Introducing Isaac Francis

Introducing our newest blessing, Isaac Francis!

Introducing our newest blessing, Isaac Francis!

Isaac Francis Wayne finally arrived and not on his own terms. He’s our first baby to be induced (he was due on July 9th) and I was scared; terrified really. I can’t even put into words the anxiety I felt during this pregnancy, especially towards the end, so I’m relieved he’s here and that all was uneventful. It was a safe and healthy labor and delivery for both of us.

He’s a week old today…already! Hard for me to believe that at this time last week I was delivering this precious baby. And we’re lucky we were able to finally decide on a name!!!

I’ve definitely been taking the past week very easy, just trying to recoup as his delivery wasn’t as easy as my last two were. Thankfully my mom has taken two weeks off to help run the house and care for the older boys. I LOVE my mom :) She’s been cleaning, cooking and watching the boys. Moms are the best! And I’m so thankful to have such a wonderful mom who does so much for me and her grandsons. My sister, Kim, has also helped out with the boys in between her shifts at the hospital. All the help has been great! We’re very fortunate to have it. Each day is getting better and Isaac is slowly getting into a schedule and sleeping a little better some nights. The older brothers are suffering from a terrible cold…in JULY! How does that happen in the middle of summer?!? Looks like Michael is the next in line. I’m praying they get over it soon, but it seems to be lasting forever with no end in sight. I’m praying and hoping Isaac doesn’t have to suffer through one so soon. His brothers just want to love and hold him and they haven’t been able to do so since the first day I brought him home before they all got sick.

Proud Big Brothers

Proud Big Brothers

They’ve completely accepted him with open arms and so much love. I’ve loved seeing their interactions with him and how much they truly love him. Here are some quotes from his brothers on what they think of their new baby brother.

“Awww!”

“He’s the cutest baby ever!”

“He’s so sweet!”

“He’s so tiny!”

“He really likes me!”

We were also lucky enough to have a visit from our good family friend, Sr. Mary Jacinta. She only comes into town once a year and this was the weekend she happened to be here. She’s a nun in Nebraska at the School Sisters of Christ the King. They’re doing great things there. So blessed that Isaac got to be held by such a holy nun :)

Sr. Mary Jacinta with Baby Isaac

Sr. Mary Jacinta with Baby Isaac

He’s really been a good baby; super sweet and cuddly. I love how he rolls into a little ball when I hold him. I’m taking all these little moments in :) Oh and there’s always that wonderful new baby smell!

I’ll write a separate post on his birth story. We just wanted everyone to know we’re doing well (except for the sick older brothers and lack of sleep) and appreciate everyone’s prayers! Please keep them coming!

Blessings,
Linda
+JMJ+

Proud Grandparents

Proud Grandparents

photo 3 (13)

Baby #4 Update – 40 Weeks

Tomorrow I’ll be 40 weeks and I thought for sure I’d be holding a newborn right now. My last two were born 4 and 6 days before their actual due date, so I’m completely shocked this baby hasn’t arrived yet. I’m getting increasingly anxious and nervous and dreading the idea of having to get induced on Thursday morning. I’m just so on edge and completely sensitive and emotional to everything, not to mention physically uncomfortable as well.

This has been the hardest pregnancy for me. I fortunately only had one bad month of 24/7 morning sickness, but then had a bout with the flu and several terrible colds during this pregnancy. There’s also been the lack of exercise, as I was mostly sick during the winter and by the time Spring was here I was already feeling huge and uncomfortable and then Summer is just too hot and miserable to be out exercising with all this extra weight. All of this, along with me being an emotional mess (which I never really had issues with in my previous pregnancies), I’m definitely having many second thoughts and doubts on whether I could do this again and I haven’t even delivered Baby #4 yet.

