Thursday, June 27, 2019

Three Things Lately

It's been a nice but busy week with the oldest three at VBS. I've come to realize that I don't drive hardly anywhere these days. Our grocery store, pharmacy, library, drive thru coffee shop, and city park are all within a mile of our house (essentials, y'all.) So, the daily drive to and from the host church for drop off and pick up that is a whopping 15 minutes away feels like we are in the car all day, when in reality comes out to just an hour a day.

In essence, I'm a wimp.

Overseas it was at least 20 minutes to a grocery store, longer for just about any errand. When we returned to the US we regularly made 12-13 hour drives, often just myself in the car with the three kids.

I've lost my stamina it seems.

Something I haven't lost my stamina for? Heat! It reached 100 here yesterday and I didn't even break a sweat. I didn't really choose to stay out in it all day but it wasn't a factor in why I hurried the kids home after VBS. The kids have completely become acclimated to American "heat waves," though, complaining the whole time.

I remind them unwaveringly merciless how hot Abu Dhabi was, with one hundred percent humidity, and that they are tougher than they think.

They cry and ask to stay inside with a popsicle.

All of this thought of then and now got me thinking about how quickly things change and I wanted to share some of our life updates.

Ian
1.) Ian still works. Ha! I guess that's good. About 9 months ago he accepted a new position with more responsibility and some more travel. If we had about an hour I could explain what he does but for now, let me quote my good friend Alison vis a vis FRIENDS:

"He's a Transpondster!"

Yup, an avionics transpondster, who gets to travel to China and Singapore, England and France.

2.) We celebrated our 11th anniversary two weeks ago! It's really hard to believe. I still feel like just yesterday I was walking down that aisle to say "I do," to the most handsome, loving, smart, strong, and adventurous guy I know.

3.) For Father's Day Ian was given a ticket to fly down and spend the weekend with his Dad (and mom and brother!) in Florida. I'm pretty sure they just ate and hung out between meals but it sounds like everyone had fun and Ian had a rare non work related trip away.

Brittney (me, in case that was confusing.)
1.) I'm deep in a hole of reading. I can't read at night because I will fall asleep (I'm old, I know,) but I do have a nice pattern of reading in the morning rather uninterrupted.

By the time Ben goes down for his long morning nap I have showered, made my bed, the kids have had breakfast, gotten dressed, and made their beds, and I sit and eat breakfast, drink coffee, and read for about 20 minutes. Sometimes it turns out to be more like an hour! It's a nice summer break routine for me and the kids are being helpful with making sure they occupy themselves for awhile.

2.) Puzzles!! I love doing puzzles but for the last couple of years I've had no place I could do them without little people ruining them or without taking up our only table space. In the new house we have this gigantic island that I've set out a 1,000 piece puzzle and work on it whenever I'm waiting for water to boil or when the kids are briefly occupied. It's been nice! Since we do not have small group at our home for the summer I don't feel a rush to get it finished or to have the space cleared off and I'm really enjoying it.

3.) The house. Sigh. It's so nice but there are so many projects, do you know what I mean? I'm not really sure what to devout our time and resources to first. I think that we are going to get all of the pictures on the wall this weekend so that's an easy (and free,) feat to accomplish. I painted a small area and the verdict is still out on whether we want it to stay painted or revert back to a neutral, so that kind of feels like a project failure.

Sigh.

Grace
1.) She's growing up! It all seems unreal that we have an 8 year old and that her interests and activities are maturing as she does. I have a hard time keeping up with it and balancing it with what the world says she be allowed to do/say/watch with what we want her to do/say/watch but also allowing for growth beyond what we expect for her preschool aged brother. She's begging us for a sleepover but we just don't have grown-ups with a little girl that have the same value and that we trust enough for that here with us.

2.) Grace is quite the gymnast! She attends a once a week recreational level class (because four kids means budget and time restraints,) but I often wonder if she'd enjoy to do it a little more. Also, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in a home where a child does at least 200 cartwheels a day, come on over, we've got answers for your questions.

3.) Both girls have recently gotten into the American Girls historical novels and it makes my heart so happy. Grace just read Molly, which was one of my favorites, and we've been having alot of discussions on World War 2. She made the connection between the setting for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Molly and had alot of questions. Mainly if Aslan would come out of the wardrobe and visit Molly, but still, connections.

Sophia
1.) Sophia is 6 and a half and is a funny place between bitty girl and big girl. I feel like I'm learning alot about what makes her tick lately. Quality time and words of affirmation are big on her list. She's begging for a vacation and she looks up to ask what I think of whatever she's doing approximately every 30 seconds.

2.) Sophia passed her swim test at our local neighborhood pool! Actually, both girls did, which means that they can both go swimming in the non baby pool without me and go on the diving board and everything! I was so surprised that Sophia passed as she is still figuring out the mechanics of it all. She's one determined little girl!

