Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One-Week Photo Shoot

With a face as sweet as his, you would think it would be no trouble at all to capture a few beautiful portraits. You would think wrong. For as cute as he is, he can be quite uncooperative. Joey was very alert, very flail-y, very stiff and unbend-y, and very leaky (if you know what I mean) during his one-week photo shoot. Despite the difficulties, I think the results turned out great. Such a little angel.

Toot! Toot!

I'm going to go ahead and toot my own horn here for just a this 4 on 1 battle that is my life, four crazy boys (emphasis on crazy) vs. one tired mommy, I am victorious! There can only be two possible explanations (which, I believe, are not mutually exclusive): 1) divine intervention; and 2) I AM SUPERMOM! How else could you explain my apparent super powers?

  •  The ability to nurse a baby, while folding a mountain of laundry, simultaneously playing "firetrucks" with a toddler, all while carrying on a semi-coherent phone conversation.

  • The ability to transport the gang to the park. As in, lugging a 35lb toddler on one side and carrying an infant in a car seat on the other, while dragging a blanket, diaper bag/purse, and flip-flops, uphill. Tell me thats not super strength.

The list could go on...
Just think! Imagine what I could do with two hands, a full night's rest, and my mind attending to a single task!

little brother?

I had to laugh when I brought Max with me the other day to watch Hank participate in his school's "TRY-athalon" and Hank's own teachers kept confusing Max for big brother Hank. With just a few inches and a couple pound between these two, you better watch out, Hank, I think Max might be gaining on you!

More is More

I really don't think there is such a thing as too many pictures of this cute face, do you?

Nana Z's work-cation

On Saturday I dropped my mom off at the airport after she had stayed with us for almost three weeks. I was so spoiled while she was here that I would have begged her to stay longer, but I knew we had thoroughly worn her out and she needed to recuperate from her work-cation at our house. As soon as my mom got into town, we scurried around gathering needed materials for the projects I had lined up for her. We didn't get very far before baby Joey arrived, but that didn't mean that I didn't hold my mom to her assignments:) Between getting the boys ready for school in the morning, cleaning my house from top to botton, and preparing meals, my mom also cranked out twelve throw pillows, two sets of curtains, and a table runner....oh, and filled my freezer with homemade strawberry jam. The best part is that while she was busy filling my shoes (and doing a pretty good job of it), I got to be lazy and spent entire afternoons just holding and gazing at my new baby.

I hope we didn't run Nana Z off for good--I still have more projects on my to-do list! haha:)


Isn't it funny how one minute babies can be red-in-the-face, tight-fisted, and crying at the top of their lungs and the next minute they can be snug as a bug in a rug, laying cozy and peacefully asleep? Case in point:

Note: time between the above photos was about two minutes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Joey, Hank, Ben, and Max:

I love you a million times a billion. Squared. Plus infinity.



Wee One 9 Days Old

Knock on wood. Babies don't get much better (or much cuter, for that matter) than baby Joey. I honestly don't remember enjoying the newborn phase this much before....maybe I'm more relaxed as a veteran mommy, maybe it took me four babies to get the hang of it, or maybe I appreciate now how short this newborn phase really is. At any rate, I am just in heaven right now! Loving it! Of course, it helps that Joey is a pretty good sleeper (wakes every three hours to feed, then goes right back to sleep--knocking right now), a great nurser, and overall pretty content. He's a keeper!

Spring Break

Hank took a respite from the rigors of Kindergarten and enjoyed a week of Spring Break. Since I haven't been back up to my usual pace, it was a pretty low-key vacation: leisurely mornings, lazy movie afternoons, and lots of time bonding with our newest family member. Hank's break wasn't entirely without fun--the older boys (weird. I have older boys AND younger boys) bounced at the bouncy place, jumped at the trampoline place, dug in the dirt and watched the construction on Nana and Papa Grover's new house, and rode the go-karts at this family fun center:

On the Brink

Doesn't he just make you smile? Can't you just feel the joy exuding from this little boy? Benny adds so much happiness to our home; we are so LUCKY to have him in our family.

Aaron and I both feel like Ben is on the brink of so many big developments. In just the past week, Ben has picked up a couple new signs, likes to wink, will poke out his tongue and squeak (a trick he spontaneously picked up on his own somehow) on command, is cruising all over the place, and has become much more tolerant of his glasses, his shoes, and the wind (three things that drove him crazy just a short time ago). So exciting to watch his progress! Keep it up, Benny!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I thought it would be fun to document all of the exciting moments in Joey's first week of life...but, it turns out, his first week consists mainly of eating, pooping, and a whole lot of this:

He'll perk up soon enough but for now, I'm am loving snuggling all day (and night) with this warm little bundle.

Three Crazies

When they're not making me want to pull out my hair, scream, or make my eyes twitch, these three little crazies make me smile. I even love them in the crazy times....which is basically always.

Don't Cry Because its Over, Smile Because it Happened

When I hold this little boy in my arms, in awe of the perfect-ness of each of his little features and simply the wonder of his being, I literally feel like I could become lost in the moment. My heart is just brimming with love for this sweet baby boy and I am happy just breathing him in and soaking him up. Precious.

The most bittersweet part about the past week, spending my days lazily cuddling my newborn son, is the knowledge that I am living out one of the best parts of my life; I know these are the days I will look back on and wish, wish, wish I could capture, freeze, and relive over and over. The lyrics to a song keep running through my mind and settling in my heart: "These are the moments I'll remember all my life. And these are the moments, I thank God that I'm alive. I've got all I've waited for, and I could not ask for more." 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Welcome to Our Family, Baby Jonas!

