Eli.

I don’t think it’s ever taken me nearly two weeks to post about a new baby. Well, I know it hasn’t. The other two were well-documented from birth.

Just to make it official:

Elijah Harris Tousey was born on January 20, 2014 at 12:33am.
He weighed in at 8 lbs, 1 oz, and measured 20″ long.

This guy… well, I have just been doing with Eli what I didn’t appreciate to do with Sam, and what I couldn’t do with Charlotte: resting. Lots of resting and feeding and cuddling and just letting my body recover while I enjoy my new baby.

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It has been wonderful.

So while I do apologize to those of you who love baby pics, I am not sorry for soaking up every bit of this sweet time that I can.

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I’ve also been trying to cuddle with my big kids, too. It is great how self-sufficient they are, but they still need some mama time.

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One thing I was really looking forward to was getting that photo that I didn’t get with Sam and Charlotte… the picture of mom in the hospital bed with new baby and big siblings. And I finally got it! (You can click on the picture to make it bigger.)

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I would not have planned to have another baby just to be able to do all the things we couldn’t do with Charlotte, but it has been sweet to have this chance. I think of all the things, all the little moments, that I took for granted (or even grumbled over!) with baby Sam… the late-night feedings, learning to nurse, picking him up whenever I wanted. I am so grateful to God that he gave us this sweet baby boy, and another opportunity to watch a little tiny baby grow up and be part of our family.

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I have to give thanks to my mama, too, for coming up to stay with us for a bit. She was a great help with the big kids, with meals and with laundry. And even though we have done this three times now, I was a crying mess when she left! I also have to thank my sweet husband. He worked really hard to take care of things at his job beforehand so that he could take advantage of his company’s paternity leave. It’s not easy for him to not be at work for extended periods of time, so I am most thankful for his willingness to arrange things so that he can be home with us. I could not (and wouldn’t want to) do this life without him.

It’s time to feed the babe again, but I will leave you with this preciousness that is all three of my babies as babies.

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Simple Summer Plan

I don’t know about you, but if I’m not careful I’ll blink and it will be August. And I’ll wonder, “what the heck did we even do this summer?”

I decided to come up with a better plan this year, a plan that would give us a little structure and focus each week, but without being so complicated and difficult that we would give up on it the second week in. I also wanted to make sure that we were keeping up with a little school work each week so as not to fall behind.

Naturally, I scoured Pinterest for some ideas, and this is what we came up with:

This Week’s Theme

Having a theme each week gives us something to plan around, it gives us books to read, activities to do and, best of all, it gives Sam a guaranteed weekly entry for the journal he is keeping for second grade. (And if you’re lucky, a guaranteed weekly blog post!)

Our first theme is this week, and in keeping with Father’s Day, we chose “Dad” as the theme for the week.

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We already had a cool book about Florida (where Tim lived from age 9 until college), and we found books in the library about Michigan (where he was born) and fishing. We rented the movie Chicken Run (since he ran track, ha ha) and we will be grilling and fishing this weekend when we go camping.

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Next week’s theme is Francis Scott Key. The original, hand-written copy of The Star Spangled Banner will be coming to Frederick this weekend to be reunited with FSK. We won’t be in town for the actual event, but we can still find fun things to do next week.

Other themes for the summer: Indiana Jones, gardening, Florida, South Carolina, sea life… and who knows what else. The Florida & SC themes will coincide with trips to visit grandparents, so that will be fun for the kids.

How do you keep your kids occupied in the summer? What are some fun, easy ideas you have for adding a little structure to school breaks?

I would love to hear your ideas!

Spring Break Snow Squall

Today is our first day of Spring break… well, it’s actually Sam’s Spring break, we’re just along for the ride. Last year we did not plan anything for his break, and while it was nice to have a week off, it was also kind of boring. This year we decided we would go somewhere as a family and have a vacation somewhere warm.