The boys are super excited about his arrival, which I’m grateful for, as lately I’m feeling like the pregnancy has become a burden and taken its toll on me and everyone around me:

  • the logistics of who will be where when,
  • the upheaval in routines,
  • don’t have Baby on this day (as if I have control over that),
  • what’s for dinner (I hate this question),
  • is my labor and delivery going to be pretty similar to the ones in the past (I have a funny feeling it won’t be, just considering the weirdness of this pregnancy),
  • praying recovery is quick and without major issues, as I just want to be able to get back to normalcy sooner than later,
  • praying that breastfeeding goes a bit smoother and isn’t nearly as painful this time around

These are just a few of the concerns going through my head. I’m trying not to think so negatively, which is why I’m just blaming it all on the pregnancy hormones. I know all babies are blessings of course and I know it’s all going to work out whether he decides to arrive on his own or I go in Thursday. I’m just trying really hard to just let all the worry go and trust in God, but the anticipation is driving me crazy!!!

So here’s praying I can find some peace and Baby arrives safely and healthy, even if I get induced.

On a positive note, my house is super clean. Bathrooms, laundry, hardwood floors and even the spindles on the stairs are squeaky clean. Only thing left to do is pack my hospital bag, which as I was gathering Baby’s items I realize I’m having a newborn in July and have only one onsie with short sleeves. He’s my first summer baby and I just assumed I had plenty of newborn clothes from his brothers, but just realized last night they’re fall and winter babies. Worst. Mom. Ever!!!

Which reminds me of another mommy fail. I’ll never forget we were getting ready to bring our second baby home from the hospital in the month of February and as I was placing him in his carseat to leave, I realized I had no blanket to cover him up with. How could I forget a blanket in the winter for my baby?!? Yeah, I’m that mom!!! So I was just going to use the thin hospital blanket when the lovely nurse informed me I wasn’t allowed to take it. Seriously?!? I would’ve paid the $5 to cover for the blanket. I don’t even remember what I used, I must’ve just used my coat to cover him up with. Oh the joys of motherhood!

St. Gerard, pray for us! Holy Family, pray for us!

Levi enjoying some snuggle time with Mama and Baby

Levi enjoying some snuggle time with Mama and Baby

VBS – Summer 2014

The boys start Vacation Bible School at our local parish today. This is Noah’s second year and Eli’s first year. They’re so excited, as you can tell from the photo. Noah struggled at drop off last year, but this year was perfectly fine, as was Eli. They’ve been going to Sunday school this year, so I think that helped. And Eli has wanted to go to VBS since last year. He was always bummed that he couldn’t stay last year when we dropped off Noah. They both had a great first day, which included a tasty cupcake and “wine” aka grape juice (that was apparently supposed to be like the wine that Jesus turned the water into).

Noah and Eli's First Day at VBS 2014

Noah and Eli’s First Day at VBS 2014

When we came with home Levi after dropping his brothers off, he immediately went to the floor crying that he wanted to be at Bible school. The bond these brothers have is priceless :)

Levi Meltdown

Levi Meltdown

Gift Ideas for Expectant Moms

I thought I’d compile a list of gift ideas for expectant moms, especially for moms who already have 1 or more kids, but these will work great on first-time moms too. I think in our culture moms easily get forgotten and all focus gets placed on the baby, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in reality moms really need the love, especially seasoned moms. They’re overworked, overwhelmed and usually never take the time to care for themselves because it’s practically impossible when you have other children to care for. It’s hard for moms to make the time to break away even though we know it’s important to do so. First-time moms seem to get plenty of help in the early days, but I think moms that already have small children get overlooked. Not sure why this is, maybe everyone thinks she’s a seasoned pro, but she really does have more on her plate than when she just brought home the first baby. So be considerate. In the early weeks she may not be up to visitors, as her house is probably a lot messier than usual and she probably just doesn’t even have the time and energy to get out of her PJs or loungewear. Leaving gifts on the porch is a great way to be supportive without being a burden. Just text or email that you’ve left something for them at the door.

So here’s a list of items that I thought would be great for expectant moms, and most could work really anytime a gift is needed for that special mom you know in your life. Another thought, if you’re planning a shower for a mom who already has a children; she probably already has the majority of baby stuff, so why not focus the shower on pampering her a bit, along with the celebration of new life.

