Introducing…

I’ve been dying to introduce you to our newest baby girl!

Forgive me if you follow me on Instagram, because in that case, you’ve seen most of these. But, hey, she’s so adorable it won’t hurt to see them again. ;)

We headed out the door bright and early that Friday morning to get the party started and bring Little One on her way. {Yes, I did chop off my hair! Imagine with me for a moment…long, long, long hair + postpartum hair loss. Yeahhhhh.}

With the awesome support of my dear “labor coaching” friend, husband, doctor, and nurse I was able to deliver her naturally and pain medication free at 3:39pm.

{Deep in contraction concentration}

She entered the world at a healthy 7 pounds, 6 ounces {same as Mr B} and 20″ long. Of course, she HAD to be different – all three of the others were born at 19.5″ long. I guess when you are #4, you have to do something to stand out. :)

She arrived with a mess of dark hair and a hearty set of lungs! She was NOT happy until they finally handed her back to me. As much as I hated to hear her scream, it warms my heart to know that as soon as she was back with mama she was a content little bug.

{Boy, do I look tired!}

{Mia and the three oldest meet Baby Girl for the first time.}

{My dear friend and labor coach. Couldn’t have done it without her!}

T, Mr B, and Miss M are adjusting pretty well. It’s hardest on little emotional Miss M, but she’s figuring it out.

Things have been going well this last week or so. I’m tired, of course, but Little Miss is such a pleasant baby I don’t mind sacrificing a little sleep.

I am just in awe of this sweet blessing and could spend all day cuddling her close.

What a special gift she is.

{I’m still in need of a blog name!! Taking suggestions…Her first name starts with a G.}

Easter Activity for Kids (and Grown-Ups too!)

Well, hello there!

It’s been a while since I’ve been on this end of a blog post, but I thought I’d pop in and share a little activity that our little family has started for Easter this year!

Yes, it is the day before Easter.
No, it’s not too late for you to do it too, if you want!

It’s pretty simple :)

You’ll need:
- Plastic Easter Eggs (if you don’t have any at the moment, you can grab some at Target for 89 cents per dozen — careful though, it’s a mad house there today! — , or just wait until your kids open up their Easter baskets tomorrow and use them!)
- Quarters
- Scrap paper

Yes, I imagine you probably don’t have rolls of quarters around the house, but you can do what my kids did this afternoon and raid their piggy banks! I had gotten a roll of quarters this morning in preparation of this activity, but there is no rule as to how many quarters you have to have… just check the couch cushions, the ash tray in the car, under the refrigerator, etc… don’t over-think it!  Just use what you have!

… you probably see where this is going…

Put quarters in the eggs… along with a note, if you’d like.
We put four quarters in each egg… along with a little note that said “Happy Easter!  He is Risen!”

Easy.Peasy.

Then what??

Well, the idea is to hide them at a laundromat… which are usually found in low-income areas, or at college campuses.

Just put them all over the place!

{We did it at a local college}

Great way to teach our little ones ways to get creative in helping others :)

{It’s a good lesson for us too!}

Happy Resurrection Day!

He’s ALIVE!

D-Day

It’s D {as in “Delivery”} Day for me today!

{2 days ago}

In fact, we’re probably at the hospital right now.

After consulting with my doctor, we’ve decided to go ahead with an induction. Which means I get to mini-blog the fact that I’m heading to the hospital – a luxury most momma’s don’t get. ;)

Say a prayer for us!

I’m super-excited to meet this little girl!

No promises, but I’ll probably post some pics on Instagram. Be sure to follow @jennaqu for any breaking news.

Baby Girl Bump

My momma is the bestest.

On the spur of the moment after the ballet, I asked her if she’d grab her camera and snap some baby belly pictures. I was already dressed up, and I didn’t know when I’d get another chance to grab some pictures. I’m so glad she said yes! We headed out to a nearby park and had a little photo session.

I kind of love memorializing the sweetness of a big preggo belly. In all the ups and downs of pregnancy, the thought of a baby growing in there is still something special!

PS – My hair is insanely long. It’s getting cut very soon!
Also? My hands are so veiny. All the extra blood pumping through my veins to my sweet girl.

