Isaac’s Baptism

We just celebrated Isaac’s first anniversary of his baptism. And I realize I never blogged about the occasion. Probably because I was just trying to survive and there was the fact that he literally cried through his entire baptism (not exaggerating)!

Isaac’s poor newborn days were not happy ones. He was really always grumpy and crying, but these days he’s all smiles…mostly :)

Isaac arrived at his baptism sleeping, but when he woke up we all knew it and he wasn’t happy about it!

isaac_baptism_collage

Crying baby before, during and after the baptism

I love baptisms, but this one did me in. He was little over a month old, so I was just still exhausted and all the crying didn’t help. We got through it though and somehow managed to get a handful of photos.

We came back home to a small, simple celebration in honor of the event.

isaac_baptism_party

Finally a calm baby!

Finally a calm baby!

And a year later, we have a happy Isaac…quite the contrast!

Isaac posing with his Bible and crucifix.

Isaac posing with his Bible and crucifix.

My how you have grown in just a year, Isaac! You’ve brought us all great joy and much sanctification :) Love you!

The Death of a Just Man and the Death of a Sinner

While reading the Baltimore Catechism I came across this amazing painting depicting “The Death of a Just Man and the Death of a Sinner”.  Below is the painting with the wonderful explanation between the two deaths that each one of us will face. Will your death be like the just man or that of a sinner?

Death of a Just Man and Death of a Sinner

Death of a Just Man and Death of a Sinner

This picture shows the death of a just man and the death of a sinner. On the top is the just man on his bed of agony, resigned and receiving the last consolations of religion. His guardian angel watches over him and encourages him. His relatives are praying for him. Jesus Christ and the Holy Virgin watch him from heaven and extend their arms towards him. The demon, full of rage and shame, flees to hell.

At the bottom, the dying sinner refuses the priest with contempt. His guardian angel covers his face and departs in sorrow. Before leaving, the priest show shim the crucifix one more time. His relatives are full of dismay and dread. Jesus Christ appears to him and shows him the Cross on which He died to save him and before which He will judge him. The demons surround his bed and wait for the moment when he will breathe his last breath so that they can take possession of his soul.  – The Baltimore Catechism

-Michael

+JMJ+

Splish, Splash for Isaac’s 1st Birthday Bash

Last weekend we celebrated Isaac’s 1st birthday. I had the hardest time thinking of a theme, I blame it on my sleep-deprived brain, but Aunt Kim came through with the splish, splash idea which is perfect because Isaac loves things all water – bath, pool, water table, or water bottles…he’s in and splashing :)

It was quite the intimate affair as many of our usual guests were out-of-town on vacation or have moved away :( But it was a fun time none-the-less! I debated and toiled over what to serve for lunch, but we decided on the easy route and went with ordering in some pizza.

Here are the birthday party details:

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splishsplash_bday_table

For all the boys’ parties, I make the banners, birthday signs and cupcake toppers. I found the pinwheels, paper plates, and napkins at Dollar Tree. The streamers for the backdrop were from Wal-Mart. I’ve never done a backdrop before but I thought it would be a fun and different look to go with the water theme. It only took about 20 minutes to make. I was able to decorate for under $10 as I’ve collected the rest of the items over time from previous parties.

isaac_1st_bday_family

Just like his older brothers, Isaac participated in the traditional Korean Dol ceremony. In Korea, the first birthday is a big deal; the parties there look like a wedding reception. The tradition is to lay out items in front of the birthday child as he or she wears the traditional Korean outfit. The items: string for a long life; money for wealth; pencil for wisdom are the traditional items. We added a computer mouse for a career in technology and a Bible for a vocation to the priesthood.

isaac_1st_bday_dol

Isaac picked the mouse first and then went for the pencil…so a very smart techie in the future, just like mommy and daddy :)

Michael wrote a sweet little tribute and prayer to Isaac. A tradition we plan to start for each boy on their special day.

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A Consecration to the Infant Jesus on Isaac’s First Birthday

Today Linda asked for me to do a special blessing for Isaac since all our family and friends are here and it was a special occasion so thinking a good idea, I figured to go a little farther and do a full consecration–not an exorcism–but a consecration for Isaac and to whom better than The Infant Jesus.

