Friday, May 31, 2013

Forrest meets Grandma Popcorn

 "Got Milk?"

This sweet baby is three weeks old today.

(Wednesday, may 29)
With each day that passes, he resembles his Daddy more and more.

'See' what I mean?

Memorial day weekend Forrest ventured away from home for his first big outing to Salt Lake. He had a very special lady to meet.
Great Grandma Flegal a.k.a Popcorn

Someday I will write the full story of how my feelings evolved in regards to the name that Andrew totally shoved down my throat we chose for our son. I will say for now that my love for this precious Grandma of ours had something to do with it. Forrest is a family name on both his Father and Mothers side of the family. With Grandma here to share neat stories of her father-in-law, Forrest Grove (I kid you not), my heart began the process of softening.

After sharing time with the Flegals, we headed over to my Mom's house to celebrate Eliza's birthday and enjoy one last afternoon with our Mays cousins who moved to Alaska on Tuesday!
Even though it was Eliza's birthday that we were celebrating, Forrest stole the show. Newborns can't help it.

 The cousin crew

We wish the Mays family the best on their Alaskan adventure but I would be lying if I said that having them move away was a super happy thing for the cousins they leave behind. We love those girls, trust me it's true, but my heart weeps the most for Henry. He loves spending time with Scott and Tyler.
Andrew broke free from his work in the yard on Monday to take us on an outing. With a picnic set to go, we made the solid five minute drive to Beus pond. Two years later, we're realizing how slow we've been to discover local outdoor treasures. 
Having settled in a scenic spot, we ate lunch, harassed observed ducks and enjoyed the warmth of the sun. It was nice to have an adventure away from home that didn't involve a doctor's office or running to the store for more diapers. At some point, the cabin fever will push me and the Fleglets out the door without the security of Andrew. Until then, I'll continue to thank my lucky stars for sunny weather and a backyard for us to escape to.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Here Comes Summer!

When her last day of school finally arrived, Eliza woke up with mixed feelings. Saying 'Goodbye' to her teachers wasn't going to be easy. Throughout our morning, she made comments of a disbelieving nature.
 "I can't believe this is my last day of first grade!" She'd exclaim.Or she'd ask, "Can you believe this is my last day of school?'
(Eliza's first and last day of the 1st grade)

Truthfully, it is hard to believe 'summer break' is already here; especially when you consider that Spring arrived about two minutes ago. :) I feel relief knowing I won't have to get kids out the door each morning. Adding a newborn to the mix of a school morning routine isn't my favorite challenge. I am glad that he'll be a few months older when we're doing that again. However, on the flip side, not knowing when I'll feel confident in venturing out with four kids causes feelings of stress. Will I be able to happily occupy four children while maintaining a healthy level of sanity all summer?! Wish us luck, friends!

 As for Henry, his second year of preschool concluded with a darling program and graduation. My personal favorite was watching him play the xylophone as his classmates sang the song, "Pitter-Pat."
Henry's first and last day of preschool

He had a great two years at the Little Red School House! The jump from preschooler to Kindergartener is significant in this Mom's opinion. As for Henry, he hasn't expressed much of a reaction. He smiles big when you remind him that he now is a "Kindergartener," but the impact of the milestone is beyond him.
His program was such a treat. Had it been Eliza, I would have known what to expect from start to finish ahead of time. Henry, keeping such details to himself, didn't say much in advance. When it was his turn to play a particular part, my innards felt all happy and sappy with cheesy Mom pride. He sang so well and kept his little man composure when the naughty boy behind him continued to kick at his chair. I'm so glad he is ours!

With their 'last days' out of the way, Andrew and I went to work on reminding them why the arrival of summer deserves to be celebrated. 
We did our best to welcome back summer, Flegal style, with our first sprinkler run of the season, hot dog roast over the campfire and s'mores.

The grill master. 
Someday, when we're grown-ups, we'll own a big kid BBQ grill.
School? Who needs school?!
Can you spy a Henry?
Some more S'mores, please!

My beautiful crew
New baby Forrest slept through the party.
"A family of six..." I mused aloud while out for a drive this afternoon. 
A smile spreads across his face as he adds,
"Ya. That just kind of happened, didn't it?"

In that man's honor, I will close with a shot of our yard.
He is winning the war on weeds! 
Well done, sir!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Forrest's first few weeks

Forrest, one week old

Looking back at our first week home with Forrest, I feel thankful. The happy vibe we'd been riding throughout our experience at the hospital escorted us home. The welcome we received was one of comfort. We were greeted by an enthusiastic big sister and our Mothers. Knowing we had their help and support, set my frazzled new Mom brain at ease. The warm sunshine seemed to echo my mood that morning as Andrew carried in our sweet new baby.

While in the hospital, Nanna Teresa took charge of the older Fleglets. When discussing when I'd be released from the hospital with our kids, Eliza suggested that I stay an additional day.

"Don't you want me to come home sooner?" I asked in surprise. Feeling somewhat caught, she back peddled.

"Well, it's not that I don't want you to come home. I just don't want Nanna Teresa to leave." Hurt feelings aside, I thought that was a sweet and perfect testament to how well they'd been cared for.

My Mom picked up where Nanna Teresa left off that weekend as she ran errands, shuttled children, prepared meals and cuddled with baby so I could rest. The urge to jump back into my role was hard to fight. I felt a need to prove to myself that I was up to the task, to reassure my kids that 'Mom was back' and that life would return to normal. 