Gift ideas for the expectant mom that has everything by Training Saints

Gift ideas for the expectant mom that has everything

  1. Maternity Clothes – A giftcard to Target or Old Navy would be nice for an expectant mom. It’s always refreshing to be able to buy some new pieces to an existing maternity wardrobe or maybe she needs all new clothes because of when she’s due. She’ll be most appreciative to find something new and if not, it could always go towards the baby.
  2. Pajamas – Preferably one that has a button down top. It’s nice to have a set of comfy PJs to wear at the hospital vs the unflattering hospital gowns, plus the button down top makes nursing easier or even if the mom doesn’t plan to breastfeed, it makes skin-to-skin with the new baby much easier.
  3. Cosmetic/Travel Bag – A cute cosmetic or travel bag to take to the hospital is always nice. Do you know some of her favorite toiletry and/or makeup items? Pre-fill it so it’s all ready to go for delivery day.
  4. Snack Pack – Know her favorite snacks? Put together a little collection for her to pack in her hospital bag. This will come in handy especially if she delivers at 2 in the morning. She’ll appreciate having some of her favorite healthy snacks readily available, but feel free to throw in a couple fun, tasty not-so-healthy treats too!
  5. Good Reads – She’ll enjoy having something enjoyable to read while in the hospital if the free time presents itself; whether it’s a couple of her favorite magazines or a book she’s been meaning to read.
  6. Schedule a pedicure or massage – Work with her husband to find a time when she can go for an hour to get a pedicure or massage. She’ll have no excuse but to go and enjoy the opportunity knowing everything has been set up. Giftcards to these are great too, but going the extra mile to get it scheduled is awesome. It’s easy for moms not to take the time to make a simple appointment even when there is a giftcard lying around.
  7. Giftcards to favorite restaurants – These are great especially to places that deliver and allow pick up. As moms get closer to their due date, cooking dinner isn’t always a highlight of the day and once Baby is home it’s nice to have a break from meal making too.
  8. Amazon giftcards/Prime Membership – We love Amazon in our house. It’s just so convenient to have items shipped to us in 2 days vs loading all the kiddos in the van to get something. This is invaluable to new moms who should be resting and recouping after bringing baby home. With a few clicks of the mouse, items will be delivered right to her door.
  9. Shutterfly Giftcard – Shutterfly is great for creating Baby’s first year book, announcements, thank you notes, prints and/or other photo gifts of their new precious one.
  10. Gifts for the older siblings – Gifts to make the older siblings feel special during this time are great too. Think non-messy, quiet items. You don’t want to bring something that has a million pieces that mom has to clean up or some super loud electronic device when mom and dad just want some peace. Books, coloring books, clothes, outdoor toys, TinySaints, iTune giftcards (if the older kids have an iPad, a new educational or fun app, might allow for some needed quiet time for the parents), bubble bath, etc are great ideas. Just something to make them feel special.
  11. Food – Food is always a welcomed item when a newborn is in the picture. It doesn’t mean you have to bring a whole meal. Snacks are a great idea too; muffins, bagels, fruit/veggie tray, etc are great options! Really anything! New moms generally aren’t picky, they’re just grateful to have food that they don’t have to cook and prepare in the house.
  12. Sleep – The gift of sleep is priceless. This is probably better suited for close family and friends, but ask when a good time would be to entertain the older siblings with fun, quiet activities while the parents take a nap with the baby.
  13. Baby Gift Ideas – Still want to get something for the new baby?
    • Diapers and wipes are always appreciated. Especially diapers in bigger sizes that they can use as the baby grows; the baby won’t need an endless supply of the newborn size.
    • Swim diapers are another great option, so they’ll have those on hand when the occasion arises.
    • Baby shampoo, lotions, diaper rash cream are also all things that will get used in the first year and on.
    • Monthly milestone stickers

Are there gifts you received that you absolutely loved? Please share!

Blessings,
Linda
+JMJ+

Baby #4 Update – 39 Weeks

I’m at 39 weeks and the unknown of when Baby will make his debut has got me on edge. I’m a hormonal, emotional mess to say the least. My nesting has subsided a bit, probably because there’s not much else to do or clean around here! I’m thinking these are all indicators that must mean Baby will arrive soon; sooner than later I hope! I’m so anxious, scared, excited, upset and extra sensitive to everything. I’m so ready to meet this new baby, yet at the same time feel so unprepared. Did I mention I’m an emotional, complicated mess?!? It makes no sense. I’m just going to blame it on the pregnancy hormones.