Jonas A. Grover

Born on April 6th, 2012 at 3:50 a.m.
Weight: 7lbs 10oz   Length: 20.5 inches

I feel like if someone pinched me I might wakeup from this dream. Did I really just give birth to this brand-new, perfect, beautiful baby? Am I really the mother of four (FOUR!) precious sons? The only way to describe how I feel would be overwhelmed: overwhelmed with intense relief, utter joy, and pure love for this sweet little boy who has joined our family, overwhelmed with the responsibility for caring for, nurturing, and raising these four special boys; overwhelmed with gratitude for my best friend and partner and my parents and parents-in-law for their constant support; overwhelmed with appreciation for my Heavenly Father for His outpouring of blessings on our family. I know there will be hard days ahead, as I adjust to this crazy juggling act that is motherhood, but for right now, I just want to snuggle my sweet new baby, soak in his perfect-ness, and enjoy this moment. Life is good.

The Birth Story:
After several nights of "false labor" (it didn't feel very false to me), I decided on Thursday morning to help kick start labor into action by chugging this delicious concoction of one part kool-aid and one part castor oil:
Like clockwork, the castor oil went into effect immediately and I started experiencing mild contractions just a few hours later. As soon as the contractions set it, I started to climb up and down the stairs, walked laps around the grocery store (the weather outside was too windy for much outdoor walking), and even tried jumping on the trampoline a little bit in order to speed labor along. When I was satisfied that I was actually in labor, albeit just the early stages, I called Aaron at work to put him on notice. Even though I tried to rationalize with him by explaining that I still had several hours of laboring to go before it would be time to go to the hospital, Aaron was worried that my labor would be fast and furious (as it had been with Ben), insisted on coming home immediately, instructed me to get my bags in the car, and told me that we would "turn and burn." And so, shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, Aaron, my mom, and I headed to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital, I was triaged, it was determined that I was still at a 3.5, and we were given the option to go back home and wait until labor was more intense or stay at the hospital and help things along by breaking my water. The choice was a no-brainer. We were ready to have a baby!

After being admitted, getting hooked up to all the monitors and equipment, and taking a few walks around the labor and delivery unit, my doctor arrived at 10 p.m. to break my water. With that, we hurried up and waited...and waited. It was very slow going; we spent the next hour or two just counting and timing the contractions. Growing impatient with each passing hour, we decided to see if pitocin would get the show on the road. It did the trick--it wasn't long before contractions were coming hard and fast--and I called for the anethesiologist to get an epidural. The epidural seemed to dull the intensity of the contractions for a brief time, but then very suddenly I felt an undescribable amount of pressure and the urge to push, and, unfortunately, wasn't getting any relief from the epidural. When the nurse checked me, I was at a 10, but the doctor was still 20 minutes from the hospital and I was instructed not to push. Those 20 minutes seemed to go on for-ev-er. When the doctor arrived an eternity later, I was ready to push. And push I did. Hard. One push later, I was rewarded with a healthy, squirmy, red, and crying baby boy in my lap.
Oh what a beautiful sight that sweet little boy was. I cried a few tears of relief and joy, holding him tight against my skin. Then he was whisked away to be weighed, measured, cleaned, and checked.
The Debut:
And so, with no further delay, I present my precious baby Joey:
Two of my favorite people in the whole world: my best friend and my bundle of joy.

I've delivered babies before, I've done all-nighters many-a-time, and I'm no stranger to sleep deprivation, but I have never experiences such extreme exhaustion as I felt after Jonas' birth. A combination of physcial exertion, lack of sleep, and an emotional rollercoaster, and I felt wiped out like I've never felt before. I have never felt so overcome by relief; I literally struggled just to keep my eyes open. 

Just moments after birth, Jonas found his thumb and started sucking away! So cute. He loves to suck his fingers, has made fast friends with his binky, and is a champion nurser already.

Look at that face! Humor me...several of the nurses commented that they see dozens of babies everyday but that Jonas was one of the most good-looking babies they'd seen. Yep, I know.

Just let it be said, that giving Jonas a name was a fiasco! We were determined to bring him home from the hospital with a name, but on day 2 with a nameless baby, I think Aaron and I were both feeling worn out with the name game after going over and over and over our list of names to no agreement. The bottomline: his name is Jonas A. Grover. Settled. We love the name, and we love little Joey.

After his little sponge bath, Jonas got his first hairdo.


The Family Comes to Visit:
My mom was no guest; she has helped me through the deliveries of each of my babies, squeezing my hand, helping my through contractions, and coaching me through the delivery.

Nana and Papa were tasked with watching the boys during our hospital stay, but got to spend a little time bonding with Jonas when they came to visit. Such a lucky baby to have so many people who love him!

Sadly, when the boys came to visit, they were all a little under the weather. As much as they wanted to meet and hold their new baby brother, we felt it was best to just let them take a quick peek. No family picture.

Max had a bad cough, so we wanted to keep some distance between him and Joey. Max was so upset and wanted to hold Joey so badly, that we let him give him a quick hug.

Ben is a bit oblivious to the presence of his little brother. I'm excited for these two guys to get to know each other--they will be best buddies soon.

Homeward Bound:
Jonas was greeted by lots and lots of love from his brothers, particularly Max. Max just could not get enough of baby Joey. Max literally sat with Jonas on his lap for at least an hour, whispering so as not to wake him, petting his face, kissing his forehead, and even thoughfully bringing him his binky when he was fussy. I was so touched by Max and his tenderness and natural nurturing towards his baby brother. Jonas is a lucky boy to have three super big brothers to love him and protect him.

Welcome to Our Family, Baby Jonas!