3.) Sophia is such a sweet, kind, loving kid. One thing she's not? Outgoing. And sometimes that shyness can come across as rude or unkind. THis week, for VBS, I challenged her to step a little outside of her comfort zone, just to learn the name of a new friend in her class every day.

I told the kids that I didn't care if they forgot their memory verse every day, if their craft project was ruined, or if their VBS team didn't win with points. What I did care about was if they were kind to people. Did they look around and see if anyone was all alone? Did they sit next to them? Ask a question or two to make them feel involved.

Do you have a shy kid? How do you encourage kindness to others when they are wrestling with their own shyness?

Luke
1.) He says the funniest things, really. Just this morning, when the sunlight hit him just right he exclaimed "I've got fur on my legs, just like Daddy!"

Last week, when asked how a spot of water got on a library book he replied "I think a bird spit on it. And then maybe I spilled some water."

2.) Luke starts Pre-K this fall! Last year he was just along for the ride and although play is still his main priority he will have a little more to do at home and will get to be a part of our Classical Conversations community! I'm most nervous about him staying at the table for those three hours but I think he will come around to it- there is lots of movement and noise making allowed.

3.) I recently got a bill from his four year old check-up. They included a hearing test on the bill that he most definitely was not administered. How do I know? Because I ask myself EVERY DAY if he has hearing problems. And I keep thinking I should ask a professional but then I'm in the doctor's office with four kids and I just plain forget. Everyone just tells me it is little boy syndrome but the kid doesn't even respond to his own name when in crowds or when not looking you in the eye, so I've got questions that need to be answered, whether by time or by an evaluation.

Ben

1.) Ben's 8 months old! He's sitting, rolling over, eating like a champ, saying Mom-mom and Da-Da and laughing his head off at his crazy siblings. He love jumping in the exersaucer and splashing in his sink baths. He still hates the car seat.

2.) Ben went on a swing for the first time this week and really enjoyed it! I didn't have access to baby swings when the other three were little so it feels like such a treat to enjoy him enjoying it.

3.) Ben does not enjoy drop off situations. Or being held by other people. Or being away from me ever. SO, VBS in two weeks when I am working it and he is in nursery care for 4 hours at a time will be interesting.



Monday, June 17, 2019

Little Letters- June

I have all four kids down for quiet time at the same time so I have a chance to dust off this old blog. I’m hopelessly behind but here is the long and short of a catch up.

We now have lived in the US for three years.

We added a fourth little bundle, named Ben, back in October. He is 8 months old now.

We are finished up our first year of homeschooling! It’s been a whirlwind and a learning experience, for sure.

We moved into a new house! Our small townhouse became too tight when we added the sixth family member and all of his paraphernalia. Our new house is a single family home with a lot of windows, a big backyard, and space for the kids to play. We are slowly furnishing it and working on landscaping. It’s already been a host for Easter, a birthday party, and our small group! I pray it will be a home that is inviting and welcoming to any people.

And now, to join Callie from Through Clouded Glass....

Little Letters- June

Dear May,
I’m so glad you came! You brought our first new month in a new home, rain showers, sunny walks in the neighborhood, and end of the school year anticipation. Thanks for being a great month!

Dear Trader Joes,
I love you.
That is all

Dear TV Streaming,
I have a love/hate relationship with you. On the one hand, I can watch a show straight through, even if that means starting on an older show and watching eight seasons until you are caught up to the present day (*cough* Blue Bloods *cough*) but on the other hand, it means I am used to having access to a whole story line, instead of waiting for the next installment.

Dear Coffee Maker,
You've been replaced. Just an FYI. The espresso machine I received for Mother's Day takes a little more cleaning and thoughtful prep but it does make a great latte or cappuccino. I will admit, the quantity you produce is much more my style on mornings after Ben has kept us up all night. I hope there is no hard feelings.

Dear Babysitters of the World,
You are awesome. Know that when you show up at my house, ask the kids about things that interest them, and dive into play time while I am still there it makes mommas all over the world feel comfortable with leaving you there with their offspring. Washing the dinner dishes is an added bonus. Hearing how much fun the kids had from them in the morning is a cherry on top! Thank you!

Dear Blogging,
I missed you. I have had so much happen and it feel overwhelming on where and how to get caught up. I can't count how many times I've started a post in hopes to get back in the flow of things and then the baby wakes up or a kid needs help and I have to abandon my efforts. I love writing. For myself, for my kids as a sort of album of our lives, and for relatives, flung far and wide. Thanks for welcoming me back!

Also, at some point I started designing and coding my own blog. I researched and learned so much to do so. Now that information is all gone from my head. It's going to take some time to get this revamped but I will work on it!

