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A couple of years ago I asked each of the kids a set of questions before their birthday, and I think it's fun to watch their answers change over time. Since Alexis, Jack, and Faith's 5th birthday is only a little over two weeks away (how is that possible?!), I asked them the questions today. Here are Faith's answers from when she turned 4. And here are Faith's answers when she turned 3. This year her answers make her sound so grown up! I cannot believe how much she has learned in the past year.

What is your name? Faith Elizabeth Howard

How old are you? 4-years-old 

How old will you be on your birthday? 5-years-old

When is your birthday? June 7

How old is Mommy? 65 [only 30 years off]

How old is Daddy? 33 [she was the closest out of everyone...only 3 years off]

What is your favorite color? Pink 

Favorite food? Pesto pasta

Best friend? Michelle [from school] 

Favorite song? Baa Baa Black Sheep

Favorite animal? Huskies

What are you scared of? Loud storms with big wind, big rain, and big dropping hail [this just happened before I asked the question so I'm not sure what she would have said on a different day.]

What makes you happy? When I snuggle Husky close with a back scratch [Husky is her favorite stuffed animal]

Where is your favorite place to go? The zoo

What do you want to be when you grow up? A dentist [I asked, "really?" because I never heard her say that before and then she said] No a vet 

What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do? Snuggle 

What is Daddy’s favorite thing to do? Play with the kids 


This was in a book that her Pre-K teacher put together

This was also in the Pre-K book

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A couple of years ago I asked each of the kids a set of questions before their birthday, and I think it's fun to watch their answers change over time. Since Alexis, Jack, and Faith's 5th birthday is only a little over two weeks away (how is that possible?!), I asked them the questions today. Here are Jack's answers from when he turned 4. And here are Jack's answers from when he turned 3. This year his answers make him sound so grown up! I cannot believe how much he has learned in the past year.

What is your name? Jack Micah Howard

How old are you? 4

How old will you be on your birthday? 5

When is your birthday? June 7

How old is Mommy? 13

How old is Daddy? 14

What is your favorite color? Black

Favorite food? Pesto pasta

Best friend? Lex

Favorite song? Jesus Loves Me [same answer as last year!]

Favorite animal? Cheetah

What are you scared of? Nothing! [Okay, I have a little mommy guilt going on here as he is definitely afraid of things (the dark, caves, big bugs, large groups of people, etc) but he already seems to think that as a boy he has to be brave. I don't want our kids to fall under the boy / girl stereotypes, so this is something to work on!]

What makes you happy? Silliness

Where is your favorite place to go? The Plane Museum [aka The Museum of Nuclear Science and History that we took the kids to once because they always see the airplanes displayed outside and they begged us to take them there.]

What do you want to be when you grow up? A superhero 

What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do? Work

What is Daddy’s favorite thing to do? Climb


This was from a book his teacher put together in Pre-K

This was also in the book from Pre-K

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A couple of years ago I asked each of the kids a set of questions before their birthday, and I think it's fun to watch their answers change over time. Since Alexis, Jack, and Faith's 5th birthday is only a little over two weeks away (how is that possible?!), I asked them the questions today. Here are Alexis' answers when she turned 4. And here are Alexis' answers when she turned 3. This year her answers make her sound so grown up! I cannot believe how much she has learned in the past year.

What is your full name? Alexis Joy Howard

How old are you? 4

How old will you be on your birthday? 5

When is your birthday? June 7

How old is Mommy? 65 [only 30 years off, and this year she asked right away if she was right]

How old is Daddy? 66 [again, exactly 30 years off!]

What is your favorite color? Purple and yellow

Favorite food? Pesto pasta

Best friend? Faith, I mean Lily [a friend from school]

Favorite song? 123, Jesus Loves Me

Favorite animal? Dogs, pandas, and polar bears [ a year ago she was terrified of dogs, but now she really likes them! And pandas and polar bears were a favorite last year too.]

What are you scared of? Ants, spiders, and beetles

What makes you happy? Funny faces and rainbows

Where is your favorite place to go? To the LEGO place [somewhere we went for a school friend's birthday party]

What do you want to be when you grow up? A vet

What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do? To have a quiet time [I keep trying to convince them that playing alone / having quiet time isn't a punishment, and that some of us actually enjoy it! I guess she's listening!]