I can’t wait to meet this little girl! Any day now!

Getting Cultured

On Saturday Leah {my sis} and I went to the ballet.

That was her Christmas gift to me. How awesome is that?

Here’s what I learned:

1) Don’t park in the close garage. Even though it’s close, the lot a block down the street is less than half the cost. {Which we discovered when we were leaving.}

2) Ask for a non-senior discount. For realz…I got nothing against the older generations, but we stuck out like sore thumbs. Really cute sore thumbs though, so maybe I should classify us as beautifully manicured thumbs. {I seriously doubt they give non-senior discounts though.}

3) The name of the ballet does not always let on to what the ballet is really about. We saw Don Quixote. Which was only a little about Don Q and mostly about the young couple who wanted to get married but Proud Papa wanted his sweet darling to marry the rich village wackadoodle.

4) Apparently I like to wear purple to the ballet.

5) Only go to the matinee if you don’t mind seeing the “second string” performers. I didn’t mind, but Leah kept commenting on how she wanted to see the “good” ones and next time we were going at night.
PS – It was still really good and the dancers were excellent!

6) Sit in front of someone kind of funny. They will make comments like “I hope Act II is short.” And, “I hope Act III is short.” And “Well, we won’t have to come see that again for 10 years.” ::giggle and sigh::

7) Take your sister along who will declare at the end, “we should do that more often!” And then hope she buys you more ballet tickets. ;)

It was so fun to get out with my little sis. And I loved all the colors and Spanish flair of Don Q! So pretty! It was fun to get a little more culture in my life.

A Mommy’s Guide to Newborn Essentials :: Sleeping and Eating

I gave you all a teaser last week, and I’m here today to deliver {har, har} the first installment of my mini-series on newborn essentials.

A couple of you left some great pointers on my Facebook page. Keep them coming! At the end of the series I’d love to do a round up of all the other expert advice out there for YOU!

So last week, I asked…

  • A place to sleep
  • A way to eat
  • A car seat
  • A way to get around
  • A way to get clean
  • Something to catch the baby poo and pee ;)
  • A place for Mommy to set baby down for a bit
  • A way to schlep their stuff
  • Something to wear
  • And…maybe a few toys to get them started

With those things in mind, let’s talk today about sleeping and eating! Sound good? Because sleeping and eating {okay, and pooing} are what babies do best for that first little while.

Zzzzz…sweet sleep! First, I’m sure you’ve heard that you probably won’t see a whole lot of continuous sleep for the first while. But I promise you! You will survive! You WILL make it through that stage! Someday that baby WILL sleep through the night! It will happen. So don’t give up hope!

But let’s talk about the baby and sleeping, ‘k?

Where’s sweet baby going to sleep?

Baby needs a place to sleep – whether it’s a bassinet or Pack ‘n Play or co-sleeper in Mommy and Daddy’s room, or whether it’s straight into the crib – you’ll want to figure out your ideal arrangement.

We started all of our babies out in the bassinet portion of a Pack ‘n Play in our room. T didn’t last long in there. He was a noisy sleeper and I was an uber-sensitive Mommy so I just wasn’t getting any sleep. We moved him quickly into the crib.

Both Mr B and Miss M spent the first few weeks in our room in the bassinet portion of the Pack ‘n Play. I liked the convenience of having them close for all those nighttime feedings. But they transitioned fairly quickly into the crib, probably somewhere around 6 weeks.

 Do what works for you! Think about your ideal sleeping arrangement and go from there. But don’t feel bad if that sweet bassinet sees little use. Give yourself grace and remain flexible.

If you LOVE the look of a particular crib sheet with your bumper and crib skirt and nursery design – buy more than one! {And have a few cheap spares for back up.}

 

With the boys I only had one “nice sheet” and the rest were plain and I didn’t like them much. But sheets get dirty and need to be changed. So while the “nice sheet” was in the wash {which may or may not have taken a while}, I had to put on a sheet I didn’t love. Boo.

With Miss M I had a sheet that I LOVED from Target, so I bought two. Unless she had major diaper blow outs or lots of spit up, I was able to always have the “pretty sheet” on the bed. Yay!

