Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Let’s get real here for a second: Life has been a whirlwind the past 8 months. So many things have happened in such a short period of time: new baby, new jobs, no jobs, more new jobs, school, growth, not much sleep, etc. etc. etc.

They say this season of life, the season with all the babies/toddlers/preschoolers/elementary school kids and any combination of the above, is “the trenches” and I’m here to say YES! YES IT IS!

I knew this, of course, but for some reason this particular season feels even more trench like. I would guess it has to do with all of the other life that’s happened along the way too.

It’s been crazy. Beautiful. Difficult. Crazier. Joyful. Sleepless. And usually all at the same time.

I’ve had to reallllllly tamper my expectations the past few weeks – because on top of the season of life that is keeping us hopping (seriously, I forgot how busy 7/8 month old crawling babies can be and I had no idea how busy 8 year olds can be!) the actual season is keeping us hopping! Work is busy, life is busy, the kids are busy, and everyone is crankier than normal which is making things a touch more difficult. I’ve had so many hard parenting moments/days that I question what in the world I am doing raising these 4 little humans.

After I posted a picture on Instagram yesterday, a bright moment in a particularly difficult day for no particular reason, a good friend mentioned that I was in the trenches and another good friend commented about how no matter what happened, it was enough. Both things resonated with me – because, they are both so right! Whatever gets accomplished in a day IS enough, and whatever doesn’t, it will be there tomorrow. I might not like that it didn’t get done, but that’s okay (right?!) and I also realized that I am most certainly not giving myself enough room to breathe.

What I mean is, I am doing essentially zero in the way of self-care. I need to practice what I preach to others in this area and figure out what will help me. I literally do not have enough hours in the day to do all the things I need or want to do, if I want to also sleep a little. One thing I do, but maybe not enough, is to pray/meditate and also to up my essential oil usage – because a little bit of frankincense or some orange on a diffuser bracelet honest to goodness DOES help me stay grounded and calm when I really need it.

Here’s what I want to know after all my rambling – how long were you “in the trenches” and what did you do to get yourself through it when it felt extra tough?

Related: Whoever “they” are that said having a 4th kiddo is no more difficult than having a 3rd – I challenge that thought because while he is fantastic and wonderful, it has been much harder than I thought adding this 4th one into the mix. Good thing he is so freaking adorable!

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alright, and these three are pretty cute too!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Milestones and Catching Up (kind of)

I realized the other day (okay, many other days ago) that I hadn’t properly caught up on some big things that happened the past few (seven+) months and wanted to go back and catch up on a few things. These are all from my real camera, I still need a better system to get stuff from my phone!

Bringing Samuel Home! (04.10.2017)


Gianna is 8! (04.11.2017)


Easter 2017 (04.16.2017)

It’s always a busy, blessed day – so many little ones in our family make it so much fun! (and so loud!)


Gianna’s First Communion (05.06.2017)

We have made a decision to raise our children in the Catholic church and Gianna’s first communion was a beautiful day. She looked beautiful, she took communion with reverance and care, she showed us how much she’s grown through her PSR classes and we are so proud of her!


She had many friends and family celebrate with her as well, which was fantastic!


My children like to be hilarious in pictures!


Dance Recital 2017 (05.13.2017)

The girls danced beauifully this year – they again, continue to grow in their sport and their passion/love for dance grows with them! Their love for taking goofy pictures, well, that might never go away!



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sweet Summertime

I started this post so long ago and never even got past the title and first few sentences! I can’t easily (read: quickly) get some of my favorite iPhone pictures onto my computer and into my blog and it is so annoying! So we are just going to go with what we have – follow me on Instagram for pictures, it’s my favorite!

We’ve had a FAST summer – school starts here next week!! The girls made a “summer fun” list and they have accomplished 75% of what they wrote down – we’ve had to make a few tweaks due to timing and we’ll carry it over through labor day to get a few more things marked off. It’s been fun for all of us!

June mostly left us finishing up Gianna’s first softball season, which she enjoyed more than any of us thought she would. The three little siblings were excellent spectators as long as I provided them with enough snacks and grass to run in. We also did some swimming, dancing, threw a baby shower for my sister, more swimming and played with friends as much as possible.

July we spent a lot of time swimming, riding bikes and playing with friends – all the things summertime for a kid should be made of! We did spend the night in Columbus one weekend (6 people, 1 hotel room…. i’m glad it was only 1 night!) and had a good time exploring a bit down there. There was some more dancing too, of course!

August so far has been us trying to fit in as much fun as possible before school starts! The girls finished up their summer reading challenge at the library, we’ve gotten ice cream, more playing with friends and riding bikes. We explored some new local places we haven’t been before and we have a big neighborhood water balloon fight planned for this weekend!

I’ve tried really hard to let them a) dictate some of their own time more often and b) be as present as possible with them (which is a challenge with a new baby and when they all want to do something different at the same time!) – it’s been mostly successful.



I hope they’ve made as many great memories as I have this summer – it’s definitly been one to remember.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Survival Mode: Newborn + 3

I have written SO MANY blog posts since Samuel has been born, in my head. I really hate that I don’t have an efficent way to post from my phone because by the time I have 3 minutes to get on my computer I’ve forgotten the funny/sacrastic/deep thing I wanted to blog about!