What is Daddy’s favorite thing to do? Snuggle with me in my bed


This was in a book that she took home from school and I'm not sure when she drew this since she now draws people with bodies instead of arms sticking out of their head :)

This was also part of the book from school

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This past week we have been remembering Graham's birth and the events before and after his birth. My contractions started on Thursday morning and Graham wasn't born until 2:50 a.m. on Saturday. To me my labor seemed long as I didn't really know what to expect (I never went into labor with my triplet pregnancy), and by the time Graham was born I had not slept much in 48 hours. During my labor the kids and Micah all came down with a horrible cold (ear infections, terrible cough, and pink eye for the kids, and a sinus infection for Micah), so there was a part of me that wanted to stay at the hospital longer since I didn't want to expose a tiny baby to so many germs. I did end up catching the cough and cold from the kids, but thankfully Graham was okay.

On top of everyone being sick, breastfeeding was extremely difficult. I so badly wanted to breastfeed since I wasn't able to do so with our triplets, but it was excruciatingly painful. I dreaded nursing him because of how painful it was for me, and in those early weeks I could only nurse him away from the older kids because it hurt so badly that I couldn't even hold a conversation. Thankfully I figured out, through numerous Google searches and talking to friends, that Graham had a top lip tie. When Graham was about 4 weeks old we got that lasered, and nursing him became so much easier for me. Looking back I'm surprised I persevered through the pain, but that goes to show how important breastfeeding was to me this time around. I knew that Graham would be fine on formula since that is how our other babies were fed, but I really wanted the breastfeeding experience. He did get a few ounces of formula in the early weeks simply to give my body a break from the pain, but when he had that we noticed an increase in spit up / vomit, which makes sense now that we know he has a milk protein intolerance.

Unfortunately, Graham projectile vomited massive amounts every day starting when he was about two weeks old. Our other babies spit up frequently, but this was completely different as he would only do it 1-2 times a day, but when he did it would be like a fountain as it would shoot out of him. Most days I became completely soaked in the process. He also had specks of dark blood and mucous in his stool. After more Google searches, talking with friends, and multiple trips to the pediatrician, I decided to cut out dairy and soy from my diet. Although that helped some, a couple of weeks later I cut out gluten as well and that did the trick. After cutting dairy, soy, and gluten from my diet, Graham very, very rarely spit up and his diapers became completely normal. Eating this way has not been easy, especially when it comes to eating out and social events, but it didn't take long for me to become used to cooking this way for myself.

On top of the breastfeeding issues and food intolerances, Graham wasn't a great napper, so it was hard to find a few minutes for myself (he mostly liked to nap in the Ergo carrier). And even though he is a pretty consistent napper now, there really isn't much room for downtime since during his naps I am either working (while the kids are at preschool), taking care of things around the house, or doing stuff with the big kids. And, up until a week ago, I was still nursing him during the night. When I write all of this out, I can see why I feel so tired all of the time.

This past weekend I was able to attend portions of my church's women's retreat. Thankfully the retreat took place at a B&B in ABQ so, although most women stayed on site all weekend, there were some of us that went back and forth for various reasons. Although it would have been great to be fully present at the retreat, I appreciated that I could attend all of the sessions and still be home to nurse Graham pretty much on our normal schedule. (Ironically, although breastfeeding got off to a difficult start, he now won't take a bottle so I don't even have the option to leave him for more than 5 or so hours during the day). The fact that the retreat fell on Graham's birthday weekend was completely coincidence, but to me it felt like a turning point in my life. The first year with a baby is hard, and Graham has been no exception, but we made it through the first year and I was finally able to do something 'for myself.'

I know so many mothers have more difficult situations than my own, so I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm complaining. I was just taken off guard with the hurdles we experienced during Graham's first year of life as we truly believed one baby would be "easy." Yes, in some ways he is easy, but in many ways he isn't. So, friends, to those of you that have said I'm your "hero" for having triplets, and for those that feel like they can't vent about their one child to me because I have triplets, I want you to know that having a baby is hard no matter what.

My hope is that the next year with Graham is easier for me and that I can start getting out more regularly with friends and to run and climb, but if it doesn't happen I'm going to continue to give myself grace because in the sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion of raising kids, sometimes grace is the best gift we can give ourselves.
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Graham is 6 months old! It's crazy to think we are halfway to a one-year-old. Jack wanted to join in on the photos again. He sure loves his baby brother!

Happy sitter

Rolling all of the time!

With his lion blanket

Our boys

Buds

Alexis gave me this idea as she was flipping through a magazine and saw a photo of a baby like this. It turned out cute!


