly cool, use pastry brush to glaze with mixture of powdered sugar and lemon juice (this takes practice getting it just the right consistency...not too runny, not too thick--it should leave a thin, crunchy crust on cookies, not a frosting. If it's too thin, or if cookies are too warm, it will absorb into cookies, not what you want!)

Does he think we won't know who did it?!?!

This is Luke's handiwork. This is not the first appliance he's written his name on in sharpie. He looked at me and said in complete earnest, "The sharpie was sitting on top of the dryer!" I had to explain that just because it was sitting there does NOT mean that he HAS to pick it up and write his name on the appliances!!! His reply was, "well, it'll come right off with magic eraser!" He was singing a different tune after a good, long while of scrubbing--with a magic eraser. Do I think having him scrub it will keep him from doing it again? Nope. Not at all. Sharpies are SO tempting.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rolling Over!

Lilah is still 10 days away from being 6 months old and she is officially a pro at rolling over from both tummy to back and now back to tummy!! She had done it before, but it wasn't anything really consistent, but as of today, I put her on the floor and there she goes, right to her tummy! She is already getting all around the living room as well, just wiggling along. When I put her on her back, she'll do sit ups to see what's going on...she's extremely strong. It really is amazing how quickly babies start to become mobile!! I wonder if this is any indication of her being an early crawler?!?!? I sure hope not...but hey, what can I do!?!?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

5 Months, 1 Week and 5 Days old.

And Lilah rolled from her front to her tummy tonight when I was getting her dressed after her bath. She is SO strong, I would not be surprised if she were my earliest crawler. She also chatted and smiled all through church today, other than while she took a little snooze in my arms (while nursing, of course)

Aaron had been doing okay at church, but I've got to have one of the girls go with him. I feel bad that they can't be in children's church, but I know he would not do well being left there. He gets SO hysterical. Are my children the only ones who absolutely LOSE it when left in the nursery at church?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some Photos

Aaron blowing "raspberries" on Lilah's tummy, she goes absolutely crazy and it makes him laugh, too cute!

My 3 stooges, getting crafty.

Abby, making decorations for their fort at Papa's house.

My boys in their super secret hidey spot.

My Bear, dressed as a lion.

"Are they all yours?"

It's funny how often I hear this. The children and I enjoy counting how many comments our family gets when we go out to the store. Today we didn't even make it out of the car before the person next to us made a comment. He was saying, "Wow, look at all of these children!" and I hadn't even gotten Lilah out yet! :) He smiled and said, "1, 2, 3, 4...5! I'm the middle of 5 boys!" We chatted for a few moments then went toward the store. We had barely said good-bye to that person when another man looks at us and says, "Are they all yours?", I said, "Yes!" and he said, "You're amazing! I have an 8 day old and we're having a hard time." I assured him that newborns are VERY difficult and that the first baby in particular is a challenge. I wish I had more time to talk to him...I really feel for first time parents because I remember very distinctly how hard it was, how I felt like there was no way I could handle it all, let alone think of ever having more than one! Later we went to Whole Foods (generally not the place you expect to get POSITIVE comments on a large family) and when we were loading up the car, I turned around and an older (probably in her 60's) woman was standing there and she said, "I just wanted to tell you that you have such a beautiful family!" She proceeded to tell me that she was the 2nd oldest of 8 children (she was Catholic), and she and her older sister are 18 months apart, very similar to Savannah and Abby. She said she loved it so much and she misses that part of her life. She was only able to have one child, but she said that she loves to see large families and that all of my children looked so wonderful and healthy.
You know, living in a culture that does not appreciate children as the miracle and blessing that they are can be difficult on a larger than average family. I've heard of some people getting some very negative comments and to be honest, some people have said some things that are less than encouraging...mostly things like, "So, you're done, right?", but in general, I've been greatly encouraged by the people I've come into contact with. We met a young man who was one of 9 the other day, then that same day we met a woman who was one of 11. I haven't heard anyone say, "Oh my goodness, it was HORRIBLE!", everyone we've talked to has been so kind and polite, although it is rather funny to see how many people check us out and don't say anything. I guess some people take the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" to heart! :) If so, that's fine...everyone is welcome to their own opinion...but after hearing some of the things people I know have been told, I'm very thankful for the experiences we've had--especially since my children are with me wherever I go. I think of it as one of God's ways of telling us that yes, we are doing the right thing by letting Him have control over this area of our lives. Knowing that having more than the average number of children has it's challenges, we choose to embrace the fact that God knows what is best for us. He knows better than we do what we need, what is right for our family and what life situations will further refine us and build character. One person said, "Wow, you must have a whole different level of patience!", to which I replied, "Patience is a process". And it is. Sanctification is a process. When we choose the more difficult path of trusting in the Lord, it is going to be more challenging, but it will also be more rewarding because of the fact that character is developed through the trials of life, if we choose to surrender to God's Spirit. Believe me, there are plenty of days that I fight and those days are miserable...for me and my family. I hope that as I walk this path the Lord is leading me down, I am more and more able to yield to His will and His Spirit, because truly, that's where the sweetness of life happens!