Dear Isaac,

This past year, you have accomplished much, mainly in the aspects of survival. I not only offer this special consecration for you, we also pray for your guardian angel, whom has worked tirelessly to protect you, or sometimes we are left to wonder, did he protect you? Whether it has been from the numerous tumbles down flights of stairs; or taking not one, but two, shots to the face with the indoor hockey puck (one of those shots which I scored from) to the endless rough attacks by wild animals, that is, animals your bigger brothers pretend to be; such as cheetahs, bears, snakes and hunters. Of course we can’t forget when a dart war breaks out, you always seem to be a target–such as war, innocents always get shot. You have survived and enjoyed the wild life of none other than Sin City, Las Vegas; probably enjoyed a little too much come to think of it. So I would like to now have your brothers recite the Guardian Angel prayer for you now in thanksgiving to your angel for your survival.

Let not your cuteness fool anyone; you have been quite a challenge, dare I say even earning the nick name “Damian and Diablo” a few times.  You sleep in a closet, albeit, cozy, it’s a closet none-the-less. So now, let us take this special moment to offer your consecration to the Infant Jesus for all His blessings to come upon you for this next year and the years to come.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. – Amen.

Sweetest Jesus, under the protection of the Immaculate Virgin, Thy Mother, and of Saint Joseph, today we offer Isaac and is Guardian Angel at Thy Feet and to Thee, Jesus, Who in Thy Nativity are given entirely to us. We consecrate Isaac’ heart, his soul and his whole self in order to love Thee and serve Thee with all his strength.

Our Divine Savior, inspire the hearts of everyone here today an ardent love of Thy adorable Infancy. O Holy Child Jesus, grant that all may know the omnipotence of Thy littleness and humility. Instill Thy simplicity and innocence in our hearts, especially Isaac. Watch over Isaac and continue to protect him and continue to strengthen his Guardian Angel.

O Divine Infant King, have mercy on us and grant us our petitions. Amen.

Isaac,  while sometimes—ok—a  lot of times, I have cursed thy name for that troublesome attitude of yours, know deep down, I don’t mean any of it, because your cuteness always prevails.  As they would say in Ancient Rome—Ego amo te.  I love you.

And then there were gifts! The brothers loved “helping” you open them and by this I mean, they did open all your gifts and showcase to the guests all that you received. Noah made sure I read your cards aloud as well. Your favorite gifts were clothes and a toy truck you had to fight Levi for.

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And then the moment all your brothers had been anxiously waiting for…cupcakes!!! I really thought you were going to love cake, but you weren’t too impressed. But ice cream on the other hand, you do enjoy!

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Happy 1st birthday to my sweet, non-sleeping, bundle of energy that is you, Isaac! We love you!

isaac_first_year_collage

And That’s a Wrap….Homeschool 2014-2015

We survived! I wish I had a wealth of tips and resources on homeschooling with a newborn or just homeschooling with 4 kiddos 6 and under. I don’t. I’m still learning and will probably always be learning. That’s a benefit to homeschooling – all the learning, the flexibility, and readjusting. For me, it can also be a curse. I like following the curriculum to a tee and completing all the beautiful worksheets (this is the brick-and-mortar schooling engrained in me). I’m learning that boys ages 6, 5 and 3 aren’t always all that excited about worksheet after worksheet. I’m learning it’s not all about the worksheets, it’s about understanding the subjects, asking great questions; it’s about enjoying to learn, all the while being grateful that we get to do this together. I don’t want to look back several years into this and realize I did this all wrong and I didn’t foster a love for learning.

This was only my second official year of homeschooling and it was tough with a newborn in the mix. It always felt like he needed me the most when I needed to be homeschooling. I’m not that super mom who can nurse a baby all the while teaching a lesson on the whiteboard. Looking back, I realize I needed to take those moments, move to the couch and do some read-alouds, but I was so hell-bent on getting those worksheets done…ridiculous! Granted, we didn’t get as far as I hoped in the curriculum, but we accomplished most of it.

Throughout this whole journey, I’ve doubted and still doubt how I’m supposed to do this homeschooling gig. I’ve told the Lord, “How do you expect me to teach my children how to read?!?” Well I’m happy to report that Noah is starting to read! And I couldn’t even believe it! So I must be doing something right!

homeschool_noah_sentence_2014-15

Noah struggled with doing his worksheets this school year. Almost everyday felt like a big battle that would drain me of what little energy I had. I’ve learned that I need to mix in activities, that’s what he craves and enjoys. He doesn’t like handwriting or phonics worksheets, even though he can do them quiet well. He loves math, science and history. He can add up money like a true accountant!

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Eli loves handwriting and phonics; he doesn’t mind the worksheets too much. His ears are so attuned to sounds that he’s really good with letter sounds and picking up other languages. Math was a little tough for him this year, so we’ll be repeating some of that this upcoming school year.

