Our lives are pretty much the same thing every day right now. Usually I'm all over the place in the summer trying to soak up all the fun that can be had during the few warm months that Chicago offers us. But this summer, with a brand new baby, we are on a different mode: a slower mode. A very m-u-c-h slower mode. Like, there can be DAYS where we never go more than two blocks from home. But that's just how things are right now and I'm trying to embrace them. So, here are the good things we are doing:
We are enjoying things out of our garden. One of the morning "chores" is watering the garden now and I've always wanted to have even a tiny yard so that one of our chores could be someone walking outside to water the garden. We're slowly figuring out what does and does not grow well in our little patch of earth. Lettuce, tomatoes, herbs (basil grows the best), green peppers, and sunflowers are doing great. Strawberries are a bit of a struggle and I still haven't figured out the root vegetables (our carrots seem to grow really wide tops but then, when you pull them up, the are only about an inch deep and all deformed).
Claire's favorite lunch right now is a bagel with cream cheese, basil, and tomatoes. She really likes going outside like she's from Little House on the Prairie or something and bringing in the "harvest"...even if it's only a green pepper, a few basil leaves and 3 or 4 cherry tomatoes.
Another "good" is watching our little Wella-Wella get to be a bigger girl. Claire and Annabel especially like to take her up to Claire's room and play with her on the bed. She's getting so strong and observant...it's fun!
See how well she's pushing up and looking around?
Since we aren't all over the beaches of Chicago or having tons of playdates this summer, Claire and Sam have had to really get into playing together with their own actual toys. They've always been pretty good at playing together and making up imaginative games, but they've really had to push past sibling rivalry and learn to play together even more this summer. Sammy absolutely hates playing alone, so he's pretty willing to play anything that Claire will play with him, even if it's mainly doll house or Calico Critters. And Claire built that staircase out of Jenga blocks!
A few blocks away, someone built a really nice sandbox on their parkway grass and allows the neighborhood kids to play in it, so we do! We'll throw the babe in a stroller and go over there for even just a half-hour or so, but it gets us out of the house and everyone comes home sweaty and hot and it feels at least a little bit like a summery activity! I need to get Mr Tommy to build one of these in our backyard, but then again, if we actually had it in our yard they'd probably never play in it.
Look at my girls! They're beauties. Isn't Wella precious? Her newest nickname is "Tea Cup Pig", again given to her by her Aunt Laura, because evidently Tea Cup Pigs are the cutest things in the world.
Sammy still has to have his lips on Luella if he's anywhere within reach of her. See? He's supposed to be smiling for the picture, but instead he's trying to kiss our little tea cup pig.
And now for the bad. One of the problems with being home so much is that you USE your home so much if you're home all the time.
I swear I clean constantly. Constantly!!!
But I can't seem to get ahead of the laundry, the dishes, the dust, the toys, or the general clutter. Everywhere I look is evidence of art projects done, snacks made, doll houses created all over the carpet, tiny play mobil guys (and their weapons) crunching into the soft spot of your foot without warning...it never ends.
Another failure was the introduction of the cloth diapers. We were given tons of cloth diapers by our dear friend (and teacher) Mary Cowen, which she successfully used on her two girls. We, however, did not have such luck. I waited until Luella was sleeping really well at night to introduce the cloth diapers because I didn't want wetness or leaking to be an issue while we tried to establish sleep.
So last week we tried them out. The first one leaked all over her crib and the second one was a major poop blow-out that got all over both of us. Am I doing something wrong with these things? Is it because the brand we are using is like this 100% wool from an alpaca in Switzerland kind? Maybe some kind with a little synthetic something-or-other in it might contain the explosions a little better.
But at the end of the day, the did not work for us. I'm sorry, but cleaning up a crib sheet and my shirt (and giving the baby a bath) every time I change her diaper does not seem worth it to me. And I know there may be better brands out there, but at the moment I'm taking comfort in another bag of Huggies. And we're all the happier for it.
I can't tell if being together so much and struggling through constant house-keeping and sibling fighting issues is going to kill us or make us stronger. Some days it seems like the former, but I'm praying for the latter. (Please note that Sammy is wearing head-to-toe camouflage in every picture and never has less than five bandaids on his legs at any given moment).