Friday, November 18, 2011


...guess what?!?! No, I'm not pregnant. Not yet at least. Yes, we are hoping for more blessings. No, we are not crazy. But that is neither here nor there...what I was talking about was the fact that I got a NEW computer!! :) My poor laptop. Actually, it wasn't even MY laptop, it was Jeremy's, and he let me use it. That was a very big mistake. It became the "family" computer as the other computer is in the basement (and for some strange reason is not currently working--hmm, odd) and the laptop was conveniently on the dining room table. Well, yes, it was convenient...for everyone, including Aaron. Convenient to color on with dry erase markers (how DOES he reach those things?), convenient to bash on the keys and see which ones come popping off...oh yeah, and a convenient receptacle if you happen to spit up! Eeeeewww, yes, it was nasty. I honestly had thought that someone left a cheese puff under the laptop, but strangely, we hadn't had cheese puffs in the house for quite a while. I was in denial, what can I say? Any hoo. It was time for a new computer. My time is very limited and thus, I don't like to spend my "spare" time sitting at the table on the computer. But the fact that the battery on the laptop was non-existent made it impossible to do anything BUT sit at the table if I wanted to do anything on the computer. Mind you, I really don't spend a TON of time on the computer, but I do a lot of my shopping online, as well as researching new recipes and a bit of time keeping in touch on for me it's nice to be able to sit down and do what I need to do online while nursing. Although I try not to do that TOO much as I really like to just look at Lilah while she nurses, it's so sweet.
It's just so much fun to have a computer that is all my own. I just downloaded the first batch of photos onto my computer using my OWN organization system. When I download files, I know exactly where they are. The best part though, is that the computer is little and easily put away, up out of the reach of the little "Tiny Tot of Terror"! Oh, and it was on sale for only $250! What a deal! So I'm so happy that I am sitting on the sofa posting this rather than sitting in a terribly uncomfortable chair at the dining room table...oh, AND my dining room table is no longer cluttered with various and sundry computer stuff! Praise God!

Tiny Tot of Terror Face:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Stuff

Life is keeping me busy, busy, busy. This is definitely a good thing, but it usually leaves very little time for anything other than the necessary tasks. I manage to get it all done, within reason--I mean, who REALLY needs their clothes folded always? At least they're clean--and dry! I've been trying to cook more from scratch so we only have to buy the staples. The prices of groceries are getting out of control and we're really trying to tighten our proverbial belts in order to save some money in case we ever need it--you know, like if one of our children breaks another window or something?!?! Just sayin'. With children, things happen...and it's nice to have a bit of a buffer. So between cooking and cleaning, diaper changes and homeschooling, life is very full. It's a good full for sure, especially at the end of the day when I'm tired and I look into the lovely eyes of my darling children and they tell me they love me. It's all worth it. Another thing that's all worth it...let me just say, having 2 babies one year apart is VERY difficult. Especially with one very strong-willed one. It is crazy chaotic and at times overwhelming. But when I am nursing the wee one and her sweet brother comes up onto my lap and she stops nursing to giggle at him, oh my goodness, it just melts my heart. The more she laughs (she's a SUPER giggly guppy anyway), the more he tries to make her laugh. It is SO absolutely adorable. They can go on for a good 10-15 minutes just cracking up at each other. Of course I don't have it on video because as soon as we get the camera out, Aaron is more focused on seeing himself in the camera than anything else, but take my word for it, it's SO cute!

One of these days soon I'll get on a photo posting roll again. Naps haven't been our strongest suit lately, and usually around a half hour after I put Lilah to bed, she's crying again, so my quiet evenings have been pretty non-existent. And unfortunately, my evenings are usually the only time I have to get anything on the computer accomplished--in fact, the only reason I'm blogging right now is because Daddy is upstairs with a very grumpy, teething little guy and I just happened to get Lilah into bed...although I really should be folding laundry, I decided to do this instead. I haven't been taking enough photos. I'm still trying to encourage Jeremy to grab the camera more often and snap a photo here and there just so we have some documentation of this crazy time in our lives. One day we'll look back and say, "Hey, how come there are no photos?!?!"

So last night was a big deal. Although Luke is 4 and a half years old, we've allowed him to have his pacifier up to this point because I was willing to do just about anything for a good night's rest, and to me that meant that if we had to get braces for him, so be it...sleep is more important. But I digress. So last night I told Luke that it was time. Jeremy bought some balloons, we tied the pacifiers to the balloons and Luke let them go. There was a little fussing at bed time, but really not much. I was so proud of him. When I went to check on him around 20 minutes after he had gone to bed, he was sound asleep. What a big boy. Today we went to Powell's Sweet Shop and got him a special treat (and some candy for everyone else!). And we went to the library for the first time in a very long time--getting out for anything but the necessities is challenging these days with all of the required naps, schooling, cleaning, cooking, etc., etc., etc.