Age: 6 months

Weight: 14 lbs 6.5 oz (A lightweight, but he continues to gain about the same amount each month and he weighs more than any of his siblings did at 8 months / 6 months adjusted)

Length: about 25.25 inches

Size Clothes: 6 months, although he has outgrown some 6 month PJs and he is now wearing some 9 month PJs.

Naps: These have gotten so much better! Graham is taking three naps a day. The first and last nap of the day are usually around 45 minutes each and the middle nap is about 1.5 hours, although the duration does vary from day to day. We don't have a schedule but we have gotten in a pretty good routine where I put him down for a nap about 2 hours after he wakes up, give or take 30 minutes. Of course preschool drop off and pick up does make things a little difficult as sometimes he's ready for a nap when we aren't home and other times I need to wake him so we can leave the house. Such is life as the younger child. I do feed him before his nap, but he doesn't always fall asleep. If he's awake when I lay him down he might fuss for a minute or two. If it's much longer I usually end up going back in to rock him to sleep (something I said I would never do because I want him to know how to self soothe, but with this baby I have to do what's easiest in the moment since I have three other kids that need me). The longest he has ever napped in his crib is 2.5 hours. I hope to see more of those in the future!

Ready for a nap and sucking on his favorite fingers

Night Sleep: On 9/25, just three days after Graham turned 5 months old, we moved him to his own room. Mostly this has been great as we all seem to sleep a little better this way since we aren't waking each other up. Graham still wakes up 1-2 times a night, but things seem to be getting a little better as he is able to fall back asleep quickly after eating most of the time (although in the last week there have been a couple of nights that he was up for 1-1.5 hours before he fell asleep again, but this might be due to sickness as he has a mild cold and cough and he's been back in our room as my parents have been in town, so maybe that is hindering his sleep). Unfortunately his bedtime hasn't been going that great as although he'll generally go to bed between 7:00 and 8:00, many nights he wakes up 30-60 minutes later and he is wide awake so I end up waiting awhile to put him down again. I think our busy days and lack of schedule are making it a little hard for him to settle for the night, but I'm hoping this will get better as he starts napping longer and takes fewer naps a day since it will be easier to organize our day around his sleeping.

One of the nights where he went to bed only to wake up a little while later wide awake. Who could turn down this happy boy?!

Eating:
Graham eats about 10 times (about 8x a day and 2x at night) in a 24 hour period for a total of 1.5-2 hours a day. We aren't in an exact routine with his eating since it depends on the length of his naps. I generally feed him before a nap, and if he takes a long nap I feed him again when he wakes up. If he takes a short nap, though, I usually wait to feed him until he is ready for another nap a couple of hours later. When I write it out it seems like he still eats fairly often, but this has been working for us. Our other kids were bottle fed and I felt like I had to get them to eat a full bottle every time they ate so that they got enough calories. Although at this age they only drank 5 bottles a day, compared to Graham eating 10  times a day, I feel less stressed by breastfeeding so it works out. I don't worry about how much he eats at a time as I know I can easily feed him again if he needs it. I don't have to worry about bringing along the right amount of formula when we leave or how we are going to heat up bottles. Breastfeeding is just so simple (minus the fact that I've had to change my diet so drastically). I'm so happy it has worked to breastfeed Graham for the first six months of his life, and I plan to continue to do so for another six months.

Food Intolerances: Nothing new here. I want to start solids because he seems really interested, but I'm so nervous that more food intolerances or allergies will show up. So far the issues he's had have been through breastmilk, so I'm worried that eating foods directly will cause more reactions.

Likes: Graham has continued to use his fingers to self soothe and I actually don't even keep a pacifier in his bed anymore. He does still use the pacifier in his car seat, but it's definitely not his preferred soother. He continues to like his piano activity mat and his exersaucer. He has also enjoys his toys. Although I haven't been reading to him as much as I should be, he does enjoy books. Graham spends a lot of time watching his siblings and I think he's looking forward to joining them in their play someday.

He's been enjoying the sofa covers as they make great makeshift toys

Watching the bigs color

"Playing" train with the bigs

We try to spend a little time in the backyard each day so that Graham gets some fresh air in hopes that he sleeps better. He loves watching the big kids ride their bikes, jump on the trampoline, and play other games.

Playing with Alexis and her prized Snoopy

Playing with Faith. Faith has really listened when I talk about Graham's food intolerances as she knows that she can't touch his toys when she's eating. This was during a snack so she was pressing the musical keys with her elbow!

The play mat is still fun!