  Sleeping essentials?

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle, swaddle, and again I say – swaddle!

{Clearly, not my best swaddling job.}

All of my children LOVED to be swaddled. I truly think it made a huge impact on the quality of their sleep {and therefore my sanity!}. They all outgrew it at different times, but I pretty much swear by swaddling.

The big pink and blue striped blankets like you use in the hospital. I bought a pack at Target {can’t find it on their website}, and they were awesome! Not cute, but they did the job well.

This time around, just because I like pretty things and my old ones are fairly worn, I’m going to try swaddling blankets like these.

{Pictured: aden + anais – For The Birds}

Swaddle Me wraps :: Maybe they’ve improved since I first tried them with T. But I felt like it didn’t hold him tight enough and he just wiggled out, which is totally not the point.
{Pictured: Summer Infant SwaddleMe}

Receiving blankets :: They were just too small.
{Pictured: Luvable Friends Pink Birds and Trees}

  The key to good swaddling is a big, lightweight blanket. The ones I like are thin and about 44″x44.”

This book was a lifesaver for me in the sleep category for my non-sleeping, super-fussy firstborn: The Happiest Baby on the Block

You may not know for sure until baby comes whether you will breastfeed or formula feed. But I imagine you have some inclination one way or the other.

I only used formula for a short time with Miss M when I was very, very sick, so I’m no expert when it comes to what you need if you go the formula route.

Some of the things below could be helpful for anyone, and some will be things that made my life easier as a nursing mom.

A little support

A Boppy! Or similar nursing pillow. Or just a plain old pillow. The support they offer while nursing was crucial for me. They help hold baby up and support your arms. Great for some of those marathon nursing sessions! I’d even bring the thing with me if I knew we were going somewhere and I’d need to nurse the baby – especially when baby was little bitty. Love my Boppy!

{Pictured: Boppy – Peaceful Jungle}

TMI, okay? The Boppy, covered with a towel, is also great to sit on post delivery. Just sayin’.

 

Spit up…ewwww…

Whether nursing or bottle feeding, you’re also gonna want a stash of burp cloths. Because babies spit up and babies drool, so you need some kind of clean-up cloth handy.

You know what those receiving blankets are great for? Burp cloths! They are big so they will clean up lots of spit up.
{Pictured: The Posh Pea Boutique – Trees, Dogs, and Birds & Luvable Friends Pink Birds and Trees}

Burp cloths come in all fabrics and colors and sizes and even shapes! I’ve found that I like a generous sized, absorbent cloth.

Here are some really cute ones that look nice and absorbent from this cute shop The Posh Pea Boutique on Etsy. I know from experience that the fabric she uses on the back is absorbent, and who can resist all the cute prints?

{Pictured: The Posh Pea Boutique burp cloths :: Eco Rose Flowers, Pewter Ovals and Pink Damask; Gray Scrollwork, Gray Circles, and Gray Lattice; Swim Free, Orange Ovals, and Nautical Bunting}

Small and thin burp cloths. Think handkerchief trying to clean up Old Faithful. Doesn’t work well.

Big and absorbent.

Let’s be modest

Nursing covers are great, but with Mr B and Miss M, I found I liked using the big swaddling blanket more than I liked using a nursing coverup. I like items that serve more than one purpose. It takes up less room in the diaper bag because you’re not adding one more thing. And I felt like I could position the blanket better to cover me. However, the nursing covers are really cute! And they do stay in place if baby decides to yank on it.

{Pictured: Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover in Chateau Silver and aden + anais – For The Birds}

It’s a toss up. You choose. I’m going for the big blanket.

Pumping {ugh, not my fave}

I was really glad to have a breast pump – as much as I hate them. Whether I wanted to leave a bottle of milk or I was dealing with a plugged duct or mastitis, it was important for me to have a pump. I started off with this handheld Avent pump which works pretty well, but got annoying over time. I finally broke down and bought a good electric pump just to make life easier. If you think you’ll be pumping a lot, go for a good electric pump right off the bat.