Lilah is now just over 15lbs, grabbing at everything and making the cutest squeaks. She absolutely refuses to take a bottle and sleeps like a newborn still. She almost always wakes at midnight, I nurse her and put her back to bed, then she usually wakes around 3am and I'll bring her into bed with me and we usually get some good sleep until just after 7am. When we went to my parents house and she had her own room, she slept FANTASTIC. I actually had to WAKE her up to nurse her. I wonder if it was sheer coincidence?!?! One day she'll have her own room and maybe we'll all get some longer stretches of sleep, but for now, I'm just trying to enjoy this time.

Aaron is teething like mad, running all over the place and picking up new words like crazy, his latest being "Shoes", "Doggie" and "Apple". He's SOOOOOOOO cute, and soooo challenging, but I love the little guy to pieces. Oh, he's CONSTANTLY giving kisses too (and biting too, you never know if he's going to kiss or bite--how fun!)

Okay, despite my procrastinating, the laundry has not done itself...I must run. Thankfully dinner is already in the crock pot!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finding the Time

This weekend I'm going to have Jeremy take some "back to school" photos of the children. It's just not so easy to find the time to get the camera out and get some good shots. Things are running pretty smoothly here with school and household management, I really can't complain. Jeremy is still working long hours and that makes it a bit more difficult to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time--especially since during nap time we try to do the reading part of our school work (where I read to THEM), and I've been exercising in the afternoon as well. It's a very quick workout, but 20 minutes in a PACKED schedule is precious time. So if you ever wonder why I'm not blogging as much as you'd like me to, don't wonder. My life is VERY full--wonderfully full.

Lilah has been a stinker when it comes to sleep. Up until last night, she had been waking every 2 hours during the night. UGGH! Last night it was every 3 hours, although I didn't sleep very well as I was anticipating her waking at any given moment. This too shall pass, right?!?! I thought that perhaps if I could give her a bottle, just a little supplement, she'd do a little better, but she wants NOTHING to do with a bottle. On one hand I really don't like that idea, on the other hand, this is what I've been praying for...being able to breastfeed for the entire first year. Yes, it's "inconvenient" in some ways, but what a blessing to feed her God's best! She is so amazingly strong. She will not stay on her tummy anymore, she rolls right to her back...but it's very rare that she get's put down on the floor anyway due to the fact that she has a very "doting" big brother. He just LOVES to give her kisses, but sometimes gets a bit rough. She is at the age where she MUST be strapped into her swing, or she'll wiggle right out. She is taking 2 pretty good naps and one cat nap most days. Usually her morning nap is a really good one, and the afternoon may or may not be a good one. It's nice to see a routine forming though, even if it doesn't necessarily coincide with Aaron's...they usually nap for at least an hour at the same time, so I guess I really can't ask for more!

Aaron is growing in leaps and bounds. He's officially running. He's certainly not very fast, but it's also not a walk! We just got squeaky shoes for him so that when he's outside with Luke during our school time, we always know where he is! It's quite handy! He is saying more and more....his latest word is "shoe", go figure! :) He is always asking to go "night night", which actually means OUTSIDE. He can open our front door from the outside, what a smart little cookie. He's really come a long way. He's generally quite happy now (PRAISE GOD), and is sleeping wonderfully. In fact, he's usually waking around 5-7am, but in the past couple of days, the girls have given him his bottle and I haven't even known that he was awake. Talk about the blessing of older children, they are SO wonderful! He's got a TON of teeth now. He's got almost 4 on the top front and 2 molars on the top...and he's got the bottom two front and 2 molars on the bottom. Such a strange tooth pattern, but hey...whatever! They're all individuals.

The girls are doing well with school. There are days that I wish they'd stay focused a bit more and not be such lolly-gaggers, but mostly it's my fault for not being on top of things because I have things I have to get done. When I buckle down and set the timer for their work, they breeze through it. It's when I get busy doing housework and letting them work independently that things don't go so well. They've been helping Luke with HIS school work too, it's very sweet to watch. Abby is getting very excited about her birthday coming up so soon. I can't believe she'll be 8!! I still have to decide what to get her for her birthday. Her wish list changes from day to day, so I try not to get a gift until the last minute. She amazes me with her aptitude for math. I've got her in 4th grade math and she is breezing through the majority of it. She also wrote her first paper in English the other day, and although it certainly wasn't "perfect", it's so cute to see her creativity come through in her written word. She is also very diligent and neat with her handwriting. She doesn't know how to make all of her cursive letters without looking yet, but she sure works hard on doing it as neatly as she possibly can, and it is definitely neat indeed!

I've noticed a lot of maturing character-wise in Savannah lately. Yes, she still does very silly things, like hitting her sister over something silly, and fussing because her sister is being nicer to her friend than to her...but in her ability to have a bit more self-control and really set her mind on obedience and pleasing US, she is improving. I often find myself expecting a whole lot out of my children and being disappointed when they don't conform to my ideal of what they should be doing. I have to remind myself that they are still rather young and character takes time, so it's very encouraging to see things slowly taking shape.