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Except “warm” didn’t exactly work out, so we decided to take the week to catch up with some of our favorite people in the mountains of NC.

We wound our way up to the top of some mountain in between Banner Elk and Valle Crucis yesterday just before the snow came. Our sweet friends from Raleigh are coming today, and we are praying they make it up here safely.

This really is our kind of vacation… nowhere to be, nothing to do except hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Tim and Sam have been tying flies and are now locked in a fierce battle of Mario Kart. Charlotte spent the morning playing with her horses and goofing off before passing out in one of the recliners upstairs.

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I have been reading, taking some pictures and enjoying the fact that I don’t have to clean anything but the breakfast dishes.

The house where we are staying is just unbelievable. It’s a relatively new home, but it feels so cozy and rustic with wood everywhere and gorgeous views out every window. The house is built onto the side of the mountain, so it’s quite amazing to look out over the mountains and see so many tree tops below you.

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We were expecting to see some snow, and day one has provided plenty. We’ve even seen a few snow squalls, which are fine when you’re safely indoors, but not so much if you’re on the road.

I hope to catch up on some reading and writing this week. I’ll be sure to check in with more pictures soon.

Have a great week!

I had to log in.

Yes, I have been away from my blog for so long that I had to log in again. Thank goodness I remembered my password.

Here is a recap from the last month:

School ended little snow went to SC visited family celebrated Christmas ate at The Farmer’s Table caught up with more family gonna be an aunt again saw my besties at the Cracker Barrel said goodbye came home cleaned house had a soup party watched a lot of football and some Pack basketball sent the kids back to school undecorated and there’s not enough coffee.

I have sat down and started so many posts, but I didn’t finish them (obviously). I do have a new series in the works for you, thus the new blog header. I also start my speaking class this Friday (yay!).

I have some cleaning to do, but I couldn’t let the blog go one more day unattended. Here are some pictures to repay you for your trouble…

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Love ya! Mean it!

Little Light

I have long thought that children are the best balm when you’re sad and grieving. The news from Friday knocked the stuffing out of us a little, so we soaked up the time with Sam and Charlotte this weekend.

When Charlotte first started preschool she didn’t know her letters very well and we were honestly a little worried that she might have some slight learning delays due to her time spent under anesthesia. We didn’t help matters by saddling her with such a long name! She has been brining work home with her name on it, but I know that her teacher helps her. But yesterday she proved to us that she is perfectly capable of doing her own work!

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I have been trying to find some new recipes for the kids that they will eat but that are healthier than our usual fare. We have begun eating more like dinosaurs and less like cookie monsters. So far, I have been doing pretty well by Sam. Last week we tried some new waffles made with almond butter, apples and bananas. They were a hit.

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Yesterday we went to a birthday party with a super hero theme. Sam dusted off his old Bumblebee costume, and C went as a warrior princess, able to knock out cyanotic heart defects with a single (or three!) blow!

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We’ve been getting ready for Christmas around here.

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The tree is decorated and we have wrapped a few gifts. Mostly we have been enjoying our evenings together by the light of the tree. I love coming down first thing in the morning and plugging in the tree before the kids get up. There’s something about coming downstairs to a room warmed by the light of a Christmas tree. There’s been so much darkness trying to creep in lately, I’ll take a little light wherever I can get it.

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The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
-Isaiah 9:2

Sometimes I forget you’re not all on Facebook…

Or Instagram. Or Twitter.

I post pictures a lot on these sites, because it’s easy to do so with my phone.

{I remember a girl who once said,  “Why do I need my phone to take pictures? That’s what a camera is for! That’s shtupid.”}

Now I honestly wouldn’t care if my phone was missing a number pad. I just want it to take great photos. And it does! So, without further ado, here are some lately photos from my phone, edited in Instagram and/or PicMonkey.

First up, Sam. He is so handsome!

This was at the Halloween party at school… the kids wrapped him up like a mummy.

He also started taking soccer lessons, and for his first time, he did really well!