{Pictured: Avent Isis Manual Breast Pump & Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote}

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you’ll probably want to invest in a few bottles in case you want to leave baby with Dad for awhile. Babies can be choosy about the bottle they like {so funny!}. Miss M’s favorites were the Avent and NUK bottles.

{Pictured: Philips AVENT BPA Free Classic Polypropylene Bottle & NUK Orthodontic Bottle}

If you’ve got a gassy baby, you will want Mylicon {or some other gas relief drops}. Life.saver. Trust me. It helps move those gassy bubbles out of baby’s belly. Gassy baby = fussy baby = sad mommy = no fun.

 

That’s a wrap for my sleeping and eating essentials!

Did I miss anything? What have you found essential when it comes to eating and sleeping for you little one?

A Mommy’s Guide to Newborn Essentials

A Mommy's Guide to Newborn Essentials :: From a Fourth Time Mom's Point of View || Delighting in Today

I’ve been cleaning and rearranging and organizing and all-around getting ready for Baby Girl’s {I need a blog name for her!} appearance next month. And since “baby” has been on the mind so much, I thought it would be fun to do a little mini-series on what I deem essentials, coupled with some of my loves and flops, mixed with a handful of tips for good measure.

There are so many gidgets and gadgets {Thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty!} out there for babies. And some of them are great! And some of them are gimmicks and just a waste of time, space, and money.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t get some of those gidgets and gadgets, because, let’s face it – they can be great! I’m just saying, when you’re faced with the mondo list of supposed needs for a baby, it’s nice to whittle them down the basics and go from there.

While I think I was a fairly chill and laid mom back with T {none of that sterilizing the pacifier each time it fell out of his mouth thing}, I know I’m definitely more so with each baby. And that includes what I think is really important and essential as far as a baby’s care goes. The HUmongos excersaucer that took up half of the living room that I thought I needed the day after he was born {just so I’d be ready when he hit the six-month mark and was ready to use it}? Uh-uh, goodbye! {First, I didn’t need it right away. Second, I could have chosen a smaller model without quite so many bells and whistles, and he would have been perfectly happy.}

So here’s a going-on-fourth-time mommy’s list of go-to things that I don’t think I could live without during the newborn and infant stages.

Now, of course, what I love, you may hate and what I hate, you may love. But….This is what has worked for me and maybe they will for you too!

First we’ve got to ask…

  • A place to sleep
  • A way to eat
  • A car seat
  • A way to get around
  • A way to get clean
  • Something to catch the baby poo and pee ;)
  • A place for Mommy to set baby down for a bit
  • A way to schlep their stuff
  • Something to wear
  • And…maybe a few toys to get them started

And that’s about it!

Over the course of the series {which I hope to at least get written before Baby Girl arrives}, I’ll dive into each of those essentials and give you my thoughts on what you really need. Should be fun!

Our next installment will be all about sleeping and eating – two of newborn’s favorite activities.

A Closet Makeover in Miss M’s Room

I haven’t talked about it in the last little bit, but I’ve continued to slowly work on Miss M’s big girl room.

We FINALLY moved her into it, even though it’s not 100% the way I want it because – well, this new baby is coming soon!

Here’s what progress we have made…slowly, but surely!

We painted over the blue chalkboard wall. ::sniff, sniff::

I made Nolan do it. (a) Because I just didn’t feel like contorting my pregnant body into the small space and (b) I wasn’t sure I could stand painting over it myself.

We just painted it white. I considered using the room color, but finally settled on white. Not sure that I’m in love with that decision, but it is what it is.

The dresser got moved across the room {pictures to come} and the toy shelf from the nursery got moved in {I figured baby girl wouldn’t need a toy shelf at least for a little while}.

Sheer white curtains leftover from our dining room will get hung to help hide the business part of the closet. And I’ve got some other things up my sleeve for the space – they just haven’t happened yet!

However, can I just say, that I’m really pleased with how the business side of the closet has come together?! Sure, someday I’d love for it to have all matching wire baskets or something equally as cute. But I’m grateful for the awesome functionality it has going on!