Luke has been our designated Aaron-watcher while we're doing school work. I usually send them outside together in the back yard so I can keep an eye on them while we work and he is doing really good with making sure Aaron stays close by. It's so cute to see them playing together. Luke LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Lilah. He kisses her and talks sweet to her all the time. He's never said anything bad about her, he thinks she's the greatest thing. He's also been AWESOME with helping out around the house. He's a wonderful "garbage man". He takes all of the dirty diapers from me as SOON as I change them and throws them into the garbage for me. Then he even took the garbage out of the kitchen can and took it out to the big can on the curb! What a wonderful helper. He's quite diligent at housework when he actually gets into it. I really need to train him to do a few more things because he's getting to the age where he's really helpful. Today he helped me rake outside and got the gutters nice and clean! The children have a "Dog Fund" that they're putting all of their money into (I think it's so sweet that any money any of them earns goes into the "pot" and if they want to buy something, they ask each other), so that when we live where we can have a dog, they can use that money to buy things for the dog. :) So every time he helps with something, he's super excited that he has money to add to their jar.

Well, it's time for me to go take a shower and get ready for my evening beckoning. Lilah has been waking up shortly after I put her to bed because she wants to nurse again....cruel little taskmaster! :) But a cute one, indeed!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Big Baby Girl

Last night was an amazing night. I put Lilah to bed at 8:30pm as usual, but I was completely shocked when I woke up at 4am and she was STILL snoozing. I of course had to check her to be sure she was okay, and she was, of course...but then I did something I never thought I'd do. I woke her up. I'm not a big fan of waking babies up in the middle of the night, but for the sake of my milk supply, I needed to feed her. I woke her up, nursed her and put her back into bed and she slept until 7am! What a GLORIOUS night. It was the first night since she's been born that I could stretch and roll over and sleep with no one snuggled up close to me. To be honest, I KINDA missed her. Not so much that I would RATHER have her in bed with me, but it is kinda sweet to wake up and look over and see her sweet little face. It really amazed me though because up until this point, the longest she's EVER slept was 4 hours. I wasn't expecting this...but we did have a bit of a tiring day, I suppose (shopping and a bit of driving).

Aaron now has 6 teeth--they're arriving in such a weird pattern. He has the top 2 and the bottom 2 of course, then that random molar...and now he's had the top, left tooth next to the middle ones pop through. He's also talking up a storm. Of course, no sentences or anything, but it seems like he says new words every day. He says "help", "baby", "more"--while signing "more", Lilah, of course, Abby, Mama, Dada, thank you and more I can't think of right now. Such a smart little guy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School

We had our first day of school yesterday. It was mostly an overview of what we'll be doing this year, looking at our books and stuff, but the girls and Luke were all eager to jump in. Luke did great with his workbooks--he's got Get Ready for the Code, Singapore Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics and Developing the Early Learner (or something along those lines, I'm not sure of the EXACT title at this moment--my coffee cup is still half full, so my brain is not quite functional yet). He did a few pages and really enjoyed it. He's so funny, when I asked him to tell daddy what letter he was learning about today he said, "FISH!". Hahaha...uhhh, fish is not a letter! :)

Abby got her math drill done in about 6 minutes and 25 seconds, Savannah took just over 9 minutes, which is typical for them. Abby is stronger in math, Savannah in language/reading. It's interesting to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie. They're both in 4th grade math because of this. I'm really loving our curriculum so far. I never thought I'd be more of a workbook kind of person, but I think it's going to work for us because not only do my girls LIKE workbooks, but it gives me something tangible to evaluate where we've been and how we're coming along. So I'm pretty excited.

The only thing that didn't go smoothly yesterday was Aaron...he was quite disruptive, so it'll be interesting to see what I can do with him in order to minimize the craziness!! Speaking of which, he's awake...better finish this cuppa quick!!

I'm ashamed of myself!

Lilah laughed for the first time about a week and a half ago. I was holding her and being silly and she laughed! She did it quite a few times. It, of course, was as darling as can be. She's always been a big smiler and squeaker...she'll smile real big and then give you a HUGE squeak. The girls told me she was "laughing" for our neighbor and I was disappointed that she gave her first real laugh to a stranger...but when she started laughing for me, I asked them, "Is that what she was doing for Scott?" and they said, "Oh no! She was squeaking at him". So I didn't even mark it down that she did her first REAL laugh for me! It wasn't until this morning when Facebook showed my status from a year ago today that Aaron had HIS first real laugh that I was reminded that I didn't record hers. Boooo, as Luke would say!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Very Strange

So in my last post I said that Aaron has been waking me up. It's normal for him to wake up once a night and have a bottle (on his own) and sleep in until around 8am. He's been doing fantastic actually...until the past few nights. I kinda figured he was teething because, come on, he's only got 4 teeth...he's BOUND to be getting more, right? But I hadn't really seen anything going on lately...but every time he gets like this: fussy during the day, sleep not so great, shorter naps...I KNOW that's what's going on. So I had him laughing the other day and saw that the tooth next to his left top tooth is starting to show. It hasn't popped through yet, but I can see the outline of it. Good, it IS teething. But then I saw some white spots in the top BACK part of his gums. I felt didn't really feel like anything, I felt the other and lo and's a TOOTH! I'm not sure if it's a molar or one of his bicuspids, but it's definitely NOT part of the "normal" tooth pattern. I'm excited though because the sooner we get these teeth in, the sooner things will smooth out. I'm not a fan of teething!