I neglected to remember that giving birth takes time to recover from. The pain medicine deceptively masks those physical reminders. This gives a Mother the false impression that she is set to go back to work. With the amount of help I had, I was able to take this time to catch up on sleep and bond with my baby. Maybe I'm over emphasizing the relief that this was, but the support from family and my ward was the best and truly appreciated. Neighbors helped carpool my kids, invited them over for playdates and provided several meals.

Having her own job to return to that Monday, we kissed Nana Marie goodbye and welcomed back Nanna Teresa. She moved in for the week which meant I didn't have to worry about getting the kids out the door to school, meals and everything else in between. 'Thank you' doesn't begin to cover our gratitude for all she did.
We have to thank Bubba as well since he had to share his sweet wife with us. The week was about furthering introductions and enjoying some 'down time' while gearing up for real life.

Introducing Forrest to Aunt Katie, the twins & Bubba was another highlight of that week.

Forrest, two weeks old
7.5 lbs, 20 inches
*Funny Story: We were told Forrest was 21 inches at birth. At his first appointment to the doctor's office, he measured 19.5 inches. They measured him twice after I told him what we'd heard at the hospital. The joke is that not only has he regained his birth weight, but he's just about regained his birth height as well. So, whatever the birth announcement reads regarding his height, it's a total guess. 

Our second week home started out on an awful note. It sounded like this,

"Sorry to wake you," Andrew began. I can see that he is ready for work. The baby, I'm guessing, is downstairs with Nanna Teresa. Thankfully, she'd be with us a few more days. Still sleepy, I don't say anything. I wait as he continues,

"Eliza thinks she has strep." There it is. "Should we send her to school?"  

"No." I say automatically. "I'll call the doctor." A few hours later, it's confirmed that Eliza has strep for the fourth consecutive month in a row. What the @!&#!! We make plans to have the entire family tested. He suggests the younger two get tested, along with Eliza, when she finishes her new prescription. 

As we drive to the pharmacy to pick up a-new-to-her medicine I say,

"You know, Eliza, last night I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me find some special one on one time with you." Seeing the irony herself, she begins to smile. "A trip to the doctor's office wasn't what I had in mind!" Regardless of the situation, it was still nice to have that time with her.
This past Tuesday, at Forrest's 13 day appointment, the doctor asked whether or not we should go ahead and test Henry and Lottie since they were there in the office with me. I agreed. We debated on whether or not it was necessary to even test Lottie as strep is rare in a child her age; not to mention, neither Henry or Lottie were symptomatic.

Their rapid tests came back negative as expected. That afternoon, I had myself tested for strep. My test came back negative. None of this information surprised me. I was glad we were ruling everything out. Wednesday, following Henry's preschool graduation, I get an unexpected call. It's the pediatrician's office. Henry and Lottie's overnight culture both grew strep. THEY HAVE IT TOO!

Welcome home to the land of strep new baby Forrest!

 Considering how much of this has been going on, 
you can imagine my state of distress concern. I've been reassured that it is uncommon/unheard of for a baby this young to pick up strep. Even so, I felt my mental wellness plummet yesterday when I received that call.

While we have our suspicions, there is no way to know for sure if Henry and Lottie are both carriers or if they just picked up her germ this time around. The entire family, even the parents who tested negatively on all tests, are taking medicine. And then, fingers crossed, we will be rid of this nasty for good. Or will we? The saga continues. There's a good chance someone will be evicting their tonsils this summer. 

Until then, we'll keep smiling.
This proud sister hasn't stopped smiling. 
Her pained expression is proof of this!
And her hair, by the way, 
is evidence of the fact that she's now a forgotten middle child.

(I say that, but as I type this now, Lottie is planted firmly in my lap.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Early May

It's no secret that I've been super photo happy these days. Perusing my latest batch of photos, I wasn't surprised to see that I have taken hundreds of photos of our newest family member. Before I return Forrest to the spotlight, I'd like to rewind to the beginning of May as there are a handful of memories that deserve notice.

This really needs no explanation.

It's a win for Mom when your soccer star offers a friendly wave followed by an enthusiastic, "Hi Mom!" as he zooms past you on the field.  

Rain or shine,
 (she came home soaked this last Saturday)

The kids have had a great time playing soccer this season. I can't believe they've played their final game and it's time to sign them up for next Fall already.

The family MVP goes to our Lottie as she was a great cheerleader at each of their games.

Returning to Henry,
He attended Kindergarten round-up in April. It was comforting to see how many kids he recognized from his two years at preschool as we sat in the cafeteria, waiting for it all to begin. When it was time to leave with the teachers and his future classmates, he had no problem saying, "Goodbye." We weren't apart for very long. When he returned, Henry was very positive about his experience exploring future classrooms and meeting the teachers. This is the last I want to think of Kindergarten until August! Lottie and I are going to MISS HIM something fierce!

Dad answered the call when Henry requested that we bring a few chickens to preschool for show and tell. And while I'm disappointed that my camera was on some randomly incorrect setting, I'm going to go ahead and share these.

There aren't words to properly describe how much Henry adores these pets of ours. If allowed, he would spend his entire life out in the coop digging for bugs to feed them. Last week, Nanna Teresa overheard him serenading his chickens as they played. When the chickens flew the coop for the first time, I was relieved to know I had Henry on hand to catch and secure them. As fun as it would be to chase chickens a couple days after giving birth, I happily designated the assignment to him.
Henry and Blackie (his favorite) 
Eliza and Pretty Bird
Since taking this picture, a proper door has been built. Before the door, Andrew used a baby-gate to secure the chicks inside their coop during the day. At night, they return to their home in the garage. Henry was needed to fetch the chickens the day they realized they were capable of flying over said baby gate. A few small adjustments remain until those chickens can permanently be relocated!