Dresses up high with hats tucked underneath {sooner than later her dresses will be too long!}

A sweet little keepsake shelf.

Hair brush and hair bows and tights and socks. Followed by little girl unmentionables and pajamas all within easy reach of my big girl.

With books in between and shoes on the bottom. I LOVE giving her the added independence of being able to reach all the things she needs. And she loves being a big girl about it!

So there’s where we are with the closet side of Miss M’s big girl room. Things are coming together. There’s still much I want to do! But it’s entirely liveable and functional, and I have a feeling it will stay just the way it is for awhile. :)

The Lord Provides

Our family is in a season of very careful consideration of each dime that we spend. Life has ups and downs, and this is one of those times when we have to be careful. It’s life.

But that doesn’t mean this pretty clothes, pretty things, decor loving girl doesn’t want new things!

It just means she has to tell herself “no” a lot more than she tells herself “yes.” And that’s a good thing! It’s good for my self-discipline. It’s good for me to not have everything I want. It’s good to carefully consider where I’m putting my money.

But….There are still longings in my heart.

And God is so good. He provides for me so well.

He meets my NEEDS and sometimes, yes, He even meets my WANTS.

Wants that are simply that – wants. Not consequential to life. Not life or death. Not “the world will come to an end.” But purely and simply wants.

His faithfulness to meet those wants buoys me with faith and courage that He will also meet my NEEDS.

If God can meet my wants, I KNOW He is capable of providing the things I need as well.

I’m grateful that sometimes He gives me my wants in silly, simple things because it reminds me that He is big enough.

He is great enough.
He is strong enough.
And He cares enough.

He cares about my stupid little wants. He cares.

There are a sort of list of wants in the back of my mind. Things I have chosen to set aside maybe forever, maybe until there are extra funds, or maybe until they become needs.

On my list were three rather pertinent things. Not important things, mind you, but things that are relevant to where I am right now.

Want #1 :: New clothes for Miss M

Miss M is the petitest little thing, but she’s getting taller. Though her waist isn’t growing much, her legs are! I noticed recently that many of her dresses and some of her skirts and shorts are getting too short. So it’s been on my mind to beef up her wardrobe a little.

No, my daughter wasn’t going clothing-less, and we have enough. It’s just that we were getting to the point of needing some more. New clothes for her would be bumped to the top of the priority list sooner than later. And, hey, I like having a full wardrobe too!

As I was cleaning out the closet in her room {soon to be the baby’s room!}, I ran across of bag of 3T clothes that had been handed down to me which I had been storing. I’d completely forgotten about them! And guess what was inside?

A few skirts and shorts and a whole stack of new dresses!

{And then I found 3 more bags of stored clothes.}

What a blessing! What a meeting of a want {and soon to be need}! What a gift of provision from the Lord.

Want #2 :: A “Coming Home” Dress for the Baby

Total want, you guys. I’ve got lots of clothes and dresses from when Miss M was a baby. I could have put baby girl in the same dress I brought Miss M home in. But…I wanted something special just for her, for that special day of coming home from the hospital.

And guess what I found {when cleaning out the above mentioned closet} that I had forgotten about?

A sweet and lovely little newborn dress that will be the perfect thing to bring baby girl home in.

Miss M never even wore it because I bought it on consignment on a whim long after she was passed the newborn stage. {Yes, I do crazy things like that sometimes.}

Oh, my heart was made glad!

Want #3 :: New drawers pulls for Miss M’s dresser

This is the least important of the wants. The totally “I could make do and not make this a big deal” kind of want. The really frivolous want.

I mean like, for real, Jenna? You want new knobs for the drawers?!

But I did.

Because when we did Mr B’s room, I replaced his standard IKEA knobs with uber-cool green glass ones. However, they aren’t really jiving with the pink and gray rustic princess look I’m going for in Miss M’s big girl room. Other than the jewel effect of the knobs they just don’t go, ya know?

Well….as I was cleaning {not the closet! but the changing table in Miss M’s old room} stuffed in the back I found these little boxes. I thought they looked like knob boxes from Anthropologie, but I couldn’t imagine why they were in the changing table behind the {rarely used} cloth diapers. I thought maybe they were the boxes leftover from when I changed the knobs to pink ones on the changing table.

