Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Great Spring Fake-out of 2017

Hi Friends!

Life at the Yousef house has been full of energy and noisy kids in the past few months!  We had some amazing February weather, hitting a high of about 75*.  It was amazing!  We walked the zoo in short-sleeves, played in the yard, rode our bikes, only to wake up with snow on the ground the next morning!  I guess that's just the mid-west's way of saying "Spring Is Here!!! Oh wait....I think another round of winter would be more fun!"  Ha!

We have been busy with our little clan in the past few months, celebrating a few birthdays this winter, and anticipating our biggest birthday of the year in about a week!  I'll leave that celebration for another post!

Jonas has two very wiggly teeth that are the talk of the day.  He is eagerly anticipating when they will finally fall out!  He is continuing to amaze us, as he is learning Piano in the past few months!  My Christmas present this year was a Beautiful electric Casio Piano, and what an amazing gift it has been!  So far, he has learned (by ear) lots of little songs, including "Happy Birthday", "Row, Row, Row your Boat", and "Twinkle, Twinkle, little star".  But what really blew us away is how he picked up on the melody line of some of the more advanced songs that I have been practicing, particularly "Fur Elise" and "the Entertainer".  He definitely has a good ear for music, and we hope to get him into lessons sometime soon to help develop this new-found love!  Steve and I have tried a few times to help him learn to read music, but I think our patience and ability to sit and really help him develop a musical talent are lacking.  Regardless, It's been really fun to watch him learn!

Joelle has begun to show her little mini-mom side so much more!  She adores her little brother, and is constantly nearby him!  Sometimes, I can hardly get him to nurse because she wants to stand right by me.  She is just so sweet with him, though, and we love to watch her care for him and love on him!  She has really taken to putting together Lego sets, and enjoys the tiny detailed pieces.  She has been insisting for the past few months that she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up, and I just love watching her twirl and spin to music!  It's kinda embarrassing to say, but my 4 year old has better dance skills than me!

Jaina is still our little spit-fire of a child.  She has quite a flare of drama in her, and she brings so much laughter to our family!  Her silly faces and sayings just make our day! The most recent obsession is singing "Let It Go" at the top of her lungs whenever she picks up an Elsa doll.  She started singing the song before she ever watched Frozen!  And now she continues, because she knows it will make us all laugh!  She is quite a sweetie, though, and loves to give hugs and kisses.  Bedtime is full of choosing her favorite animal to sleep with, and most days Steve and I just let her sleep with the fifteen quadrillion animals that she wants in her bed with her!  It is so sweet, though, to walk in when she is asleep, and barely being able to see her underneath all of the animals!

Jaiden is our little adventurer who has recently discovered the amazing power of crawling!  He is everywhere now, and is so darn proud of himself!  I hear pretty consistently that he has great lung capacity, and our ears would agree!  But there is only so much that a 9 1/2 month old can understand about the word "no".  Usually when he screams and breaks the sound barrier, we tell him "no" and he giggles and smiles and thinks its a game.  We are eager for him to learn words and begin communicating more effectively with us!  He is quite a little sweetie, though, and loves to give hugs and kisses.  He is eating lots of new foods these days, and the recent favorites are cheese and fruit!  Jaiden has lots of new teeth, and I'm glad that teething seems to be temporarily over!  I can hardly believe that soon he will be a year old already!

Steve and I have been doing really well and are so thankful for a mild winter (even though the kids would disagree!).  Steve has started a few projects around the house, one of the bigger ones that we are really excited for is the water softener that he is going to add to our garage!  He is doing an excellent job, and we will be so glad when it is complete!  Hopefully we will also be able to add a fence to our summer projects!  It's so fun to have a home that we can work on together and projects that we can plan and organize and see from start to finish.  This summer will be the 3 yr mark of living in our home, and it is starting to finally feel like home!  I have worked on a few painting projects for the kids, and some photo projects for our home.  It's fun to start getting the kids rooms decorated!  My next project that I will hopefully be able to do sometime in the next year or so is the kid's bathroom!  It's completely a blank canvas, so I'm excited to get to put some paint on the walls and maybe some other fun things too!

Here are some updated pictures of the kids.  Life has been busy with 4 (as you can imagine!) and I am not able to post as often as I was before, but I will continue to try to keep you all updated on our little family!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Jaiden Elijah

It's been a long time since I've posted last, and with good reason!  Our family has grown again - which most of you may know already!  But with that new addition comes lots and lots of things to do, and honestly, updating our family blog hasn't been a priority (obviously!).  But now that I'm into a good groove with things, I feel like it's time to fill you in on the past year of our lives!

Well, last year when I last posted, we had Jonas at 4 1/2, Joelle had just turned 3, and Jaina had turned 1, and we had just announced our 4th pregnancy!

Our most exciting news of the past year is the arrival of our second son (and 4th baby!) Jaiden Elijah.  He was born on June 12, 2016 at 3:29 am.  He weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces and was 20 inches long.  He was the most beautiful, adorable, quiet little baby!  He quickly found his lungs, and hasn't been quiet since!

 He stole our hearts in an instant, and we haven't been the same since!  Our sweet little guy is nearing 7 months already, and I can hardly believe how fast time has gone by.

