Goals, Monthly Recap

Life After the NICU {+April, May, June 2023 Goals}

I started typing up this blog post around the 26th of April, and I literally had NO IDEA of how much things were going to deviate from what we thought was going to happen. My originally title for this post was “May 2023: The Month Where We Become a Family of Six,” but we’d already reached that particular milestone by April 28th with the unexpected (and very early arrival) of our fourth and final baby, Naomi. We definitely didn’t plan on the baby coming six weeks before her due date, and her down syndrome diagnosis was a surprise as well. As you’ll see from my original May goals, I clearly hadn’t planned on spending almost the entirety of the month in the NICU.

I wondered if I’d end up finishing this post at all, but I like having these monthly recap and goal posts to look back on from year to year, so I figured I’d go ahead with it. I changed very little from what I originally wrote in the last week of April, which is why May’s goals might seem a little strange considering that I spent that whole month basically in the NICU, which is about an hour and a half away from our house. Thankfully we had a TON of help from family, friends, and neighbors, which is why a surprising number of the May goals actually got completed.

Backtracking to the beginning of April though, most of the month went as planned — we were starting our flower farming season, we celebrated Raven’s birthday and Hyrum finally being potty trained by going to the aquarium together as a family (SUCH a fun day!) and joining grandparents later at Pizza Pie Cafe (the kids’ favorite), and I successfully threw Raven her first (and perhaps only) friend birthday party, which turned out really well, actually. I definitely seemed to be in nesting mode too, because I seemed to be flying through a lot of the nagging tasks on my to-do list. We also had a really nice Easter weekend together as a family, even if parts of it were a bit stressful due to a potty training incident while on the long drive to our hometown to see our families. Thank goodness Hyrum is basically beyond all that now!

Then on the 27th, the day before my 34-week prenatal appointment, my water broke early in the morning around 3:30 a.m., and Matt and I rushed to the hospital. And the rest, as they say, is history (which you can read about once I get Naomi’s birth story all typed up…eventually).

Here’s how the actual goals shook out for that month:

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April Goals

  • Go through newborn clothes + wash what we’re keeping
    • It was actually kind of fascinating to do this, just because I hadn’t looked through our newborn baby girl clothes since Raven (our oldest) was a baby, which meant that it’s been just about 8 years. Going through the clothes, I was surprised at some of the ones I’d kept (especially several that I’d kept with spit up stains on them that weren’t going to come out), and I was also surprised that I’d kept around 20 pairs of newborn shoes…when I don’t think we’d put Raven in shoes that young even once. After decluttering the majority of all that, I was down to a much more manageable number of things, and I discovered that we actually could use a few more packs of basic newborn onesies and pajamas once I’d gotten rid of the stained ones. Of course, with the arrival of the baby already, we’ve ended up receiving some really cute new newborn clothes, so now we’re totally covered on that front again.
  • Pick up bassinet
    • We borrowed a nice bassinet from our friends rather than go with the usual Pack and Play option we’ve used with the other kids up until they’re about six months old.
  • Order and engrave Raven’s scriptures
    • I picked these up for Raven’s baptism coming up, where it’s often traditional to gift a set of scriptures.
  • Throw friend party for Raven’s birthday
    • As mentioned above, this ended up turning out really well, and even though I will never be the type of mom to throw regular friend parties for my kids, it’s nice to at least have one under my belt now so that the idea of doing one again is significantly less intimidating.
  • Take baptism portraits of Raven
    • We did this on Easter Sunday, and they turned out SO CUTE.
  • Get a haircut
    • Okay, so this didn’t happen until May, but I’m crossing it off here anyway.
  • Give boys and Matt haircuts
    • This marked the first (and perhaps only) time I’ve done this before the grown out hair situation got super bad on any one of them. Progress.
  • Give Raven a haircut
    • Nope, I kept putting this off because I wanted to take her baptismal portraits with long hair, and then life got insane.
  • Get bookshelves for kids’ room
    • Still no, and it’s pretty low on the priority list at the moment.
  • Buy and install new dishwasher
    • THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER TO DO THIS BEFORE THE BABY GOT HERE. Just saying. (It literally would have been enough to push my sanity over the edge if we hadn’t gotten this taken care of right before.)
  • Finish prepping garden beds for planting
    • Um…we kinda had this done by the end of April, but we for sure have it done now.
  • Tear down old raised beds
    • We tore down the raised beds to prep for our new perennial area, but we’ve done nothing about spreading around the dirt from those or taking care of the chaotic weed situation. I’m thinking this probably won’t happen until fall, or until next year.
  • Plant lily bulbs and roses
    • Since this was a time-sensitive matter, we dropped everything else to get these in ASAP once the packages were shipped to us.
  • Transplant out all hardy annuals
    • I was able to transplant out the majority of these before the baby came, and then we were blessed to have lots of generous friends and neighbors who came over and finished the rest when I was away in the NICU.
  • Buy + plant apricot tree and flowering shrubs
    • We made a trip to a local nursery, but they still hadn’t received most of their trees yet and we didn’t have a chance to make a second trip later on. This will likely be pushed to next year.
  • Make a trip to the donation center
    • Still getting rid of scads of stuff over here.
  • Finish three books

In addition to all the graduation and end of school fun you expect in May, I’d also expected it to be “month of last-minute prep for baby.” All in all, May basically ended up being “the month when I spent nearly all my time at the NICU.”