Making Progress

I've been working on putting Lilah in her crib and then when she wakes, nursing her and putting her BACK into her crib, rather than being lazy and bringing her to bed with me. Let me first say that I am a lot more tired these past couple of days then I was before...but it's part of the price one pays, I suppose. I really don't think the tiredness has to do with Lilah though, because she's been great...I think it has to do with her brother waking me up too!! But that's a different post!

So last night she went from 8:30pm until 1:30am (GREAT stretch!) and then from about 1:45am until 3am! I brought her into bed with me then and actually forgot she was in there with me until I was awakened at 6:30 by a crying Aaron. He was soaking wet and thankfully seems to have gone back to sleep because a day starting at 6:30 with him would not be a good thing!! Thankfully I managed to sneak out of bed without waking Lilah! :) So yes, we're making progress. Something that gave me a kick in the pants was that my Facebook status from a year ago said, "Aaron slept from 8pm-2:40am and then from 3-7am!" I thought, "WOW! I thought Aaron wasn't the best sleeper...Lilah NEEDS to be doing better!" Time to stop being so lazy and work on her night time sleep so I can get more sleep!

Monday, August 29, 2011

If I were sleeping, I'd be dreaming of sleep!

My baby girl is NOT the greatest sleeper in the world. I sometimes wonder, did I just get lousy sleepers (other than Luke) or is it something I'm doing wrong?!?! Lilah is almost 11 weeks old, and the longest stretch of sleep she's had to date has only been slightly over 3 hours. I put her to bed (as usual) around 8pm last night...and by just after 10, right when I was FINALLY climbing into bed, I saw arms flailing in the crib. Have I mentioned I really don't enjoy sharing a room with a baby? She had unswaddled herself. I re-swaddled her, nursed her and put her to bed. 5 minutes later, she's grunting and fussing. I got her up, nursed her again and put her back in bed. FINALLY, at 11pm, I went to bed. Aaron wakes at 1am for a bottle--I have to go potty anyway, so rather than wake Jeremy up, who, incidentally, fell PROMPTLY to sleep at 10pm, I get up to get his bottle. 2am, she's awake again. I don't even bother to nurse her...what's the point of sitting up for another 30 minutes to an hour at this hour when I FINALLY went to sleep 3 hours ago?!?! I bring her to bed with me. We sleep for a while...until I decide to get comfortable. My movement wakes her up and she starts grunting/fussing. I turn over and nurse her again and succumb to sleeping on my side and trying to ignore the ache that's starting in my hips and back. I don't know how many times this happened...I think she slept reasonably well--it seems that the more tired I get, the less I realize that I'm really uncomfortable. Aaron woke up at 6:45am. Quite early for him...he's teething, plus he DID have his bottle at 1am! I give him his bottle (what's left of it) and he is quiet. There is really no point of TRYING to sneak back into bed, amazingly Lilah did NOT wake up when I got I come downstairs to at least enjoy some coffee and computer time while it's quiet--and to try to figure out what in the world I'm going to do about getting Lilah to sleep better...shouldn't we be well on our way to sleeping thru the night by this point?? At least sleeping in a couple of large chunks? Sleeping in her OWN bed would be fantastic! Oh, did I mention that her naps are rarely more than 45 minutes too? Unless, of course, it's in her swing. I'm sure all of this is related and I'm perpetuating the problem...but at 2am, all I want is matter how lousy it is...I take solace in the fact that in approximately 9-10 months, she will probably be sleeping mostly through the night. *sigh*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Boys...**Caution: Photo Blitz**

Aaron LOVES Lilah!

Aaron was filthy dirty. He likes to eat dirt.

Even though he was filthy dirty, he still wanted to show his little sissy a little love.

As usual, he got a little overly exuberant with his "love".

Lilah was not feeling the love!

Who? Me?


Brothers are so wonderful, and there is nothing quite like the bond between brothers. They love each other soooooo much...

And NEVER think of doing ANYTHING unkind toward each other...

There is always something interesting going on when you've got a brother around...

And sometimes you just have to accept that they can sometimes be a little pesky!

The Many Faces of Lilah Troyer

Single Parenting is for the Birds.

Jeremy had his last night of watch this evening. It was more stressful than usual because he didn't come home when he was "supposed" to, so I was outside way too late with the children, which meant that we had 2 SCREAMING babies while I was trying to bathe them and get everything done. He still was not home when Aaron was losing it and in NEED of bed. I did what I had to do, and what I usually do when I'm home alone--I go to my big helpers. I tell you, if I didn't have my older children, this would be far more difficult. Yes, it'd be easier in some ways because I wouldn't have 3 other children to care for...but honestly, the help my girls offer is priceless. I swaddled Lilah and handed her, screaming, to Savannah. Savannah got a pacifier and by the time I got Aaron settled, she had her sleeping in her arms. I went to take her to bed and Savannah said, "Oh, don't take her yet, she's so cute!". I think it's so absolutely precious how my children love each other...and how the girls care for the babies. By the way, I was informed that I gave credit to Savannah for diapering and jammy-ing Aaron the other night, when it was in fact Abby who did it. Impressive!! Especially for a 7 year old! :) I'm so proud of my girls. I know it's hectic and crazy, but all I can think is: they will be so well prepared for when they have children of their own. They already know how to care for babies a lot better than most young ladies who are having children. As crazy as this life can be, and as frazzled as I get children don't seem to mind. They just roll with it. It's such a blessing that God gives them the ability to cope with all of this craziness because they don't know any different...but even better is that they seem to love it. Very few things make me happier than when they tell me that they want to have lots of children when they grow up...because then I know that their lives aren't so bad after all! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

So maybe I'm not as light a sleeper as I once thought!

