Friday, January 6, 2017

7 Quick Takes: The New Year

1. Going Public

If you're not friends with me on Facebook, you probably missed our big announcement! I am expecting Baby Lauer #6 in August, and the children are so excited to be getting a new sibling. Discussions of boy versus girl and name choices have commenced among them.

Now you can go back and read all the blog posts for the last six weeks and imagine the descriptive words "and I was exhausted to the bone and wanted to vomit every moment" embedded in everything I wrote. (I know you won't really do that.)

I haven't read aloud stories to the children in at least a month because I can't stay awake, and I'm not bothering to post my meal planning because it involves a whole lot of standing in front of the refrigerator, wondering, and then asking kids, "Do you want a peanut butter sandwich?" I went two weeks without being able to exercise whatsoever, and then, with a goal of walking briskly for an hour, walked for 15 minutes before I stopped and really wished I could take a nap.

First trimesters don't get easier, no matter how many kiddos you already have, that's for sure!

2. New Year's Eve

We enjoyed celebrating New Year's Eve (click here).

3. Pottery

The children got their finished pottery pieces back. Thanks, Grandpa R.!

4. Soft Start

My first intention was to start back to school on January 1 with our revised, rigorous schedule, which includes some major shift-arounds and an entirely new curriculum (First Form Latin), as well as moving piano lessons back into our home and my taking over teaching Music Theory (instead of going to lessons with a teacher for that).

Yeah, so that didn't happen.

Second, after I saw our week filling up, I hoped for a Soft Start to school, with a goal of doing about half our daily work each day.

The reality is that our back-to-school was really more of a stumbling start in which we fell on our faces. The week was simply too crazy!
  • I'm still in the thick of major nonstop "morning" sickness.
  • On Monday, the kids went to lunch with their grandparents before they left town, then Daddy took them to Lazy 5 Ranch for hours so I could take down all the Christmas decorations and tree undisturbed.
  • On Tuesday, I was gone for almost five hours at my prenatal appointment (I drive an hour+ each way to the only provider I consider decent), plus we had piano and violin lessons, plus I made a meal for a postpartum mama.
  • On Wednesday we said goodbye to Grampa Neil, went out to lunch with him before driving him to the airport; plus the housekeepers came for their monthly visit (which always hours of preparation work on my part, which you can imagine was exponentially harder after Christmas and our switching around furniture in three bedrooms).
  • On Thursday, I had my personal trainer appointment (while in my first trimester = ha) and I took five kids to a music lesson and to the dentist.

    My kids take up the entire dental office simultaneously
  • Finally on Friday, we started back at CCE all morning, attended an Epiphany party in the afternoon, and then I collapsed in a heap while Chris attended the evening Epiphany Mass.

So, yeah, this week was the School of Life. NEXT WEEK, we get rigorous. My calendar next week is gloriously empty and lacking in color.

5. Newly Organized Bedrooms

I took photos of the completed-for-now boys' and girls' rooms.


The girls' room in particular would benefit from some organizing solutions because their toys have no place to live now that their bedroom is shared with the sewing room. I'd like to get some under bed storage.

6. Thomas' Sleeping Saga

Thomas' sleeping saga continues. You'd think that by Baby #5, I'd have this figured out, but it's not so.

I finally followed all the advice and sleep trained this baby at 10 months, and then enjoyed six months of being able to nurse him and lay him down awake, when he'd go to sleep totally peacefully by himself. I could step away from homeschooling for all of 10 minutes for the whole process, instead of losing an hour to it: glorious!

Until he learned how to climb out of a crib at 16 months . . . and would proceed to climb to the tops of all the dangerous furniture in the master bedroom.

I bought a sleep sack (babies can't climb in those!) but he just climbed in his sleep sack anyway.

He learned how to open the door knob and would appear downstairs.

Finally, I bought a very expensive, escape-proof crib tent.

It took Thomas 24 hours to learn how to unzip the crib tent.

No, I don't have a room or closet in the house that can be a bare room with a toddler mattress on the floor and a lock on the outside of the door.

No, I can't nurse him to sleep anymore, like I did with the first four babies, because I finally followed The Good Advice and sleep-trained him: he loves nursing, but it is not a sleep association for him at all.

For the entirety of Christmas break, I've been getting by on my husband laying him down for naps (which Thomas will do! just not for me!), but Chris has gone back to work, so we're stumbling around trying to figure this out.

7. Bonus Reading

"How to Stop Whining and Learn to Love Being a Mother" by Mussmann (The Federalist, 5 Jan. 2017)--Believe me, this is advice I need to take, not advice I'm fit to give.  [EDIT: I just have been informed that the author of this article has only two small children, so now I'm wishing I hadn't shared her article because she is in the natural phase of knowing virtually nothing but thinking she knows it all. It is still a worthwhile meditation, and we're having a really fruitful, lengthy discussion about it over on my Facebook threads with mothers of many, many children (including one mama with 17 kids). So, I leave it up, with a caveat to read with a grain of salt.]

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. Congratulations!!! I made my husband read your saga of Thomas and the sleeping. We both giggled. :)

  2. What wonderful news!! I was just wondering if you might be pregnant again. :)

    About Thomas' sleeping--I'll tell you what worked for me when our 2nd started vaulting out of his crib at 17 months. We put the crib away to wait for another baby and set him up in a twin bed. Each night when I put him to bed, I'd sit on the floor just outside of his room reading a book. When he got out of bed, I was there to tell him sternly, "Go back to bed." It took a while, and I got a lot of reading done, but he eventually learned to stay in bed.

  3. Congratulations! Although I do not know you and am just a young lady without a family of my own, I greatly enjoy reading your blog. I will keep your growing family in my prayers-may Our Lady watch over y'all! Greetings from Texas!

  4. Congrats!! Such wonderful news! I'm new to your blog, but looking forward to following along! :)

  5. Congrats on the new baby!!!

    Would Thomas take something like a sippy cup of water to bed? Maybe it would be distracting enough to keep him there? As you know I have the opposite kids. No climbers and not smart enough to realize they can leave their beds or cribs when put in them LOL so the sippy cup was my best idea.

  6. Congratulations, that is the best news! I am local to you and now wondering if we happen to go to the same care provider - it's at least 40 minutes each way for me but having access to such good care is truly a blessing. Glad to hear you have it!

  7. I've not tried to keep a toddler in his own bed since I had only 3 kids. It was always pretty much an exercise in futility. Now I just bunk the graduated toddler with an older sibling. Is that impossible in your case? It works really well for us.

    many congratulations, again. <3 hope you feel better at the 2 tri mark at least.