Dear Big Camera,
Where are you? we moved and I haven't been able to find you yet. It's a real shame, because Ben's pictures from his first month are on there and haven't been put onto the computer yet. If you could show yourself I would truly appreciate it.

Dear Kids Consignment Stores,
You my life so much easier, I just wanted you to know. I have never tried selling/consigning there as we have so many friends and family we can pass things on to but you are a triedand true source for like new shoes. I went in yesterday just for the purpose of getting Sophia a pair of shoes to play in the backyard in- some that could get muddy and that I wouldn't have to spend upwards of $20 on. I walked out with New and Like New Shoes for all three of the kids that would have cost me nearly $125 if I had bought them new for a fifth of that price! Crazy. You also provided us with a few more clothing pieces that Grace needed (she's so tall and we have no one passing clothes on to us anymore!) and a stack of books that go along with our school year for next year. Thank you!

That's all for Little Letters this month! It was fun to be a bit random.




Monday, December 3, 2018

Baby Galloway #4 Is A.....

We went to find out the baby's gender in May.

The kids guesses were as follows:
Grace- Boy
Sophia- Girl
Luke- Boy

Ian and I didn't know or have a guess, really.

This was the first time that I had a desire on the gender. I really wanted a girl as I was feeling all sentimental about the girls' things- if this wasn't a girl then all of there really sweet clothes and things would need to be cleaned out and passed on to someone else. I would be fine, either way, of course, but I had a preference.


We took all three kids with us into the ultrasound room. The tech seemed a little unsure how to proceed with such a crowded space. She also had a very insistent Luke to contend with (he could not be convinced that there was only one baby in there- he wanted twins!)

In the end, we found out the gender would be.....


A baby boy! We were so excited to finally know and braced ourselves for months (or years?) of people saying things like "Oh, two and two. Guess it's even." Yup. That's true.




Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pregnancy Update- Second Trimester

Trimester Two started off with a bang.

And by bang, I totally mean a roaring case of food poisoning.

I had been craving burgers for many weeks, specifically ones from an unnamed burger joint. Partly because I try not to give in to every craving and partly because the one I repeatedly tried to go to was under renovations, I was never able to fulfill this particular craving.

Ian was out of town and I navigated a doctors appointment with the kids in tow and the rewarded myself with a trip to said burger joint. I even have photographic evidence as I was so excited I ate my burger in the car and sent my mom a picture of it.

Six hours later I would regret that craving (and now, six months later, I still do.) I honestly have never been that kind of sick. It didn’t help that Ian was out of town and couldn’t return for 24 hours, or that neighbors, who are usually my backup, were somehow all out of town also.

I couldn’t even leave our third floor master to care for the kids. I think at some point I called down to grace and asked her to help the others get cereal. I think at some point I had them come up to me to get kisses. I must have gone to their rooms to tuck them in. (Right?!)

 I was so deliriously out of my mind. I can look back now and see that I was probably dangerously dehydrated. I had set a mental timer on when I would take myself into the hospital and I was actually able to keep down fluids before I reached that point.

And that, my friends, is how the second trimester started.


I didn’t lose my morning sickness until closer to 20 weeks.
I did find a new love for vitamin B and Unisom.

I didn't gain any weight (which was not my pattern for the other three.)
I did show earlier than before.

I didn't get a "second trimester burst of energy."
I did have pregnancy insomnia set in.

We did find out the gender of the baby....
We did not decide on a name until nearly 30 weeks pregnant.

The second trimester went out with a bang as well, I guess, as very near the end  I got a stomach virus that made life difficult for several days. I was very ready for baby to come and was thankful when pool season wrapped up shortly after the third trimester started as I was feeling very large!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Deck the Hall

Well, we did it.

We got our tree up and decorated.


And survived.

That's about the extent of it.

What should have been a joyful occasion ended up being an event that we just got through, because, hello.

Four kids, small house, pouring, freezing rain, and the couch.


Did I mention the couch? We have a pretty tight family room with an extra large couch and an extra large love seat. We had made a plan to move the love seat upstairs to our third floor master to make room during the holiday season.

Plans are meant to be broken, right?

Turns out the couch couldn't actually fit through the staircase so we made the split second decision to just get rid of the couch. Except it was pouring out so we couldn't actually take it out of the house. So the couch took up home in another part of the family room (the part where we are supposed to walk in.)
Ben's First Christmas Tree!

The kids were bickering.

The lights weren’t working.

Luke’s head banged into the ceiling when he was lifted up to put the angel on.


And I had forgotten to make a plan for dinner.

*Sigh*

It definitely wasn’t picture perfect.

In the end though, the tree got put up and decorated,
The loose bulb was located and the lights began working,
Pizza was ordered for dinner,
The kids became happy campers,
And music eventually played on in the background.