His First month was full of lots of sleeping, cuddling, and eating.  His big sisters were constantly by his side during the few hours a day he was awake, and Big brother continued to wonder when he would be big enough to play with him!

Month 2 was more challenging, as we began to find out that Jaiden had a pretty severe case of reflux.  After weeks of trying to figure things out, we finally were able to find some relief for him, with some dietary restrictions on me and some medication for Jaiden.  

Month 3 was much more enjoyable!  By the time we had everything figured out in my diet and Jaiden on some reflux meds, he began to show his true personality - calm, and pretty chill for the most part!  

Month 4 was full of baby giggles, smiles, and lots of fun, as Jaiden began rolling over and engaging more with his Brother and Sisters (and us, too!).  He learned to grasp a toy, and chew on his hands, and the ever-present pacifier because a need-to-survive part of our day.

Month 5, we noticed Jaiden beginning to learn to blow raspberries, starting to hold on to his toys more often, and the exciting world of Baby food was introduced to him!  Let's just say that food is definitely a favorite thing of his!

Month 6 has become a bit more challenging again, as Jaiden is teething pretty badly right now, but it seems to only be in spurts, and he is really a champ through it all.  It's more of me that's having a hard time with it!  I've been wearing Jaiden around in the baby carrier much more this month, because he seems to just want to be held - probably from the teething pain.  Poor little guy!  I hate to see him in pain!  But those little teeth are so close to popping through, so the light is at the end of the tunnel!

 In Non-Jaiden news, we had a few milestone birthdays recently!

Jonas turned 5 in August!  We celebrated with a few of his close friends and their family, at a Star Wars Themed Birthday!  He was even old enough this year to get to watch (some of) the Star Wars movies!  Since then, our days include many lightsaber battles and Darth Vader references!  Jonas really wanted to go to school this past year, but we decided to keep him home one more year, to help him be better prepared.  I was a little unsure of this decision at first, but now, I am so glad we are waiting an extra year!  It's been crazy having all 4 kids at home every day, but it's been a blessing to have extra time with Jonas before he heads off to school in the fall.  He is growing up much too fast, and is maturing, and changing before our eyes!

Joelle will celebrate her 4th birthday next week!  She is such a sweet little girl, and has so much love and patience for Jaiden.  She has a kiss for him nearly every time that she walks into the room.  To say that she adores her little brother is definitely an understatement!  She and Jaina have enjoyed playing together, too, and Joelle and Jonas still have a close brother/sister bond.  Joelle has discovered her artsy side, and for the mos part, she is a care-free, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kinda girl.  She loves anything princess, or fairies, or ballerinas - basically all of your classic girly things.  She would live in "pretty dresses" if I let her!  But she HATES to have her hair done.  Once in a while, I can convince her to let me braid her hair.  

Jaina celebrated her 2nd birthday just two days after Christmas!  She is our tough little spit-fire of a child.  In the past year, we have confirmed her Egg and Dairy allergy, completely eliminated both from her diet, and seen great improvements in her overall demeanor.  She is speaking much more clearly, and is learning to express herself more too!  He favorite thing to do, though, is to follow Joelle around and mimic and copy everything she does and says.  So far, Joelle doesn't mind!  Growing up with 3 sisters of my own, I know that the day will come when Joelle isn't so thrilled with her little sister following her around or doing what she does, or wearing what she wears!  So, for now, I'll enjoy the cute little matching outfits and hair bows, and see how long it lasts!  

Jaina has been stubborn lately when I pull my camera out to take pictures, so the only nice pics of her that I have are cell phone shots! Silly girl :)

Steve and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last May, and we are nearing our 8th this year!  Being so far into my pregnancy around our anniversary, we decided to not take a trip this year.  It was a fun evening in watching a movie.  It's been too long for me to remember what movie though!  

Steve just started a new job this past week at a company called MISO.  I'm going to butcher the explanation of what his company does, but i'll try anyways.  MISO is a not-profit that works to manage the electric grid.  Last year, Steve worked as a contractor at MISO, and at the beginning of the year, he hired in as a full time employee.  He is a Software Developer, otherwise called a Programmer.  If you are not familiar with either of those terms, he writes code that operates Computer Programs.  Lots of stuff that I like to think that I understand, but I most definitely don't!  So far, it's been a smooth transition for him, and we are excited to see his career develop at MISO!

We were in a pretty scary car accident in April, and Praise the Lord for his provision and the safety that He provided!  All 6 of us were in the van when a truck hit the side of our vehicle while we were in a round-a-bout.  The exact place that was impacted was the ONLY spot that a person was not currently sitting.  A foot forward, and he would have hit the door where I was sitting (and was nearly 8 months pregnant with Jaiden), and a foot backward and he would have hit the back where Jonas was sitting.  Just like always, we were in the Lord's hands, and He protected our family.  
Steve grew a pretty awesome (read:  scratchy and icky) beard this past No-Shave-November!  Let's just say that I like him more clean-shaven!  It wasn't too bad, but it definitely sent me back to my days of my Dad growing a beard and mustache!  

In 2017, I will be taking a break from Facebook, but I would love for you to follow our blog (here) or my Instagram (here).  

It's been an exciting year, and we have enjoyed it thoroughly!  We are excited to see the changes that 2017 will bring!