Watching our cat Sienna

Reading before bed

Playing in the backyard


Dislikes: Graham does not like his nose messed with, which is hard since he's had a minor cold. He is also getting a little afraid of strangers if someone unfamiliar holds him. Overall, though, he is a laid back happy baby.

Milestones: Graham grabs his feet. He can switch toys from one hand to the other. He babbles a "ga" sound and he's working on the "mmm" sound. He can now roll from back to tummy and he does it all of the time! He also sits fairly well when I put him in a sitting position. I still have to be there to catch him, but he can sit for several minutes by himself. Graham also got baptized on Sunday at our church, and we were thankful that both sets of grandparents could come to town for the occasion.

Grabbing his feet

He took his sock off and stuck it in his mouth!

He is too big for the baby bath tub and I have a little chair for the bath but I found it awkward to use, so he is now being bathed in shallow water on his back like our other kids were at this age. He seems to enjoy being able to splash.

He now sits up well enough to use the stroller without the carseat while I run! Now I just need to start running more regularly.

"I've got this Mom!" He is sitting so well!


It was a little stressful having the other kids up front with us during Graham's baptism as they insisted on playing on the steps and we knew someone could fall and have a meltdown at any moment

And then they almost pulled over the table with the bowl of water when they were vying for the best position to watch...but in the end it all went smoothly without any mishaps. And surprisingly Graham only whimpered when Pastor Justin put the water on him, but he didn't cry!
After the baptism Graham fell asleep. It was an exhausting morning for him!

Places he's been: We really haven't gone anywhere new in the last month, but we did go up to Monte Vista for the fourth time since Graham was born. He also came with me to the eye doctor, which included a short nap in the Ergo, and he happily sat through a 1.5 hour dentist appointment for the other kids (and he was awake the whole time!).

Hanging out in Grammy and Grandpa's front yard

Grass!

Hiking in the foothills near our house

Things he does that makes us smile: Roll over, as that is his newest skill! He also makes us smile when he jumps and screams in his exersaucer. We love to see his interactions with the big kids.

Pre-church photo

Faith and Jack wanted to pose with Graham

Alexis being super sweet with Graham in the backyard 
On a bike ride / walk when I had to take Graham out of the stroller to fold it up and squeeze through a tight spot on our route. Alexis happily volunteered to hold her baby brother.


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This year we decided to drive to Michigan instead of fly. I know it sounds like a crazy idea with three 4-year-olds and a newborn, but we decided to do this to save money, so that we would have a vehicle that would fit all four car seats while we were in Michigan, and because we knew the kids and I would stay for awhile so it would make the long drive worth it. We have driven many times to Micah's parents' house in Colorado, which is about four hours away, and we've made a few trips to Denver with the kids (about 7 hours), but those drives are nothing compared to the 21 hours of drive time to Michigan. We decided to split the drive up between three days since we had to stop so often to feed Graham. There were definitely tense moments when Graham was crying and we were trying to navigate through city traffic and such, but overall the ride both ways went fairly smoothly and we only had one major slowdown due to an accident ahead of us on the highway. Alexis, Jack, and Faith were troopers for the entire six days we spent in the car, and they spent most of their time watching DVD's.

Micah stayed in Michigan for the first week and then he flew back to ABQ to work for a couple of weeks. He returned to Michigan on Thursday night (actually, he arrived at my parents' house around 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning), and then we left Friday morning around 9:30 for our drive back to ABQ.

Our time in Michigan was a whirlwind of activity. Since Alexis, Jack, and Faith no longer nap we stayed busy morning, noon, and night. And once the big kids were in bed for the night, usually around 8:00 p.m., I was still taking care of Graham as he was not on a good bedtime routine yet and I was worried that if I started to put him to bed too early in Michigan he would be waking up too early when we got back to ABQ since there is a two hour time difference.

I have to admit that although I stayed quite busy taking care of Graham since a 3-month-old demands a lot of time and attention, I did get a little spoiled by my parents. They woke up before the big kids every morning and got them their breakfast. They crawled into the back of the car and buckled their car seats when we were going out (this might not seem like a big deal, but it's kind of annoying climbing back there all of the time). They made every home cooked dinner. They babysat a few times so that Micah and I could do one-on-one outings with the kids and go out with family and friends. I truly appreciated the amount of help (and entertainment, especially by Grandpa) my parents gave me while I was there, and the change of pace was great after an overwhelming start to our summer with a new baby.

It would take several blog posts to cover everything that we did in our time on the road and in Michigan, but here are many photos from our trip that capture the fun that was had by all.