So I opened one of those little brown boxes up, and lo and behold, they were knobs! Not empty boxes, but pretty little glass knobs that apparently I had purchased and completely forgotten about!

I was stunned.

Here in my lap was the answer to a want. A silly, superfluous, Jenna is frivolous kind of want.

But I knew right then and there that is was God blessing me by giving me the desire I had for new knobs.

And can I just note that they are PERFECT for her new room? Down to the smoky gray glass.

You may counter me on these and say “Oh, but GOD didn’t provide them. You bought those things and just forgot about them.” Which is true. But I fully believe that God brought those trivial little things to light at the perfect timing to shore up soul. Because…I could have found those knobs or clothes any other time and they wouldn’t have meant a straw to me. But I found them right when I was wishing and patiently telling myself “no” or “wait.” I could have gone ahead and purchased those things {even though they weren’t in the budget right now}, and missed the blessing of provision the Lord already had for me. I completely see that as the Lord’s timing.

That’s not to say that every time I have a want that it gets met or even that I expect it to get met!

It’s just that my heart has been blessed and encouraged to see Him provide for my silly, little wants. He is good like that.

{And, yes…ha,ha…perhaps I need to clean things out more often! ;) }

Isn’t it awesome to see the Lord provide for your needs and wants? It’s not easy to trust, but it sure does wonders for your faith!

What have you seen the Lord provide for YOU lately?

The Big, The Ouch, and the Yucky

I was driving home from my ballet class bemoaning the fact that this pregnant body is just that – pregnant.

Not that I mind being pregnant.

But I mind that my brain works slower. My body is heavier. My stamina is lower. My legs are fatter. My tummy makes things harder. My body aches {not just from dancing, just from being pregnant}.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dancing while pregnant, but it IS harder.

Even while those thoughts were running through my head, I was quickly reminded that THIS IS NORMAL. THIS IS OKAY. THIS IS WORTH IT!

How amazing, how wonderful, how marvelous is this body that God designed?

I mean, come on. It’s supporting the life of another human being! That’s just awe-inspiring when I stop to marvel. {Okay, and a little insane to my human brain too.}

And here’s what I’m learning. What I’ve been learning over the course of 5 pregnancies.

THIS IS GOOD.

That morning sickness that lasts all day?

It’s okay. My body has a reason for it {whhhhhhy I may never know}. I will endure because the prize is worth it!

The fatigue and tiredness?

Hey, my body is telling me to SLOW down. It’s okay, I should listen. I should slow down, and give myself the rest that I need. This is more important than whatever “that” may be that’s feels so important to do.

Those aches and pains?

{Again with the slow down} A reminder that it’s okay to take it easy. To put my feet up if I need to.

The stretch marks we all hate?

Yo, they are like beauty marks. They are a marvelous reminder that my body was able to stretch {and stretch some more!} to accommodate a real, live kicking, wiggling baby.

The slowness of brain…

Wait, what was I saying?

Oh yeah…a reminder that my body is working hard to grow this baby! This is no simple task. So slow down, and don’t get mad at yourself {Jenna} for not being able to think as quickly.

The weight that keeps coming and coming even though I’m not eating more than normal?

My body is providing nutrients for my baby both now and for after her birth when my body will continue to provide her with live-giving sustenance.

The fact that I’m getting big {oh, yeah, and that people notice}?

It’s part of it! It’s beautiful! It’s the sign of a healthy baby.

{Although, I’d like it better if people didn’t remind me how big I’m getting quite so often.}

Pregnancy is a gift of loving sacrifice. A true giving of yourself for the {literal} life of another.

And it’s not easy. And it’s not always fun. And it’s not always pretty. You get big, you hurt, you throw up, you wish it was over.

But it is SO worth it. It is worth it to accept the gift of life God has given. It is worth it to know that He chose me to bear a life {there are so many women who wish it was them}. It is worth it to marvel at how amazing God created my body in allowing me to carry life within me.

All those things I don’t like?

They are okay.

And I will embrace them for the beautiful things that they are!

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