Having children has turned me into a deeper sleeper, apparently. Not only was my car stolen out of my driveway while I baby was also snatched out of my arms while I slept--by her daddy, of course! She was not settling and grunted and carried on from around 5am on. I was almost ready to give up and get up with her, but it was still a bit early (around 7am), so I unswaddled her, let her "play" and rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. And sleep I did. I woke up at 8am and about had a heart attack when I looked over and Lilah was not there!! Man, what a way to start the day! It only took me a second to realize what happened, but it sure scared me! I guess when you're tired, you're tired! Jeremy was making fun of me saying, "I thought you were like a Momma bear...and you just let me snatch her right out of your arms!" I think if it were anyone other than Jeremy, I would have noticed--at least I hope so!

My Children are Such a Blessing!

Tonight Jeremy is working. I really don't like this schedule, and I really should be in bed...but alas, the quiet evening calls to be enjoyed! So when he works, he leaves at the crack of dawn--before 5am, works all day, spends the night at work and then works the next day until 6:30pm. He gets home that day at 7:30-ish, just in time to help me with baths and bedtime--very much wanted and needed after the night before doing it alone. Well, I can't really say I do it "alone". My children are such wonderful helpers. Tonight all 4 of the "older" ones bathed together. They played house and pretended that Luke and Aaron were the babies. Savannah bathed Aaron, put his diaper and jammies on him and got him all ready for bed. Once he was ready for me, she took Lilah from me and held her while I put Aaron to bed. I get asked quite often how I do it with all 5 of them, but honestly, it's so much easier now than it was when there were only 2 of them. Yes, there is more work now--especially laundry--but with 2 big helpers, things go so much faster and more smoothly. Luke is even getting in on the action and is quickly becoming my dedicated vacuum-operator! He did the stairs the other day nearly PERFECTLY! Tomorrow he will be vacuuming out the car. He really enjoys using the vacuum!

The girls had the privilege of going to Discovery Kingdom today with our friends. It was nice to have some special time with Luke and Aaron (Lilah still sleeps a lot). I was hoping to have a bit more time one on one with Luke, but Aaron decided not to nap well today. Oh well. I took LOTS of pictures today of my precious boys, so I'll post soon...but probably not until Jeremy gets back home and I have a bit more back-up, but we'll see...maybe I can get it done tomorrow! Okay, my bed is calling...I'm hoping Lilah sleeps well tonight...last night she went from 10pm until 3:30am without waking...unfortunately, she was in bed with me, but hey...I was able to stretch out and sleep well, so I can't complain!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Big Girls

Just being cute & silly...

This is Savannah wearing Daddy's clothes...

2 & 14 Months! :)

My babies are getting bigger by the second! This photo of Lilah was taken a week or so ago, so I DO need a more recent one...but this one of Aaron was tonight, when I decided to give him an early bath so I didn't have to juggle 2 baths with Daddy not here tonight. I tell ya, I'm going to be VERY happy when Jeremy is home EVERY night again. This kind of schedule is for the birds!

Not my PREFERRED way of cooking...

...but a Momma's gotta do what a Momma's gotta do! Rather than get caught up in cooking, I decided to get them involved, which is wonderful with a 4 year old, not so much with a 1 year old! :) It was going great until he decided to take a bite of a tomato and then throw it into the muffin batter. Hmmmm...

And the finished product....very tasty!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I want to post...but....

I'm just SO busy these days. There is very little time for the computer, well...little time that can be spent using my brain. Usually if I'm able to be online, either it's late, or I'm nursing...and I really don't feel like doing a blog post with one hand, that'd take forever!

I've started cooking and baking more because I've issued myself a challenge: I'm going to try to feed my family on $400 or less for the next 30 days. I have quite a bit of food in the freezer and pantry, so I'm kinda cheating, but I'm really working on cutting back on packaged food and cooking more from scratch. Yes, it's wonderful, healthier and less expensive, but it also takes a lot more time. I think once I get a system and get some big things out of the way (big batches of soup and breads), I'll have a bit more time. I'm currently looking for good time and money saving tips to help MY family. There are a lot of great ideas out there, but not everything works for every family.

I've discovered Wow, there are a LOT of wonderful ideas and recipes on there....and thankfully it's something I CAN do one-handed! :)

Aaron is officially a toddler...walking most of the time. It's SO cute! Lilah is smiling like crazy all of the time...not sleeping very well though. She's in bed with me for most of the night which I do NOT love. I have to keep reminding myself that she's only 8 weeks old (well, 2 MONTHS old tomorrow!), and she'll figure it out. And on that note, I'm off to bed to hopefully sleep without her for a while.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8 weeks old!