He’s also been experimenting with punctuation at school… hee hee.

And here are Mario & my bumblebee right before we went trick-or-treating…

 

And here are two of Charlotte; we spend a lot of time in the car together.

 

 

You may or may not know that Tim was growing a beard for the Detroit Tigers during the playoffs. Even though the Tigers lost, he kept the beard. I think he looks so handsome!

 

And finally, the birds are back again. It’s been a little Hitchcock-y around here lately…

 

There are lots more, but I can’t spend my entire day editing photos, ya know?

Five Minute Friday: Welcome

The doorbell rings. I immediately tense up, thinking of the many things that need to be done in order to get dinner on the table and the laundry that needs to be swapped out and how I just cleaned that play room.

Not Sam and Charlotte. They yell, “Is it Sabrina? Can she play? Can she stay for dinner?”

I sigh, and remind them for the hundredth time not to ask me those things in front of Sabrina. Because maybe I am not up to feeding another person and cleaning up afterwards.

Oh, to be more like a child and less like a curmudgeon.

Sam and Charlotte don’t care what the house looks like. They don’t care if we eat peanut butter sandwiches for supper. They are more concerned with welcoming in their friend than with all the other stuff that keeps me from welcoming our little neighbor girl with a joyful heart.

I need them to teach me the right way to welcome someone; with unabashed excitement and happiness, with the expectation that God ordained this little interruption in my day to teach me more about him, and to give me the chance to love more like him.

Five Minute Friday

 

In an effort to become a better and more frequent writer, I am taking part in Lisa-Jo Baker’s weekly Five Minute Friday link-up. FMF is a weekly exercise in which bloggers sit and write on a topic for five minutes. No worries about perfect editing or anything, just writing. This month I will be tying in my FMF posts with my 31 Days theme of motherhood! 

Photos Lately

Aunt Steph & Jane came up for a little visit on Tuesday. We went to a nearby nature park that used to be a limestone quarry and furnace.

 

 

It currently serves as a breeding ground for mosquitos nature center and the old quarry is now a pond.

In spite of the insects, we had fun. Until we realized it was lunch time and we didn’t have any food, other than Jane’s cheerios…

 

I count these photos as a minor miracle since I had the camera set on manual focus and I wasn’t wearing my glasses. (Everything looks blurry through the lens, so I was totally guessing.) Can someone please tell me what kind of insect this is?

What have you been up to lately?

Cooperstown, NY

Tim and I love two things a whole lot: baseball and history. So Cooperstown was like a little dream for us in that aspect. I don’t know what it is about baseball, but we just love everything about it. Maybe it’s because it’s such an American sport, and it just makes for the best stories. Lord have mercy, I got all welled up walking through the Hank Aaron exhibit.

 

{That’s Aaron’s locker!}

The kids were probably still a little too young to really appreciate all of the exhibits at the Hall of Fame, but Sam did have fun looking at the baseball stuff. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

 

 

I loved seeing the real uniforms worn by the women players. They also had some of the uniforms from the movie A League of Their Own.

Between seeing the exhibits and actually going into the Hall we had a little lunch, and then we went back in to see the Hall of Famers.

These were the five original inductees; Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. Tim & Charlotte were making mean faces in honor of Cobb.

And of course we had to get Baby Ruth with Babe Ruth…

 

If this weren’t enough excitement for one day, we ended up spending the afternoon at the Cooperstown ER {as opposed to the lake, where we had planned!} after we noticed blood in Charlotte’s urine. The strange thing is that she was in a good mood all day and she never had a fever, so I would not have thought anything was wrong with her otherwise. A call in to the pediatrician determined the course of our afternoon, and after about three hours in the hospital we left with a diagnosis of an infection and a bottle of Amoxicillin.

After about three hours she had had quite enough of the room!

The drugs have been working fine and our girl is no worse for the wear.

That about sums it up… here are a few more pictures from the weekend.

 

 

 

That’s all, folks!