We ended up leaving for Michigan a day later than we had planned as Faith woke up with the stomach bug the day we planned to leave. The next day we made sure everyone was healthy before leaving, so we got a later start than we had originally planned. Thankfully, no one else caught the bug!

Graham stretching out at our lunch stop

Picnic lunch along the highway in Texas

First night in Oklahoma City. The kids have only stayed at hotels a couple of other times, but they don't remember it at all since they were babies. They were so excited to be in a hotel room so they all climbed into the beds right away!

I bought this great travel bed from someone in my multiples club right before we left. My parents have a pack n play so I didn't want to lug ours across the country for four nights in a hotel room. Graham was at the perfect age for this since he wasn't moving around much yet, but as soon as he starts rolling it won't really work anymore.

The girls normally share a room, but sharing a bed was a whole new experience. We ended up having to separate them until they fell asleep and then move them into bed together.

Our preschoolers leaving the hotel

None of the 4-year-olds slept at all until the last 30 minutes of our drive to Michigan, despite being very tired from not much sleep at the hotels. Unfortunately this little nap was rough on Jack, but he recovered quickly once we got out of the car at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

They LOVE driving around in the golf cart

We brought their balance bikes with us and I'm so glad we did! They enjoyed rides around the condo roads and they rode endless circles around my parents' driveway.

We spent our first full day in Holland at Dutch Village

Dutch Village


The kids had numerous ice cream cones on Grandma and Grandpa's back patio

Blueberry picking was a fun experience for all. We were lucky that it was a cloudy morning so that we didn't get too hot, and the blueberries were large and easy to pick! The kids probably ate as many as they put in their buckets.


My parents' have the best yard in the condo neighborhood as they live on a corner lot. The kids spent a lot of time running around the grass and playing games. One of their favorite activities is watching Grandpa launch rocket balloons and trying to catch them. Great Grandma was over this morning and Alexis was playing catch with her, which is something she probably hasn't done in many years!

My parents live in a 55+ community so there aren't usually many kids hanging out there. Many people stopped to talk to the kids while they were playing outside in the driveway and the kids LOVED all of the attention. They especially enjoyed talking to the neighbors, which is a couple in their 80's who have taken an interest in the kids each time we visit.

We spent one morning at Ottawa Beach enjoying Lake Michigan

Jack swimming in the cold lake

Jack warming up with Grandpa and Graham staying out of the sun with Grandma

Not our best family photo due to the bright sun, but in the background is the lighthouse where Micah and I got engaged almost 13 years ago.

Faith enjoying a special drink on the porch swing

Having Katie in town for the summer was a huge bonus for me. We have been friends since 1st grade and we still make a point to travel to see each other a couple of times a year. The kids adore her and they loved that she rode bikes on the driveway with them.

After the kids were in bed for the night, Micah and I met up with Katie and her husband Ryan for drinks (and a second dinner for me...this nursing mama is always hungry!)

Katie's parents have a pool, which I swam in numerous times throughout the years. The kids loved swimming there.

The girls drawing before church

Alexis, Faith, and Jack just sitting on a chair, so I told them to smile for a photo

The girls reading books at the local library, which puts the ABQ libraries to shame. I remember sitting in this same carousel reading as a child.

Exploring the local nature center with cousin Adelle

Faith's first pony ride

Alexis' first pony ride

Jack's first pony ride

Swimming with their cousins (and their cousins' friends)

Adelle, Jack, and Faith

I took this stroller along for Graham, but Faith really enjoyed riding during one of my walk/runs

Downtown Holland splash pad

St. Joe Children's Museum

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How is it that our baby is only one month away from turning 1?!!! I still refer to him as “The Baby” all of the time to strangers and acquaintances, which he is of course, but that makes him sound like he’s an infant when in reality he is closer to being a toddler. This has by far been the fastest year of our lives because we have been so busy with our four kids, and also Micah has been incredible busy at work. Plus I am working very part time from home and we’ve been making progress on our main floor update, so we haven’t had a lot of time to sit back and enjoy the days. But it’s been a memorable year nevertheless.

Newly painted railing and walls, and Graham climbing the stairs

The before (after I started painting a little)

Before and After of the kitchen cabinets


Age: 11 months








Weight: 17 lbs 5 oz (+ 11 oz)...consistently in the 4th-5th percentile for height and weight

Size Clothes: He’s finally starting to outgrow 9 month clothes, but they mostly still fit.

