Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Fifth Birthday, Luisa!

"How old are you, Lu?"

"FIVE??? Well, how in the world did that happen?"

She is 100% sweetness (well, maybe 95% sweetness and 5% mischievous cunning).  She is growing up entirely too fast.  She is SUPER tall with awfully long legs.  Her personality is even bigger.

Luisa has been becoming more and more independent this past year.  She usually wants to get dressed, navigate the stairs, brush her teeth, and accomplish lots of other daily tasks on her own.  She still flashes that signature smile quite often.  You know the one; it can wrap just about anyone around her finger.  Oh, but she knows how to push Caroline's buttons.  She is super sweet and gentle with Ainsley.  She helps out so much with taking care of her baby sister.

For her birthday, she chose to go to Build A Bear with Caroline (Ainsley, Mommy, Daddy, Nana, and Grumpa tagged along as well).  They each designed a stuffed animal and chose accessories for them.

Afterward, we had a few friends and family members over for an ice cream sundae bar.  It was a wonderful day celebrating our LuLu and the joy she brings us all.

Filling her bear up with cuddly stuffing

Combing her zebra, Martina

Sweet friends

This poor baby constantly gets her face squished with kisses from her sister

Luisa and Molly, her new best bud

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy First Birthday, Ainsley!

It is hard to believe that, one year ago today, we didn't even know if God was blessing us with a little Ainsley or a little Isaac. I don't know where the year has gone!

She is our little rock. This year hasn't been the easiest of first years, but she has come through it phenomenally.

She is so pleasant and laid back, just going with the flow of the family. Amazingly, she is even tinier than Caroline was at this age at just shy of sixteen pounds. She began crawling last week and will soon have no trouble keeping up with her sisters. She has five teeth and will eat just about anything you put in front of her, and she eats A LOT. I have no idea where the volume of food she consumes goes.

Apparently, her love of food extends to gluten-free strawberry cupcakes (if you haven't had Gigi's, you are missing out). She wasn't sure at first if she did, and she needed a taste or two delivered by her sister, but then she dove right in and polished it off.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{Backblogging} July 2013

We kicked off July with a celebration at the lake with family. The kids enjoyed time with their cousins while the grown ups enjoyed time catching up over coffee and board games and watching the kiddos play. it is rare to get the whole gang together, and I love when we can.
Anna, Caroline, Ainsley, Laura Beth, Joshua, Luisa, and Huck

My precious Mamaw with Ainsley Kate
We didn't do as much of a garden this summer since we had two fairly new family members.  However, we did enjoy our blueberry, blackberry, and muscadine harvest.  We typically go to a blueberry farm in Pell City to pick blueberries, but this was the extent of our fruit picking this year.

Life in general continued in a relaxed manner.  The big girls loved their baby sister.  Luisa was still having trouble adjusting to the change (I promise, more on her attachment and bonding process later).  Overall, though, life was fantastic.  Ainsley was a good sleeper for a newborn, just waking once at night to nurse and sleeping pretty well in between.

I schlepped those silly girls all over the place.  We resumed our normal routine of PT, church, Costco and Publix trips, Bible study, doctor appointments, and playdates. Ainsley was usually in the sling so that I could help Lu navigate with her walker or push her in the stroller.  I taught one summer camp for two weeks in July.  Philip was able to stay home during the morning to make that possible.  It was a busy summer, but it was lots of fun!

Teaching Luisa to play a matching game

Sisterly love

Thursday, April 17, 2014

{Backblogging} June 2013

In some ways, our early days home with Ainsley were a lot easier than I had expected. My expectations, however, had been rather low.

Can I be honest?  I spent the first 8 months of this pregnancy somewhat bitter.  I definitely wanted more children, but not at that moment! I was resentful that we were changing our family so quickly after adopting Luisa.  I felt as if we were short-changing her.  I longed to give her stability, and pregnancy hormones and changing family structure didn't reflect my vision for her.  I was afraid that the resentment I felt during my pregnancy would linger after the baby arrived.  I was truly, genuinely fearful that I would not bond with this little surprise as quickly as I had with Caroline.

Was I ever wrong.  As soon as she was here, I couldn't imagine our family any other way.  Of course this was the way it was supposed to be.

If only Luisa had agreed.  I'll share her experience another time.

Enamored sisters

Nana and Grumpa with the Grands

Mommy's Helper #1

Mommy's helper #2

Third kid gets sharpied in on the Pinterest art.

My brother and his family got to meet Miss Ainsley on their way back through Alabama headed home from Disney World. We had a day at the lake with the cousins. These kids are all so sweet together. I only wish they got to spend more time with each other.

LuLu and Uncle Rob

Caroline and Anna with pirate faces

Joshua and Luisa

All the girls piled on the hammock.  Ainsley will be hopping on next summer, too, I bet.

Laura Beth and Ainsley

Mimi and her girls
Then we settled into our new normal. Unfortunately, both grandmothers were unable to come help out after she was born. Philip was able to take some time off. The he went back to work, and I was home with my three sweet girls for the summer. 

Having three wasn't really much more difficult than two.  I strapped Ainsley on in the sling, and we went on about our life. Ainsley was an easy baby, and she always gave me a couple of three to four hour stretches of sleep every night. I felt great She was nursing well and gaining weight. Our sweet friends were bringing meals. Family members were keeping our big girls for a few days at a time. Life was blissful. 

Finger painting fun

Ainsley's first time at church

Getting back to weekly PT

Luisa's new ride

Caroline LOVED to color that summer

This is where Ainsley spent the bulk of her time

Silly bedheads with their oatmeal

All the girls snuggled up to read before bed

Ainsley and Daddy.  Be still, my heart.

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