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Levi just wants to be involved. He wants to do whatever his brothers are doing. He enjoys worksheets and dominates at pentomino puzzles.

homeschool_levi_2014-15

All the boys love Catechism and read-alouds. Michael will read them stories and they’re all practically in his lap in anticipation listening to the story. One of our favorite series is the Little House on the Prairie.

homeschool_readaloud_2014-15

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Our May crowning. They remind me of the children of Fatima :)

Overall it was an accomplished school year! I mean Noah can read after all!!!! And I survived with a newborn in the mix and on very little sleep…miracles do happen!

Did we complete every lesson and worksheet? No. But the boys learned about loving a new baby brother, enjoying lots of frog, lizard and snake catching, and growing a love for great literature. All-in-all not a bad school year!

homeschool_animals_2014-15

The boys did pick up a love for cooking and being in the kitchen. I sure hope this sticks! I’m already dreaming about weeks when they’re older and each boy can be in charge of dinner one day a week. At this rate, with 4 boys, that means I’ll only have 3 days of cooking dinner to be in charge of…glorious!

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And sometimes small babes got banished to the exersaucer where they had to cry themselves to sleep :/

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And sometimes we just needed a day at the park. And that's Noah in the green shirt at the top of the pyramid...stop my heart!

And sometimes we just needed a day at the park. And that’s Noah in the green shirt at the top of the pyramid…stop my heart!

This next school year, I’m hoping to…

  • Implement more activities to enforce what’s being learned in the worksheets.
  • Have a better schedule in place for them to learn piano and Latin (I wasn’t very good at keeping them on a schedule with this, so it ended up being pretty haphazard).
  • Allow more time for arts and crafts.
  • Read, read and read. I found some great classics in the Target Dollar Spot bins yesterday.
  • Organize. Organize. Organize.

Our schoolroom is still in need of some major help! I’m just trying to figure out what will work best. I want it to be functional, yet still look nice as it is the first room you see when you walk through the front door. I also want versatility, as it won’t be a schoolroom forever.

Below is the current state of the schoolroom. Before I had two lower shelves in place of the tall ones and just wasn’t enough storage. So I moved these tall ones in there, but it really overwhelms the space and just looks messy. To keep the shelves looking neat and pretty was making for wasted space.

homeschool_room_2014-15

As of now we’re thinking to place base cabinets with doors along the wall where the bookshelves are currently. That way there will be lots of storage and the clutter will be behind closed doors. Maybe then add some floating shelves above that at some point. A trip to Ikea is in our near future!

Happy 1st Birthday, Isaac!

Dear Isaac,

You’re 1 today! How did that happen?!? I ask this question for each of my babies. It’s gone by so fast, yet at the same time it seems forever ago that I was at the hospital delivering you. Life is crazy like that.

I remember how crazy anxious I was during your pregnancy, especially as I got closer to delivery. And God in all His greatness, blessed me abundantly. I had a wonderful labor nurse, my favorite anesthesiologist, and we’ve had no problems nursing. Plus, the Lord gave me a cute bundle of energy that is you!

I mean seriously, just last year…I was very pregnant and uncomfortable!

Baby #4 Baby Bump

Baby bump Isaac!

And now here we are a year later!

isaac_12mths_family

Eli asked this morning, “Isaac is one! Can he say words now?!? Can he walk?!?”

I replied, “No, not yet. He’s still learning.”

Eli replied, “Well then he’s not one yet.” :)

You’ve definitely been a challenging baby mainly due to your lack of sleeping at night. Although to your credit, the past few nights you’ve done much better. I think the sleep training I implemented helped a lot. But it’s been over a year without a solid good night’s sleep, and that hurts…physically and mentally. We’re getting there though! You also have this thing for biting my shoulders and legs and pinching my arms…love bites, perhaps!

isaac_with_momma

You hate bedtime! Daddy will start to sing your lullaby and you instantly grab hold of my neck real tight and start to whimper and then cry.

Even with the challenges, the joy and love you bring to our family is overflowing. Your brothers adore you and you love playing with them.

There's definitely no lack of love from your brothers :)

There’s definitely no lack of love from your brothers :)

You laugh with them and at their antics; you’re just one of the brothers. You have the biggest smile ever and my heart melts every time that you see me and you quickly crawl into my arms.You’re curious about everything around you. I’ve loved every moment of watching you discover the world around you this first year. You’ve taken in so much. You’re so playful and content to play on your own. And there’s nothing you won’t climb on or under. Still no first words, just lots of babbling and grunts. You do say “baba” a lot and every once in a while I hear a “dada”.