I had my last prenatal appointment today. I made progress being at 3cm and 80% effaced. If Baby doesn’t decide to come on his own on or by July 9th (his due date), I get induced a week from today on the 10th. I’ve always had an induction date set for my previous pregnancies, but luckily each one decided to arrive on his own. I’m hoping for the same this time around.

This is my 4th pregnancy so you’d think this wouldn’t get me all worked up. I know the routine; I know the drill. But with each pregnancy I always feel more anxious than the last. And a little more overwhelmed. Maybe it is because I have more young children than the previous. I know it’s not easy on anyone that I’ll be in the hospital for 2-3 days.  I know realistically it will all work out in the end and all this emotional craziness will subside once the baby is here and I know we are all healthy. The boys will embrace the baby like he’s always been here, but it’s just getting there. I try to focus on the positive by telling myself to enjoy the time in the hospital where I’ll have this one-on-one time with our new baby, but I know I’ll miss the everyday-ness with all my boys too.

So yes I’m on edge. And when I’m on edge I focus on every negative around me, I get snippy. How do I deal? Well tonight, I sobbed like a toddler in the shower and asked Mary to pray for my pitiful soul. And then I blog about it in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep comfortably anyways. I guess this is cheaper than therapy.

Questions and thoughts swirling through my mind…When will I go into labor? Will it start with contractions or will my water break? How long should I wait it out before heading to the hospital? Epidural or not? Maybe it will go so fast the decision will get made for me. Or am I just going to have to get induced? Will my actual OBGYN get to deliver this baby or am I stuck with the oncall doc? Are we going to be able to get the boys to VBS next week? Will I be able to breastfeed successfully? Am I ever going to get back into shape? Most of this is out of my hands, I have to let it go and give it to the Lord. And just typing that gives me some peace.

I hate complaining about pregnancy. I feel like all the naysayers get to say yea, that’s why you only have 2 children. But it is a beautiful, wonderful gift even with all the discomforts that come with it. I know I’m so blessed to be able to participate with God’s creation of life, as many who long to may not get the opportunity.  So I’m lucky to be here in this chaotic, emotional mess. God is entrusting this little soul to us, a task we don’t take lightly.

This baby gets to be welcomed not only by two loving parents, but the love of 3 awesome brothers and that overfills my heart. They ask me everyday, “So mama, when is that Baby Bingo going to pop out already?” Oh if only it were that easy! They touch, hug and kiss my belly at random, knowing there’s a sweet baby brother in there that kicks at them. These are precious moments I hope I always remember. These are the moments that I know we must be doing something right and instilling the value of life in our boys.

St. Gerard, pray for us and all expectant mothers. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

Blessings,
Linda
+JMJ+

Laundry Room Makeover

I’m 38 weeks along and in my nesting madness, I decided it would be a great idea to reorganize and paint the laundry room. I tried to be logical and talk myself out of it because, you know, I’m 38 weeks along and HUGE and maybe I should be resting or packing my hospital bag instead. But the laundry room was bugging me big time and it was ALL I could think about it and for whatever reason I feel like I have to get all my projects complete before Baby arrives or they’ll never get done (at least not anytime soon), which is probably true to some degree. Because once Baby is here, I’m expecting pure exhaustion and what energy I do have will need to go towards getting ready for the homeschool year.

My dear sweet husband is used to my nesting madness by now (I know he’s ready for the baby to be here, so my projects can cease for awhile :)). But we’ve gotten a lot of projects done during these last 8 months – painted bedrooms, organized the garage and storage room and now the laundry room.  And it’s made our home feel more like our home since moving in last summer.

So I made the decision to makeover the laundry room. I do spend a lot of time in there. I do at least one load a day, if not multiple, and the disorganization was getting to me. And I figured it’s a small space, so this would be easy. It was in all actually exhausting – a HUGE 38 week pregnant woman painting a small area…yea probably not the best decision I ever made, but I was determined and I’m happy with the outcome. Sore and exhausted afterwards, but glad I finished it!