We did have to make FOUR trips to Target to purchase one more strand of lights, as ours mysteriously didn't cover the whole tree this year. We may have purchased Bright White lights, outside lights, and then finally Warm White lights before figuring out what we actually did need.

It’s likely that the only evidence of it being a stressful, non perfect decorating time will be this post, as the kids have already forgotten and are talking about how much they love decorating time.

I’m glad that they won’t really remember the bad parts, and I’m glad that some years are more colorful than others as it definitely will make this year stand out and make me appreciate more peaceful years in the future.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving!


We spent the day as our first ever "just us" Thanksgiving Day. I was a little apprehensive that we'd feel depressed or isolated but it ended up being a great day.

We got moving early with our day- the kids had cartoons while we downed some coffee, snuggled Ben, and preheated the oven.

We had decided to go the easy route- I had ordered a Thanksgiving meal from Whole Foods and had picked it up the day before, then we chose a few of our favorite side dishes and made those on Thanksgiving morning.

Ian asked for Sweet Potato Casserole
Sophia asked for Corn Casserole,
and Grace asked for our family's special stuffing.

I, being somewhat compliant, didn't ask for anything else to be made. Also, I'm not an idiot, I didn't want to make any more work for myself!

We spent the morning watching the parade and letting the kids help make their side dish (Luke took over as assistant on Ian's casserole.) The kids played with LEGOs, Ben nursed and slept off and on, and Ian kept on top of any dirty dishes that were created.

Sometime after noon we were wrapping it up on our preparations and were able to facetime with both sides of our families. We sat down to eat right around one and had everyone laying down for a nap by two.

Ian and I had arranged tickets earlier in the week to take the whole family to see Wreck It Ralph 2, so that is what we did post nap time. The kids loved it and consumed a ton of popcorn while Ben nursed and slept through the entire thing.

I somehow didn't take a single picture of our family (though I have ones of our table and our food!) and I'm kicking myself for that now. Luckily, I do have one of sweet Ben on his first Thanksgiving.

It was a nice day overall. Good family time, delicious food, and a laid back schedule. You can't ask for much more than that!

I don't ever go out on Black Friday, so I felt very accomplished when, on Black Friday, at approximately 7:30 AM, I saw our postal worker deliver several large packages to our front door.

Christmas shopping, done.

This year, I am especially thankful for Amazon.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Pregnancy Update- the First Trimester

Baby Galloway Number Four is well on the way and we couldn't be more excited!

It's time for a little back story....


This baby was long awaited. I had been having "baby fever," for well over a year but, having been back in the US for just over a year I knew that the timing was not right. Finally, we were feeling more settled and in routine and it was time! You know, time to throw a crying newborn, unscheduled routines, and a complete lack of sleep at a family who finally felt settled!

I began suspecting I was pregnant on Thursday, February 8th, but wanted to wait until after the weekend to test. I couldn't wait any longer and on Sunday, February 11th, I took a test while getting ready for church. It was the faintest double line that I have gotten out of all four pregnancies but I suspected that it was very early on.

I kept waiting for Ian to come upstairs to get ready for church and would tell him then, but, as it turns out, he had already showered, gathered his clothes, and was ironing downstairs. It felt like an eternity so I finally slipped downstairs and aught him alone and told him! He was excited and surprised, but at least he wasn't confused like he was when he found out about baby #3 (Luke!)

The pregnancy symptoms started early but I was determined to keep it from the kids for as long as possible. I was the sickest I've ever been out of all four pregnancies, but this time I had three kids to take care of and a job to be at! It was definitely an interesting 2-3 months.

We told the kids at 10 weeks along. We were about to go on a trip to visit family and I knew that my extreme food aversions and morning sickness would be evident to the grown ups so we told the kids by wrapping three small baby items (a bib, a pacifier, and a diaper rash cream tube,) and told the kids that these were clues about a surprise that would be coming soon.



Grace got the bib and figured it out right away. She was and still is the most excited to have a new baby in the house! I think she's going to make a great big sister to a baby! She was only 3.5 when Luke was born so though she was a "big sister," she is truly going to be a great helper and little mommy to this baby.

Sophia, who had been for weeks saying she doesn't like babies and thought they are smelly and slobbery, got the diaper rash cream which was still in a box. She didn't recognize it (we have been done with diapers for quite awhile here!) and was confused and then slightly horrified at the thought of a baby.

She came around pretty quickly and is excited.

Luke got the pacifier and was just gleeful to be doing something fun. He didn't really understand until I started showing but then he talks to the baby and holds things up to my belly to "show the baby."

We had planned on doing our 10 year anniversary trip to Budapest, Hungary, but, partly due to how badly sick I was, and partly due to outside circumstances, we pushed the trip back to right at the end of the first trimester so that I would hopefully be over the worst of it.

I really wanted to enjoy vacation food!