Climbing is what you love to do! You let nothing get in your way. You moved that chair from across the room and proceeded to climb on it to check out the counter. You were pretty proud of yourself!

Climbing is what you love to do! You let nothing get in your way. You moved that chair from across the room and proceeded to climb on it to check out the counter. You were pretty proud of yourself! Maybe you needed a snack!

We love you, Isaac! We survived the first year! Your cuteness and sweet smile has made it all worth it and we’d do it all over in a second.

Happy 1st Birthday, Isaac! We love you!

Happy 1st Birthday, Isaac! We love you!

Milestones:

  • Weight: 20 lbs, 13.5 oz
  • Height: 29.5″
  • Climbing down the stairs. You figured out how to scale down the stairs a couple weeks ago and it’s pretty darn cute!

    Scaling down the stairs! One of your favorite past-times.

    Scaling down the stairs! One of your favorite past-times.

  • Walking a couple steps.

Likes:

  • Climbing up and down stairs. You’d probably do this over and over again if I let you! You especially love scaling down the stairs to the playroom. I think it’s your favorite room in the house. You love playing down there.
  • Water! You still love bath time and the water table outside.

    Splish, splash fun!

    Splish, splash fun!

  • Sitting on the hardwood floor and using your legs to scoot all over the place…it’s the cutest little maneuver ever!
  • Emptying the bag of recycled paper.
  • Clearing off tables. No table is safe around here! You’ll stretch as tall as you can to reach every item on a table just to knock it down.
  • You still love to eat. You have a healthy appetite :)
  • Cleaning. You love to wipe down the floors and tables. Hope that sticks :)
  • Giving high-fives!

Dislikes:

  • Grass! You don’t like sitting or standing on it. It’s pretty funny to watch your reaction. When sitting on it, it’s just a look of disgust and when standing on it, you do a pretty cute flamingo move :) I admit, it’s a little fun to torture you a bit.
  • Bedtime.

Your first birthday bash is tomorrow. We’ll celebrate with close family and friends and with all your favorite foods with a theme that’s perfectly suited for you….splish, splash…for your love of all things water. Thanks, Aunt Kim for the theme idea!

Sweet Isaac

Sweet Isaac

Stitch Fix – My First Experience

I’m plain Jane. I hate clothes shopping! I hate clothes shopping because I have no sense of style, plus clothes normally do not fit right on me…well because I’m only 4’11”. It’s always a challenge. Nothing worse than finding a pair jeans or pants only to have pay someone $30 to get them hemmed. Same with dresses, sleeves or straps on shirts. It’s frustrating and now take into account after 4 kiddos, I have quite the mom belly to hide, it can be less than joyous to shop for clothes. Even before kids, I’ve just never been much of a fashionista. The latest trends never seemed to look right on me. Nothing like wasting hours shopping to come home empty handed and discouraged.

I think Michael was tired of hearing me complain :) So for my birthday, he signed me up for Stitch Fix (Clothing and accessories hand-selected by a personal stylist, delivered to your door. I know, sounds too good to be true!). He heard me mention it a few times, so he finally took the initiative and signed me up because I wouldn’t do it myself! I kept making excuses about losing more weight first and that I wouldn’t like whatever they sent me anyways, so why bother, or whatever they sent wouldn’t look right on me anyways.

On my birthday, he signed me up, despite my pleas not to, because as a guy he rationally reasoned, “What’s the worse that could happen? You’re out the $20 styling fee. Or you might actually like something they send you.” I do like how guys are so rational about things, whereas women can be so emotional and indecisive.

About a month later my Fix arrived! I wasn’t really excited about it as I was pretty sure it would be a major fail. I recall filling out the style profile and thinking they’re not going to find anything for me! No where did I seem to get across that my want-to-be style is un-frumpy and stay-at-home-mom-esque. I’d love to dress like Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper or Kate Middleton. Just put together, timeless and modest. But I was pleasantly surprised. My fix included a note from my stylist, Nick, and style cards for more outfit ideas on the items they sent me.

My first Stitch Fix!

My first Stitch Fix!

Upon initial glance…red pants! Okay, they’re not like bright red, more a soft red, almost coral color. I wanted a great pair of jeans, but my stylist noted they didn’t have any in my size…bummer! But the more I looked at them, I kind of liked them; I just wasn’t sure I could pull off wearing them.

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I loved all the tops they sent. They were flowy and cute, in different patterns and colors that I probably wouldn’t have picked out shopping on my own. The two on the right were my favorites! I love cardigans and this was a great departure to the classic gray I always seem to go for. I also loved the first top pictured, but it is actually too big, especially in the straps. I think if I, I mean if my mom, takes them in though it will work. The blue top was my least favorite, I just didn’t think it was very flattering on me.