A day in the life of my laundry day...basically everyday :)

A day in the life of my laundry day…basically everyday :)

The first issue I had was that all the stuff I use numerous times a day was just all over the place on top of the dryer and my detergent was in the cabinet, which I would normally just leave the cabinet door open since I’m always doing loads of laundry, so opening and closing it over and over again was annoying and the room was just a mess. Plus, it needed a bright, fresh coat of paint instead of the boring neutral tan and I just need functionality and organization.

Laundry Room Makeover

Laundry Room Makeover

laundry_room_makeover2

I painted the room with Valspar paint in Crystal Aqua. Aquas are my favorite shades of color and I really love how it turned out in the small space.  Michael then added the wire shelving for me, so now I can have my detergent, Oxiclean, glass cleaner and dryer sheets (in the cute white bin from Target) off the dryer and all on the shelf for easy access since I’m using these items constantly throughout the day. I also added a slim, taller trash can next to the dryer and new tall, rectangular plastic hamper for all the boys’ clothes. This hamper is working a lot better as it fits in the space better and is larger than our previous one.

Overall, the space is much more functional and looks much nicer! I can even fold some laundry on the now cleared off dryer, which is nice! Win-win! I also made the below printable to go into the space after seeing many versions on Pinterest. Feel free to download the printable to use in your own laundry room!

Blessings,
Linda
+JMJ+

Laundry Room Printable

FREE Laundry Room Printable


Baby #4 Favorite Things

I’m always amazed that with each pregnancy there’s a plethora of new baby products on the market. I’ve pretty consistently used the same items I’ve had since our firstborn. I’ve learned after the first one, you end buying and registering for many things that just don’t get used, but at the time you think you will. Ahhh first-time parents! The baby product industry knows how to sucker them in every time.

Being on my fourth, I’ve learned less is more and practical is best and efficient (as you’ll notice from our non-traditional nursery).

We have needed some new items with Baby #4 arriving. I’ll update my post after we use them with Baby to see if we really enjoyed these new products or not. I really just wanted things that were simple – which relates to easy to maintain and use and clean.

Baby Favorites

Baby Favorites

 

  1. My parent’s generously bought us the glider swivel chair. I really wish I had one like this from the beginning, but we really didn’t have the space for one at our previous home. We originally had a simple wooden glider, since it was smaller, but it was never really the most comfortable. So far I’m enjoying this new one and can’t wait to try it out with the baby in my arms.
  2. I’ve heard lots of good things about the Tommee Tippee bottles. I plan to nurse, but wanted a few bottles to have on hand so I could enjoy a feeding break every now and then or if Baby stays home with someone while I run a quick errand. I was drawn to these because there aren’t a lot of parts and they’re easy to clean. I can clean the inside without a bottle brush; I love it! It’s really the little things. In the past I’ve used Dr. Brown and Playtex Ventaire, but there are just too many pieces to clean and assemble; no time for that these days!
  3. Michael’s parents bought us the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Car Seat. It was time for an upgrade, as our original was used 3 times over and getting close to the expiration date of use. I liked this one as it was the lightest one I could find and they had it in red which matches our City Select Baby Jogger (I love this stroller – It’s expensive, but well worth the investment, especially if you plan on having 2 or more kiddos).
  4. I decided to try the Woombie. We have a few of the Halo Swaddlers, but this version looks to be even more easy to use and lighter-weight since he’ll be a summer baby. We’ll see if Baby likes! We also use the Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets, which are nice and light-weight as well.
  5. I’m hoping the baby likes the AngelCare Bathtub. I loved the simplicity of this tub, so easy to clean and hang dry in the tub when not in use. Baby tubs I’ve used in the past just have so many little nooks and crevices, they just weren’t easy to keep clean and were so bulky.
  6. I’ve been using the Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean Wipes. These are the perfect travel wipes. You can refill them with any wipes and it holds a great amount. The plastic hard case ones are nice, but they either make them too thin (so it doesn’t hold enough wipes) or  they’re too bulky for travel.

Do you have favorite items you just love for your baby? Please share! I’d love to hear your thoughts and even reviews on the items I’ve listed.

Blessings,
Linda
+JMJ+