Night Sleep: Graham has had a hard time going to bed most nights during the past month. I try to put him down around 7:30/8:00, but most nights he screams until we get him back up. He usually goes to bed for real between 9:00 and 10:00, which means we don’t get much of a kid-free evening. He then wakes up 1-2 times during the night to nurse. Hoping this changes soon!

Yelling at the camera when he didn't want to sleep


Naps: Naps are still going well with him sleeping 1.5-2 hours both morning and afternoon. I have tried waking him from his afternoon nap earlier to see if it helped at night but it hasn’t.

Nursing: Graham nurses first thing in the morning, before his naps, and at bedtime. I also nurse him before I go to sleep at night and 1-2x during the night when he wakes up. According to my app, I now spend about an hour nursing in a 24 hour period.

Solids: Graham eats three small meals a day. For one he has a pouch and some Cheerios or some other finger food like fruit to keep him occupied. For another meal he eats a smoothie or just coconut milk yogurt in a straw cup with a little water so that he can drink it through a straw, plus a finger food. For dinner he generally just eats a little of what we are having cut up in small bites, and the rest of his pouch from earlier if he didn’t finish it. Overall he seems to enjoy food!

He loves eating from pouches independently 


Food Intolerances: Nothing new...still avoiding dairy, gluten, and soy.

Milestones: Graham has been crawling on hands and knees, instead of army crawling, more and more. He can easily get into the sitting position, he plays on tall knees all of the time, and he claps! He has also started to point and he can climb up half a flight of stairs. He enjoys pulling himself up on everything, although he still does it the “wrong” way most of the time as he pulls himself up by his arms instead of putting his foot on the floor and pushing off.

Getting his foot down to stand up the "right way"

Exploring the backyard

Teeth: No new ones...just the 8 he’s has for awhile, but I think more will come in soon by how he’s been acting.

Likes: Making silly noises like blowing raspberries, especially when we do it back. Being tossed in the air by Daddy. Being silly with the big kids. Eating food and drinking from a straw cup. Swinging at the park. Playing outside. Putting everything in his mouth.

Dislikes: Getting his face cleaned. Sitting in his high chair after he decides he is done with it. Having toys taken away from him.

Speech: No new sounds (mama, dada, baba, blows raspberries, makes gurgle noises in throat).

Places he’s been: We haven’t gone anywhere, but Grammy was here a few weeks ago to help us out, Grandpa and Grandma came a couple of days later for five days, and then Grammy came back the next day to stay for a week (partly to help me while Micah does a ski race he’s been training for). Because of all of the visitors, Graham has been sleeping in Jack’s room since his room doubles as the guest room.

His crib in Jack's room temporarily

Things he does to make us smile: Crawling over to me to be picked up as I don’t remember our other kids doing this until they got older. Feeding himself. Making cute noises. Playing with his siblings.





















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This is by far the latest I've been posting to my blog for a month "birthday," and I even contemplated waiting another 11 days and just posting once for 10 and 11 months combined. But since I had already written a lot of it in the Notes in my phone, I decided I should just finish it (plus, I have some mom guilt since I was so on top of it with the posts about our trio!). This post is ridiculously late because the last few weeks have been extra busy for me, plus I was waiting to have Graham evaluated by Early Intervention since I had some concerns and I wasn't sure how to convey them in a post. It turned out that my concerns were valid and he is slightly delayed when it comes to gross motor (he is still not crawling on hands and knees all of the time, he doesn't pull himself up "correctly" on furniture, he doesn't clap, he doesn't reach his arms out to ask to be picked up, etc.), so Graham qualifies for services. Although it's disappointing that he's a little behind, there aren't any real concerns as he just needs a little extra push to help him along.

When writing this post, though, this quote from Theodore Roosevelt came to mind. "Comparison is the thief of joy." I have to admit that I find myself comparing our kids to my friends’ kids (and Google searches), and it’s easy to feel discouraged. Graham is a wonderful baby and he is growing and progressing, but I assumed he would be meeting all of his milestones on time since he was full term, but that hasn’t been the case.

When Alexis, Jack, and Faith were babies it was easy to believe that those with singletons had it “easier” than us, and that all full term babies around us were meeting milestones on time. And although it is true in many ways that one baby is easier than three, I never imagined we would be dealing with food allergies for Graham and I certainly never thought he would be tiny for his age or delayed in any way. When I look at Alexis, Jack, and Faith now I KNOW that these little milestones really aren’t that important to accomplish “on time” since I’m confident he will do them eventually, just as his big brother and big sisters did, but it’s human nature to compare ourselves and our kids to others. 

