We've had a great week back to reality. It was hard to let Jeff get back to work on Wednesday, but honestly, I was counting my blessings that he got as much time off as he did, so no complaints here! He was more than a Super Dad while he was home. He was running errands, doing dishes, laundry, floors, reading books, taking the kids on outings, and still squeezing in some basement time while allowing me to rest as much as possible. He prepared me pretty well to handle the three on my own. Plus, I've still had a lot of help from my fantastic moms, and even have my niece here staying for a few days, which has been GREAT!
I feel like this transition to three children has been smooth so far. Alice is an absolute angel. Even after rocking her several times a night, every night, I still adore her every move. I love watching her eyes roll back in her head as she goes to sleep. Or the subtle smiles she gives as she's waking up. Or, my favorite, her satisfied expression as she comes up after nursing with milk dripping from her lips. Irresistible. I really should catch that one on camera sometime.
I forgot last week to write much about her name, and have had a lot of questions as to what her middle name is. It took us a while to decide, as we wanted it to have some kind of tie to Thailand. Thanks to all our Thai friends (and cousins Rikker and Kao) for all of your suggestions. Although it wasn't the most astrologically correct name, we decided on Malee for a middle name. It means "Jasmine" in Thai, which we thought was nice and not too unusual for an American girl. With all these unique names people are coming up with nowdays, we probably could have chosen anything and it wouldn't have stood out amongst her peers! So, our little Alice Malee finally has her middle name!
We'd known that our baby was going to be "Alice" for a while now, but we didn't want to say it until she was born, for some reason. I've always liked the name, especially knowing it's my great-grandmother's name. It wasn't until we knew our friend, Alice, in Bangkok, that I really felt like I wanted that name for one of our children. I admired Alice from the first time I met her and anyone who knows her will tell you she's amazing. I've met few people who are as humble, generous, and loving as she is. If my Alice turns out to be anything like this Alice, she'll be a much better person than I'll ever be. I think everyone could use an Alice in their life! And, since I'll probably never live in the same state (or maybe country) as big Alice (she's probably five feet tall, really) I needed to create one to remind me of all I've learned from her. So, there's the story on our little Alice's name. Any questions?
I took the kids to my Grandparent's house this week so they could meet Alice. It's Grandpa Ottley's mother whose name is Alice, and I think he liked that. I wish I could have known my great grandmother, but I'm sure she must have been amazing to raise such an incredible son. My goodness, I love these people.
We celebrated my nephew BJ's fourth birthday this weekend. He's the first of the "triplets" to turn four. John (left) will turn four in July, and Jane in September. These three will be fun to watch grow up together so close in age. Who would have known there could be such dramatics from this smiling bunch though? So much fun, in not enough time!
Jack and Clark are just nine months apart and I love watching them together! They were doing incredibly in their first three-legged race, galloping down the yard in perfect unison. The following races were a little less successful, but they never lost their grins. Cousins are so great.
Meanwhile, the babes, Alice and Drew, were snoozing away. It's amazing how much they can grow in only three months! I don't expect Alice to be anywhere near this 18-pounder in only three months. He's a chunk, and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. He's also one of the best natured babies I've ever known. So sweet.
Drew even woke up while we were all gawking at them and just smiled as his mom started talking to him. Seeing these two together is getting me excited to add one more (from Joanna) in August. This will be our second set of "triplets", all just three months apart.
Jack wanted to make sure he got one with Alice as well. He is such a sweet brother.
Jane loves her Papa and who can blame her? My dad's incredible.
Something funny happens when you welcome a new baby into the family. The other kids suddenly seem HUGE. Has anyone else noticed this? Jane and Alice were laying together while I sang Jane her bedtime songs (which, I might add, have been the exact same two songs for at least six months), and I noticed their hands. When did Jane get to be gigantic? She used to be my baby!
I loved this picture of Jack with Alice smiling in her sleep. Jack loves to hold her, and Alice never hesitates before cuddling right into him. For all those who like to tease me that every picture of Jack is in his underpants... yes, you're right. Here he is again!
We discovered this week that Alice doesn't need to be tightly swaddled in order to sleep well. This is new to us, as Jane couldn't sleep a wink unless swaddled so tight that she couldn't move her arms. We did this until she was nine months old when she finally could sleep without it.
It's fun to see her sweet body while she's sleeping. Especially to see that she loves to sleep with her arms up over her head, just like Jack used to do. Another photo I need to get.
I said before that my niece, Abbie, is here for a few days. My sister, Joanna, let me borrow her, and she's been so fun to have around. She and Jack kept each other busy for hours and hours today as they created "research kits" together. We found an old box and they designed their laptops, blackberries, clipboards, and research journals all in their own styles. Abbie was especially thorough and made a table of contents in her journal, as well as making her laptop look as close to her dad's as possible. They even looked up Octopuses on the real computer (probably Jack's 10th time on that subject) and recorded some of their favorite facts. Did I say cousins are great?
Thank you for all the well-wishes from the last post! We feel so blessed to have so many people rooting for us as we start this new chapter for our family. Please keep in touch, all of you, and let us know if you've started your own blogs! We try to keep up with everyone's that we're aware of. We love to read about all the fun things you're up to, and find it inspiring to be surrounded by such exceptional people, all of you.
Lots of love from the Hillmans.