Which brings us to where we are at currently: Survival Mode. The newborn period (honestly, for me it’s until somewhere between 4 and 6 months) is just survival – are all of the humans who live here dressed (defined as having some article of clothing covering their body, I’ve given up on matching)? Fed (defined as having consumed some amount of food for the day)? Bathed (on a somewhat regular basis) (you can define “somewhat regular” for yourself)? Obviously I knew having another baby would throw off our routine and force us all into a new normal but it is feeling like a very long journey to “normal” as we’ve had SO SO MUCH happening since Samuel was born I find it hard to belive it was less than 3 months ago that he joined us. I know lots happens on an ongonig basis in a big family but seriously, since he was born on April 9 the following have occurred:

  • Gianna’s birthday
  • Easter
  • Gianna’s first communion
  • Gianna’s softball season started and ended
  • Gianna and Aleesia finished dance and had their recital
  • Mother’s Day
  • Mine and both of my sister’s birthdays
  • School ended for Gianna and Aleesia
  • Father’s Day
  • Dance camps
  • VBS
  • Vivian’s half birthday (very important!)
  • Mike got a new job
  • Several different doctor, dentist and chiro appointments
  • My sister’s baby shower
  • I ran a race
  • And more that I am sure I am forgetting!!

It’s been a little overwhelming just making sure the laundry is done and the dishes are clean in a timely manner let alone the other regular and irregular things that pop up. And I really did forget how demanding it is to basically live your live in 2-hour increments between nursing sessions. And those 2-hours really turn in to about 1-hour by the time he’s done nursing, burprd, diaper changed, I’ve gotten myself a drink or gone to the bathroom or something.

I have so many pictures to share, things to discuss and/or write down for memory keeping purposes, questions to ask and not enough brain power/energy/time to do all that I want. I am constantly reminded in a variety of ways to give myself grace, re-examine my expectations and re-evaluate my “needs” versus my “wants” in order to make the most out of our life/time/etc.

I haven’t even had time to make birth announcements of his seriously AMAZING newborn pictures (maybe some day I’ll share a few!) but I do intend to do it and send them out even if they are 3 months late!

Every single day is a new challange managing 4 different personalities/needs/wants/requirements. We are starting to really see some differences based on age (8 year olds do NOT like to do things that 4 year olds do, as I am regularly reminded as of late) which just adds a new challenge to overcome. The girls do SO GREAT with Samuel and they also do great with the chores/responsibilities they each have – they don’t always like when Samuel cries or helping aroudn the house, but they tolerate it and get things done (with many prompts at times, but still) which is a huge help to me even when they don’t do things “my” way.

Overall, I think we are doing ok with this whole family of 6 thing so far– my voice is louder and my patience is thinner than I want it to be more often than I’d like to admit but we do have a lot of good moments and we do our best. No day ends without apologies for whatever didn’t go right that day, hugs, kisses and I love you’s and prayers for a better day tomorrow.

This really IS the life I never knew I wanted, even when I’m barely hanging on!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It's A...... {Baby D 4.0 birth story part 2}

(Part 1) [warning, there are some tasteful, but could be considered graphic, birth pictures to follow]

So! The whole room was prettty unprepared when I said the baby was coming - including Mike and my mom!

Our midwife said "are you sure?" checked and said some version of "yep, you're sure - that baby is coming!" Nothing was ready in the room - in fact, I was still wearing those awesome mesh underwear and a pad - that was super fun to try to get off in a hurry!

Once we took the 90 seconds or so to get as situated as possible I could push when I wanted to. I stayed on my left side the whole time because that was most comfortable. I remember thinking "there is NO WAY I can lay on my back right now" I held up my right leg and honestly, the contractions did all the work.

I remember hearing about these "pushing contractions" in our Bradley classes years ago and let me tell you something, the body does such awesome work. I was really deep in my own head at this point and so laser focused on the end game - I let the contractions do the majority of the work and just waited it out.

My midwife let me dictate all of the parts of delivery - I pushed when I needed to and listened as best I could. She reminded me that my water hadn't broken yet so she might ask me to stop pushing to avoid getting sprayed in the face! Honestly I don't remember a lot of what anyone might have said to me or what I might have said, but I think I was pretty quiet and again, focused.

There weren't many contractions that happened and I passed right by the ring of fire. Maybe because the sac was still intact, delivery didn't hurt at all - in fact, it was the least amount of discomfort, kind of like birthing a water balloon paired with relief.

I couldn't believe how easy this delivery was, I didn't even break a sweat! I had a single, brief moment of thinking "come out now baby" but then I felt that squirmy little bottle wiggle on out!

One of the things we (I) really wanted was for Mike to announce the sex of the baby. He probably said "it's a boy" three or four times before I really "heard" him.

And then Sara said "reach down and grab your son"

And then it hit me. A BOY BABY!

I looked into HIS eyes, stared at his sweet face and instantly declared "He looks like Vivian" and thought a million times, I can't believe it's a he!

As of 4:01 am on April 9, 2017 this boy was in our world now.

And he needed a name. We had a few ideas for names but Mike was in charge of picking. A few names sort of immediately didn't fit and we were between two. We stared at him and said the names a few times until one fit the best. It was something we agonized over for months and suddenly it was the easiest choice in the world.

I grew this child - a child I really, truly wasn't sure would come to be after the journey to get pregnant this time.

But here HE was. In my arms, safe and sound.

We prayed so hard for this - for the safe passage of another tiny human into our family. And that prayer was answered so abundantly and in ways we couldn't have imagined.

Samuel Michael - what did we ever do without you in our lives? 

Gianna's birth story
Aleesia's birth story
Vivian's birth story

*all photos by the awesome Christine at Bella Rose Photography