As a side note, Alexis, Jack, and Faith are actually completely caught up, despite being preemies, and we just enrolled them in kindergarten even though my earlier blog post said we were going to hold them back a year...but I’ll save all of that for another post! And, even though I feel a little disappointed that Graham isn’t a super chunky baby that is exceeding every milestone, the reality is that he is a wonderful baby with a charming personality, and there aren’t any charts or Google searches to measure that!

Age: 10 months

Weight: 16 lbs 10 oz (+6 oz)

Length: 27.25 inches (+.5 inches)

Size Clothes: 9 month

Nicknames: Grahambino, Bino, Bino baby, Bino bomber, Bomber







Night Sleep: Graham is fairly consistent with his night sleep as he typically goes to bed around 7:30, I nurse him before I go to bed around 10:00, he wakes between 2 and 3, and then he generally sleeps to 6:30/7. Some nights he has trouble falling asleep / staying asleep and I have to get him up for a little bit before we go to bed. Some nights he wakes up an extra time during the night. But for the most part he’s in a good routine.

Naps: Like last month, naps are still going pretty well with his morning nap from about 10-12 and his afternoon nap from about 2:30-4:30. Sometimes his naps are more like 1.5 hours, but still a good length.

Nursing: Graham nurses first thing in the morning (unless he woke up around 5:00 am and then went back to sleep as he isn’t hungry when he wakes up in the morning then), before his morning nap, before his afternoon nap, around dinner time, before bed, around 10:00 pm, and around 2:00 am. If he doesn’t have much solids he has a snack nursing session between those times during the day. I did try feeding him one day about an hour before his naps and he didn’t really have trouble falling asleep, so I don’t believe we have a sleep association problem (at least during the day), it’s just most convenient to feed him in a dark quiet room before his naps when I can first get the big kids occupied. It also assures me that he won’t wake up from a nap early because he’s hungry.

Solids: Last month I felt very discouraged with Graham’s lack of interest in solids, but this month things have changed! He's still not taking in many calories via solids, but the first step is learning to eat. One major milestone is that Graham has learned to drink out of a straw cup. I’ve read that this is better than a sippy cup for development, so I went for it! I started by giving him little sips from a straw that I had my finger over the end of, then I used a Take n Toss cup with a little water in it as it acts as a vacuum and I could squeeze the cup a little so water would come out of the straw without him sucking, and then he quickly figured out how to suck! (I read a blog that explained how to teach this and it worked so well). It only took a couple of days for him to figure it out and he loves drinking coconut milk yogurt and smoothies from the cup. He has also started picking up whatever I put on his tray and eating it (sweet potato, strawberry, black beans, cheerios, peas, etc). I figured out that he really likes to have control over his eating, so he is happier eating directly from a pouch that he is holding than being fed by a spoon (this is the opposite of our other kids so it surprised me!). 


Day 1: drinking a little water through a straw I was holding

Day 2: me helping him hold the cup while he drank

Now he's a pro at this straw drinking thing

I found vegan, gluten free mac and cheese and we both enjoyed it

Alexis wanted to feed him one night and it actually went well!

Food Intolerances: Nothing new to report. I'm still avoiding gluten, dairy, and soy for myself and with his solids.

Milestones: Pulling up on things to stand, sitting on tall knees, saying “dada,” playing peek a boo, waving, shaking head in refusal.

I took the couch cushions off like our Early Intervention therapists suggested with our trio and it's worked so great for him since he's tiny and it's hard for him to reach the top with the cushions on







Teeth: He now has 8 teeth!

Likes: Pulling himself up on the first stair, playing with the toy house / door, chewing on everything, sucking on his two fingers, being held, playing with his big sibs


He almost always has his fingers in his mouth if he's being held

He loves to play with this stool in the bathroom

Dislikes: He's just starting to get mad when toys are taken away from him (which happens often since the bigs don't want him sucking on their stuffed animals and such. Mostly he's easy going though!

Speech: He said 'dada' for a couple of weeks, but I haven't heard it recently. A speech therapist evaluated him this past week and he does seem a little behind on his sounds, but she wasn't really concerned since she felt like he was so focused on his gross motor skills right now and that speech would come soon. He does tend to be a little quiet, but I think that's just his demeanor and not something to be concerned about. 

Places he's been: Nothing new to report here. It's been a busy month but we haven't really been doing anything fun since I've been bogged down with obligations and house projects.