Lilah is 8 weeks old today and making strides!! Today I put her on her tummy on the floor and she rolled over! I thought it was a fluke, so I turned her back over again and she did it again! She is SUCH a strong little girl. Then I put her in her bouncy chair and she reached up and pulled the little toy that plays music. It was pretty amazing. She's looking more like a baby and less like a newborn.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When it rains, it pours.

My goodness! I've been to the doctor 6x in the past week now. Lilah just finished antibiotics for her cough. They worked WONDERS and it's all gone--praise God! :) Aaron is still being treated for thrush, but now he's got this crazy mystery rash. It is all around his mouth and look HORRID...especially now that it's become impetigo. The doctor has no idea what the original rash is...we were thinking hand foot and mouth, but it's all over and he doesn't act sick. Then she said perhaps chicken pox, but again, no sickness and the rash is at different stages on his body. She said she thinks it's some kind of viral rash, but it has probably become worse with the impetigo and of course he has the thrush because his immune system is struggling for some reason. The funny thing is that he's been more cheerful and wonderful than usual lately--talking up a storm and walking everywhere. He's been saying, "Abby" a lot and the other day he crawled up to me and said, "Hello!" in the cutest voice! He's such a little doll. I'll have to get a photo of this rash though, it's really quite funky. I just keep praying that no one else gets it and that it's nothing serious. We missed out on a visit with my brother and his family (the last visit for at least 5 weeks while he goes to school), so I'm quite bummed about that...but we just really didn't want to share cooties. It seems like lately, every time Jeremy is home, I'm off at the doctor's office. We avoided the doctor for quite a long while, I'd like to go back to that again soon, please?!?!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Aaron's new word.

Aaron has not only been practicing walking, he's also been practicing talking. He says quite a few words, but has recently started looking at me and saying, "Mama". It's so sweet. He's said that word for a while, but now he's definitely associating ME with "Mama" which is VERY cute. Also, he's been practicing his "Thank You"'s, and at this age it just cannot get much more adorable with the sweet little "Tee-To" sound he makes when he hands me something. But...all of that is cute and wonderful and adorable...BUT, today he pointed to Lilah and said, "Dat?" (one of his favorite phrases--"what dat" or just plain "dat"), and I said "Lilah". He looked at me, stuck out his tongue and said, "LILAH"!!! It was a very "tonguey" Lilah, but it was definitely Lilah...and he said it over and over. I LOVE it!

So I said she's chunky...

...well, I wasn't sure HOW chunky until she was weighed today. I was thinking somewhere around 10lbs. Boy was I shocked (as was the nurse) when she weighed in at a whopping 12lbs5oz at 6 weeks old. For someone who has had milk supply issues, this is a WONDERFUL blessing to have such a "fat" baby! I still pray that my supply keeps up past the 3-4 month mark when I normally have issues...but for now, I'm very happy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

6 Weeks Old!

Lilah Bean turned 6 weeks old today. She is such a little blessing, so sweet, so snuggly...just all around wonderful. She's been smiling on occasion, but today she really outdid herself. I was holding her up in my bed room while Luke and Aaron played and I was talking to her and she started to was one smile after another after another, each one bigger than the last. Luke actually called her a "smile machine"! It was so sweet. She tried to give me a few coos too, but she's still just a bit too little...but I know they're coming soon! I'm very excited about that!

She's growing like a weed. She's SUPER chunky. I'd definitely say she's my chunkiest baby yet. She's a great eater. She's been sleeping pretty well...she seems to be doing even better with going to bed awake and falling asleep on her own. She occasionally wakes up and fusses, but often she'll put herself back to sleep. Night time is one of those things that I know takes time, but I'm really looking forward (see, here I go again living in the future--I think it's okay when it comes to sleep though!) to being able to put her down and having her sleep for a FEW hours in her crib. She's still coming to bed with me once she wakes for the first time...the main reason is because I'm not willing to lose more sleep than necessary sitting up with her when there is a distinct possibility that I will be awakened by Aaron sometime during the night too. I need my rest. Even though I really am NOT a fan of co-sleeping, right now it's what works best for me to ensure that I get the rest I need. One of these days soon I'll have to bite the bullet and hope that she starts sleeping REALLY good during the night.

Aaron has been having a rough time with his teeth. He now has 4 teeth--two bottom and two top. Poor guy though, he really has a difficult time teething. He gets very fussy, very uncomfortable and it seems to take him a while as well. Last night he had a fever and woke at 3am, drenched with sweat. I had to put him in his crib and let him cry (thankfully it was only a couple of seconds) because I really have no options with Lilah needing me. I was able (by God's wonderful grace and mercy) to snuggle him for a while though, so that was a blessing. This morning his fever continued and finally broke, but he was fussy and grumpy most of the day (really not a HUGE change for him--poor guy), he took a 2 hour nap (interrupted though) and woke up and almost fell asleep on the sofa, until his noisy big sisters and brother came in. Then it was grump, grump, grump...until he ate dinner. Poor guy must have been starving because as soon as he ate, he was SUPER jolly! He was so cute. We were commenting on how nice it would be if he were like that all of the time. He is so cute and so sweet and such a wonderful little guy...he is just a very fussy guy. I'm really hoping that it's just this age with all of the stuff his body is going through and that as soon as all of this crazy teething stuff is done, he'll be much happier...because when he's happy, he is absolutely DARLING! Okay, even when he IS grumpy, he's still darling...just a bit hard to bear!