Overall, I’m glad Michael made me try this out. The pieces weren’t necessarily timeless, but they did take me out of my comfort zone and let me have fun with some color without being over-the-top crazy. Plus, 3 out of the 5 pieces were super kid friendly, meaning they could handle four baby boys climbing all over me during the day :)

I thought the price point was reasonable as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love clearance and deals, but I also realize you get what you pay for and many times I come home to find something I bought doesn’t withstand the wear my clothes go through. For all 5 pieces it totaled to $157, that was with a 25% discount for keeping all 5 items and the $20 stylist credit (you get to keep the stylist fee if you keep one or more of the items). That’s about $31 per piece. Not too bad, especially since that included pants and cardigan. Plus, it saves me from the time and trouble of shopping store-to-store and finding nothing anyways.

So what did I keep? The pants, cardigan and paisley top! Those all totaled $130, so I didn’t get the 25% discount, but still saved a bit. As much as I loved the first top, with the cute red and pink pattern; overall I thought it was too big everywhere, especially in the straps and even with the straps fixed it would still show bra straps and that would drive me crazy. I wanted to love the blue top, but the back was razor back style, so again bra issue and I just didn’t find it all that flattering. I knew I would never wear it.

I’ve already scheduled my next Fix…I need some cute, modest shorts that will look great on my 4’11” self…hope Nick can pull through for me again!!! Michael might be regretting his decision to have me try this out after all :)

So if you’re in a fashion slump, like me, or would just like the convenience of clothes sent to your door, personally picked out for you, I encourage you to give it a go. Worse case, you’re out $20! And if you decide to try it out, I’d totally appreciate you using the link below, as I’ll receive a $25 credit, which would make Michael so very happy :)

Isaac at 11 Months

Sanctifying! Yep, that’s how I’d sum you up, Isaac. You’re 11 months old! And I still remember how long the first 3-4 months dragged on; mainly because we kept telling ourselves once you hit that 4 month mark you’d be sleeping through the night, or at least through most of the night. Well you’re still not sleeping through the night; and it’s not just waking up once during the night, it’s usually a few times. I think you’re God’s way of sanctifying your parents…I’m okay with a little Purgatory here on Earth and your cuteness does make up for it :)

Amazingly, I still can’t believe this is our last month before you hit the big O-N-E!!! Seriously, your first birthday can’t be happening next month already. You’re just my baby, but you and your brothers will always be my babies. It just honestly doesn’t feel possible! This time last year, I was huge and uncomfortable and anxiously awaiting your arrival.

We still have no baby gates up (#4thbabyprobs). And the baby brother barrier we set up (as shown below)…well you’ve learned to just barge through those…sigh!

The Baby Brother Barrier

The Baby Brother Barrier

So yes, I spend too much of my time running after you so you don’t tumble down stairs, and oh how you love stairs. You love climbing up them and you love leaning over the edge of them. Yes, you love adventure!

You really enjoy being out and about, checking everything out from your stroller or shopping cart. Your brothers still think you’re the greatest, except maybe when you barge over to their Risk game and army men set ups. :/

Brotherly love

Brotherly love

You love to clap…and stand…and push whatever you can around while “walking”…and you can never get enough bath time.

Look at those leg rolls…love them :) Awesome standing skills!

You enjoyed your first time at the pool, especially floating around in your little boat.

Isaac's first time at the pool. Hanging out with Aunt Kim.

Isaac’s first time at the pool. Hanging out with Aunt Kim.

And you even got your first haircut. You did so well! You were super calm during the whole thing.

Isaac's first haircut

Isaac’s first haircut

Except for the non-sleeping part, you’re the sweetest little babe and I wouldn’t trade you in for a baby that supposedly slept like a baby. Not really sure where that saying came about, as I have yet to truly experience that with my boys, but I love you lots anyways. You’ve only made your mama practice lots love and patience when it’s not always the easiest.

Milestones:

  • Clapping
  • Standing on your own
  • Top 2 front teeth finally came in
  • Says, “dada”!
  • Wearing size 18 months clothes…oh my! You’ll be bigger than your older brothers in no time! They best watch out!

Likes:

  • Yelling
  • Climbing up stairs, you can’t get enough!
  • Getting into EVERYTHING!
  • Eating EVERYTHING!
  • Laughing at all your brothers’ antics
  • French fries
  • Chewing on your own toes
Happy 11 Months, Isaac!

Happy 11 Months, Isaac! We love you!