Things he does that makes us smile: Every time he practices a new skill. We also love seeing him play with his siblings.








The big kids love to help get him up in the morning and from naps. The girls had amazing bed head this morning. This was pre haircut.


His first time sitting in a high chair at a restaurant

Uncle Kent and Aunt Emily came out for a long weekend



Watching the rain

First Valentine's Day and even Graham got cards in the mail

The big kids do get irritated when he interferes with their games, but I had to laugh on this particular day since they blocked him out of tiny corner where they were playing and he had the whole rest of the room to himself 

Watching his first Olympics

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This is the first year that we didn't plan on spending the kids' birthday with grandparents. For their 1st birthday, we celebrated a couple of weeks early while we were in Michigan and then Micah's parents came down to ABQ for their actual birthday. For their 2nd birthday, both sets of grandparents came to ABQ to celebrate. For their 3rd birthday, we flew to Michigan on their actual birthday so we celebrated there a couple of days later with family. This year, though, circumstances were a bit different as both sets of grandparents had just come to help out after Graham was born, and Micah had a work conference during the week of their birthday (which fell on a Wednesday). Because of the conference, I asked my mom to come out and help for the week since I didn't feel ready to handle all four kids on my own day and night. Thankfully she was able to come, and Micah decided to go to the conference a couple of days late, so the three of us were there to celebrate with the kids for most of the day.

The day started with showing the kids the new trampoline from my parents and us. Micah and I worked hard after the kids went to bed the night before to get it set up, but it got dark and we made a couple of mistakes that cost us some time, so unfortunately Micah spent several hours on the kids' actual birthday getting the rest of the trampoline put together. After seeing the trampoline, but understanding that they couldn't jump on it until Daddy finished putting it together, the kids opened their presents. They were very excited for everything they got.

Excited about the new trampoline (before the net was put on...)

Birthday presents!

A replacement Snoopy shirt for the one that she is outgrowing

Trucks!

DVDs for our long car rides to visit family!

Grandma and the girls then decorated the cake and cupcakes while I helped Micah with the trampoline. We then sang and enjoyed cake. The trampoline was finally put together in the early afternoon and the kids loved it.

We are glad Grandma was here to help manage the day since I spent a lot of it feeding Graham while Micah put the trampoline together

Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday (3 different times). I can't believe how much the girls look alike here.

Jack

Faith

Alexis

Waiting patiently for Daddy to finish...

On the kids' 2nd birthday we took them out individually, and we decided to do that again since my mom was in town to stay home with the others. Each kid chose their own outing from some ideas we gave them. Originally we thought we would both take each kid out but, due to baby needs and time constraints, we had Graham with us when we took Jack to the climbing gym, and then we had to split up with the girls. Micah and Alexis went out for frozen yogurt (aka "the ice cream factory") while Faith and I went to Starbucks for a cake pop. Right after the girls' outings Micah had to rush to the airport and he was gone until Friday night. (NOTE: Micah had so much fun with Alexis that he forgot to take a picture when they went out for frozen yogurt. Oh well, it's probably something she'll remember for a long time!)

After a few attempts, Jack gained the confidence to climb to the top! Coming down was the hard part as it's an unusual feeling to let go of the wall and trust someone to lower you down, even when you are a kid.

Bouldering with Daddy

Faith with her cake pop and milk at Starbucks

She chatted my ear off, which was great since we so rarely get one-on-one time. And she had to tell another customer that it was her birthday as she was quite excited :)

On Saturday morning we celebrated the kids' birthday again with a party at our favorite park. This was the first friends birthday party the kids have had since every other year we celebrated with family. It was a cars and trucks theme, but I kept it simple as I hired a friend to make the cake and I just threw some snacks in toy trucks for the kids to enjoy while playing. Originally five families said they would (probably) come, but two families canceled at the last minute (for very understandable reasons), so the party was smaller than we originally thought, but still fun. The kids played at the park while the parents talked, we ate some cake (that was made soy free and dairy free so I could eat it!), and the kids handed out small party favors to their friends. All in all it was a great low-key party, which was perfect considering I was nursing and holding Graham for most of it.

Ready for the party!
Race Car Cake with custom cars

It was too windy for the candles to stay lit, so they just pretended to blow them out

Eating cake with friends

I forgot to take a picture of Graham at the party, but here he is sporting his cars and trucks onesie on a walk later that day
Alexis, Jack, and Faith are very proud to be 4, and the girls especially like telling everyone about their recent birthday!
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