I plan to eventually do a series of separate posts all about our nearly six-week stay in the NICU, so I won’t say too much more about it here. I’ll just say that my general schedule ended up being that I came home on Sundays for church and time with the rest of the family, then I would stay home through until Monday and make up bouquets for our flower farm’s subscription members. I would then head back to the NICU until Thursday night or Friday, when Matt would usually take the day off of work and either switch me places (and I would come back home to be with the other kids), or we would both stay up there together or do something more as a whole family, depending on what our parents were able to do that day to help us out. We were so thankful to have our parents in a position where they could offer us so much help and stay with our older kids during the week.

Thankfully I was able to make most of the big May things, like Mathias’s preschool graduation and Raven’s end-of-school May Day program. I was even able to make a few of Raven’s softball games in the evenings. Things in general got a lot easier logistics-wise once the kids were out of school, and they even spent a whole week up north at their grandparents’ houses (rather than the grandparents coming here to our house), which was super fun for them. May was hard in a lot of ways, but it was actually really wonderful in a lot of ways, too. We felt completely wrapped up in support and love from so many, and our three older kids got to spend so much time with their grandparents creating special memories and strengthening those relationships, which was such a blessing. I felt like our kids really grew up a lot during that month.

Matt and I also celebrated our 12th anniversary by going out to eat at our favorite restaurant (Leatherby’s, where Matt actually proposed to me) and then getting to spend some rare time together at the NICU (rather than just one of us getting to be there due to the other needing to be with our older kids). It wasn’t how we planned to celebrate the day, but it was unforgettable and beautiful nonetheless. Basically May brought into sharp focus just how blessed we really are on so many levels, and how thankful I am for Matt and for our little family.

Here were the original goals for the month:

May Goals

  • Order new car seat for baby + install
    • Our in-laws bought us the new car seat we needed as a new baby gift, and Matt installed it right before we brought Naomi home (so technically in June, but whatever). Now we just need a second base so we can have her in either car.
  • Set up bassinet and baby changing station/clothing in our room
    • Done and done.
  • Celebrate our 12th anniversary
    • Low key (as mentioned above), but still a great day.
  • Celebrate Raven’s baptism
    • We actually had to push this until June since her original baptism day was right after the baby came, and we just wouldn’t have been able to swing it then.
  • Cut Raven’s hair
    • Nope, still need to do this.
  • Clear out boxes and bins from our bedroom
    • Cleared some, added others. So…still a bit of a mess 🙂
  • Paint and hang new laundry doors
    • My mom was nice enough to paint the doors for us during one of the weeks when she was here watching the older kids. Matt just needs to hang them up now.
  • Transplant out tender annuals
    • This got done thanks to amazing friends who came and basically kept our flower farm going during May so that we would have flowers the rest of the season.
  • Buy + plant apricot tree and flowering shrubs
    • Nope. As mentioned above, this is probably going to be pushed off until 2024.
  • Plant dahlias
    • We planted some in the high tunnel, but we still had about 30 more that needed planting after, which we rolled over as a June task.
  • Publish Summer 2023 Reading List
    • Nope, this was pushed to June.
  • Finish three books
    • HA, nope!

And now we’re finally caught up until now, basically! I’ll say more about what we’ve been up to in June when I do the goals recap post in a couple weeks, but this month is basically all about adjusting to life as a family of six and trying to get into a good summer routine. We have to stay pretty close to home since we’re not supposed to bring the baby out at all for the next three months (and have to keep the other kids here too since we can’t risk them bringing sickness home from a friend’s house, especially since the baby might need heart surgery in the fall). Since we spend most of our time together at home anyway, this isn’t a huge deal, and it’s just making us look for more ways to have fun around here or outside.

Here is my goal list for this month:

June Goals

  • Bring Naomi home!
  • Order second base for car seat + install
  • Celebrate Raven’s baptism
  • Celebrate Mathias’s 5th birthday
  • Cut Raven’s hair
  • Cut Matt’s and the boys’ hair
  • Sign the kids up for swimming lessons
  • Plant the rest of the dahlias
  • Install laundry doors
  • Publish Summer 2023 Reading List
  • Publish blog post on Naomi’s birth story
  • Finish three books

Yep, that sounds about as crazy as it was! How’s your summer been going?

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