Wednesday, February 29, 2012

They All Look Alike

People frequently tell me that all of my kids look alike. They've asked me how I tell their baby pictures apart, or my (least) favorite comment: "Do you have a cookie cutter in your womb? Because all your babies are carbon copies."

Mixed metaphors aside, I, of course, don't think they look exactly alike. I mean, they do look like siblings (with one exception), but all of them are so different in personality and expression, that I fail to see the sameness that everyone else sees.

So, now let's put this to the ultimate test: the side-by-side comparison. Pictures of each of our little guys (and one girl) around the four to five month time period. Who does Austin really look the most like, or do they all, in fact, look just like each other?

So here is the latest edition, Austin Baby:

And his oldest brother, Nathan:

And the one and only girl in the bunch:

Good thing she has hair now!

Then there's Evan:

And Justin:


And finally, Steffen (with Justin- it gets harder and harder to get pictures of just one child at at time):

What's funny is how alike or different each one looks now! I mean, Carsten looks exactly like he did when he was a baby, but Megan looks nothing like she did then. Steffen is so round! And they're all (with the exception of Carsten) so bald! I love those bald little baby heads. (For the record, that comes from my side of the family, despite how much everyone always says they look like Bryan. He was born needing a haircut.)

I'm really undecided on which one looks most like Austin. I was going to say he looks most like Nathan, perhaps just because they have the same coloring, but when I compare the pictures, I'm leaning more toward Steffen, though Austin isn't quite as round.

Now, who has a look all his own? That would be Carsten. My dad says it's a good thing we had him at home, because he doesn't have that "mark" that all the other kiddos do. I kind of think he favors my mom's side of the family.

Well, whether they're carbon copies or not, we think they're all beautiful babies!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Big Production

On Saturdays, I like to take a bike ride. Last Saturday, I had a fantastic ride. I was zipping along, threw in some extra hills just for fun. The weather was beautiful. It was so good, in fact, that I told Bryan when I got home that I really would like to extend my weekend rides to an hour starting next week.

Instead, Bryan came down with the flu and some of the kids got bad colds. (We've been battling the "plagues" that have been flying around the community, and I'm hoping this last bout was the tail end.) By Saturday, everyone was recovering, but I still thought it best just to take a short ride, especially since it was pretty wet all day.

So, at about 3 in the afternoon, the rain stopped! Thrilled, I decided now was my chance. But first, the baby wanted to eat. So I fed him. Then, I realized that he had had a little explosion that needed changing. No leaks, thank goodness, but still a pretty serious change was in order. Austin didn't mind one bit. Diaper changes mean that he has access to his favorite snack: His toes!

By this time, it was 3:45, and Steffen got up from his nap. I didn't want to leave a recovering Daddy with a feisty two year old, so I figured I'd just take him with me. Hmmm, apparently it's been awhile since we've used the bike trailer. I pulled it out and cleaned it up. Nathan hooked it up for me.

While all this was going on, I asked a child (who shall remain nameless) to pen the dog for me so that I could just leave the gate open while I was gone. The dog was sitting on the side patio at the time. When I realize that nameless child has not penned the dog, I ask Nameless Child #2 to pen the dog, because, by this time, it has started sprinkling again, and I have to find the cover for the trailer so that Steffen doesn't get soaked. Child #2 apparently wishes that we didn't have a dog because the dog is refusing to come when called and is more interested in racing along the fence line with her other dog friends. After many attempts to cajole #1 and #2 into PENNING THE DOG, I had finished with the trailer and decide to do it myself. The dog walked right up to me.

By this time, it was after 4, and I finally got Steffen into a jacket and helmet, and at 4:35, the two of us were ready to go.

Whoa! I'm pretty sure Steffen had rocks (or cinder blocks) in his pockets!! How on earth did that trailer get so heavy? Plus, there was a head wind that seemed to be mainly blowing UPhill. And Steffen wanted to talk the whole way.
Steffen: (unintelligible)
Me: What?
Steffen: (unintelligible, but a little louder)
Me: I can't hear you. The wind is in my ears.
Steffen: What?
And so on. Then, there were the conversations when we were going uphill:
Steffen: Mommy, when you go faster? You can go faster.
Me: I'm

After 1/2 an hour, I was more than ready to pedal back home, and as we turned in the driveway, the sun broke through the clouds.

An hour and a half production for a half hour ride. Was it worth it? You bet.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nap Time!

I read somewhere that the day after the Super Bowl is one of the least productive working days of the year. I don't know if that's true, but it was certainly threatening to be so around here.

Now, it's not because we actually WATCH the Super Bowl. We're not a sports-oriented family. This year, however, we were invited to a Super Bowl party, and the kids were determined to go. And go they did. I stayed home to take care of Baby Austin who has a little cough, and Bryan took the rest of the crew. They played with their friends and ate junk food, and they finally got back home after 9!

Nine o'clock is a late night for the kiddos. Especially when the next day is Monday morning. I decided to let them sleep in, but that probably wasn't the best decision. I don't know that it really gave them more energy, and it certainly put us behind ALL day.

So that's where nap time comes in. Every day in our house, we have a quiet time in the afternoons. Not everyone sleeps, but everyone has the opportunity to chill out for awhile alone. That is an important part of the "Keep Mommy (and everyone else) Sane" Program.

As we went through the morning, struggling to make up for lost time, with impatience flaring on all sides, we finally arrived at nap time. I read aloud to the kids, and then, with everyone in their designated nap time spots, peace descended upon the household. It was a beautiful thing to behold!

After nap, I gave the kids some time to play, and then, we jumped back into working with a will, and with far more patience than we had had this morning. All the kids' laundry got done, school was finished, and the house was clean.

So, when the going gets tough- take a nap!

Cowboy boots optional.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On a Roll!

Austin is on a roll! Yes, he's actually rolling over. I can't believe how fast these last three months have gone by. (Bryan will remind me that it will be four months next week, but indulge me- I can still say three months until Thursday. No need to rush it.)

He is such a happy baby! I know I've said it before, but it really is true. Of course, what baby wouldn't be happy with so many adoring fans?

We've started to give him tummy time. The kids remind me that we need to make sure he is getting his daily "workout." And they cheer him on while he works his muscles.

Austin never lacks for attention and cuddling. Megan carries him in her little sling sometimes. She's going to be such a good mommy!

And, of course, no day would be complete without some time with Daddy. (Steffen saw this picture and said, "There are two Austins!" Love the two year old cuteness.) Austin just can't get over how ADORABLE that baby in the mirror really is. I mean, how does a kid just get so good looking?