He's now taking a good 8-10 consecutive steps. The other night he was practicing pivoting and turning the other direction. It's funny though, he doesn't walk very much. He gets the urge from time to time to practice...and he'll do it for a while...then he grabs his walker and takes off running with that...or he'll crawl. I guess walking is still more difficult than useful! :)

Well, that's it for now...I MUST go to bed. Tomorrow I head to the DMV to get a new license. Oh yeah, I never posted about my car getting stolen...I guess I'll have to do that one of these days!

Good night!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Steps!!!

I have to keep this quick because I had a long day with 2 babies--alone, while my big kids and daddy went to Discovery Kingdom (free tickets thanks to the Read to Succeed program!).

This morning Aaron took a couple of steps between Savannah and I. We were so thrilled for him!! This afternoon he did it a few more times, taking probably 3-4 consecutive steps at the most, but we're on our way!!!! I tried to get it on video, but as soon as he saw the camera, he wanted NOTHING to do with walking because he just wanted to play with the camera! Maybe tomorrow if he does it more, I can ambush him with the camera and post his new skills!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I've been negligent.

I know, I's been 10 days since I last posted. A lot has been going on...and I'm going to have to keep it short due to the fact that I'm ill. Darn mastitis has struck again. I don't know why I get it...but I've gotten it with all of my girls, but not my boys--strangely. With Aaron I had a clogged duct that never materialized as mastitis...although after I stopped nursing, I did end up with a breast infection that had me very worried!

Anyway, so I'm feeling very lousy. I've started antibiotics and hopefully will start feeling much better very soon.

All of us, including Lilah have gotten some crud. Stuffiness, coughs, just general misery...not enough to make you feel ill, just enough to be annoying. Mine is more of a head cold, Lilah has super goopy eyes (Aaron did too for a couple of days) and Jeremy and Savannah and Abby all have super annoying coughs! How fun. We've had the weirdest weather...cold then hot then cold...RAIN even in RECORD rain. Like 2+ inches of rain! Weird. I attribute the colds to the weird weather.

Aaron is FINALLY getting some more teeth. One on the top right has popped through and the top left one is following suit.

Lilah is a fantastic little baby. She's fallen right into a wonderful routine for naps. Nights are still a bit touchy, but she's doing great so far.

Today the girls took good care of me while I wasn't feeling well. Savannah made Aaron malt-o-meal for breakfast and fed it to him and they kept him entertained while I napped. It's so nice to have older girls. Then they made a chocolate cake--all by themselves! It was delicious! :) They insisted I not get up and just rest. Easier said than done, but I do appreciate the small amount of rest I got.

Okay, Lilah has been in bed now for a little while, I'm hoping to get some good rest before she wakes up. I need it. Tomorrow she is 1 month old and Aaron is 13 months old! Wow, where does the time go?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Aaron and his bottle.

Aaron cracks me up with his bottle. He now says, "Ba-ba" quite often, although he says it with the intonation of a little Spanish boy calling his Papa...emphasis on the last syllable rather than the first. He is the only baby I've ever seen that can drink a bottle without tipping it in the slightest. The bottle can be straight up and down, in his hands with his hands by his tummy and he'll just suck and suck and suck until enough suction is created that he can get to the milk. Granted, this would NOT work if we didn't use the bottles we use--the ones with the plastic liners in them which allow for this to work. It might be sad if he ever picked up a regular bottle and tried that trick. One day he fell asleep in the car with his bottle in his mouth. When I got him out, the bottle liner was actually INVERTED because he had created so much suction. On that same note...this silly boy will not allow a pacifier anywhere near his mouth, but he'll suck on an empty bottle for a good, long while when he needs a little comfort. Silly baby.

Biggest Baby Ever?

You know they say that your older baby looks so huge when you have a new one, but this is ridiculous. I think he actually GREW when Lilah came to join the family...he can be called nothing BUT a baby...he's just a really, really BIG baby! Funny thing is, he's always been in the 50th percentile for height and weight...kinda frightens me to think of what kind of babies we could run into when out and about! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Beautiful Eyes

I took these photos today while Aaron, Daddy and I enjoyed this gorgeous evening. Aaron gives me so many awesome photo ops, but I don't often have the time or ability to take today, since our big children are up at Grandma and Papa's house, I got the camera out and took some shots. It's very fun having a light-eyed child because, in my opinion, light eyes are more interesting in photos. Don't get me wrong, I love my dark-eyed children (and husband), but to me, there generally is more depth in light-eyes. Just my opinion. These photos are straight off the camera...his eyes don't need any touch-ups, they're naturally gorgeous! The only difficulty in getting good photos of Aaron is getting him to hold still long enough!