Monthly Archives: July 2014

Welcome to the Family Lorelei!

It’s been a week since our sweet little Lorelei was born. Honestly, it has flown by.

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If you are interested in reading the story of Lorelei’s birth(day) you can CLICK HERE.

I have been very aware of the fact that adjusting to life as a family of six and finding a new “normal” will pretty much consume the rest of our Summer (if not year… if not life). Brian joked to the kids that we completed our Summer Bucket List already… they said, “What?! What have we done?”… to which he replied, “We had a baby! That’s our whole bucket list this year.” They were not very amused but there is some truth to what he was joking about.

I personally LOVED this first week home with Lorelei. I love that we have no schedule to keep because it’s Summer. I love that we are fortunate to have Brian home for a couple of weeks to help with the transition. I love that we go to bed late but can sleep in late… so it works out. I have felt really close to Brian because we’ve each been able to anticipate the others needs. No one has bickered or fought over who’s turn it is to do what, we’ve just gotten it done and are grateful for each other. Maybe it is because it is our fourth or maybe we’ve just gotten good at survival mode… either way being able to count on one another is a blessing we cannot take for granted.

Now let’s be honest… I am absolutely tired, but thankfully my body took this labor like a champ. I have been saying no to computer time so that I can rest. Breastfeeding is always something you and baby have to adjust to because at the beginning it just hurts, but it’s going well. I found some energy today (Friday) and decided to clean the house (the carpets needing to be vacuumed was driving me crazy) but I went a little overboard and now I am paying for it because I am sore. Up until today I had not cleaned much. I only did one load of baby girl clothes laundry that we accumulated from friends (so we’ll be paying the laundry toll later) and we are eating mostly off of paper products so as not to make dishes. Our meals have come from family and friends (huge THANK YOU to Brian’s parents and the Barile and Gorrence families who have fed us this week). We have stayed in our pajama’s almost all day. We have only left the house three times all week.

Lorelei has been great. I know this super sleepy phase doesn’t last long so we are taking advantage of it. There are two times a day when she is alert and awake for about an hour. Other than that she is either sleeping, eating or pooping… like a little lady of course. She isn’t fussy, doesn’t make to much noise (yet) and she is honestly just beautiful and sweet. I started calling her Sweet Pea.

The kids have each responded differently to Lorelei. Eliann is on cloud nine. She wanted a sister so badly… and her prayers were answered. She probably says Lorelei is some form of cute at least 568 times a day. She gets up and goes straight to greet her. She wants to hold and just stare at her all day. At the same time she is eager to do things. What are we going to do today… is a question she can’t help but ask.

David loves his little sister too. He asks, “Can I kiss Lorelei?” fairly often. Of course he can… but you can tell he wants to make sure it’s okay and he is very gentle with her. He has definitely been a little more demanding of our attention… a lot of look at me… look what I can do… look what I made… but we are happy to look and entertain him knowing it is part of the transition we are all going through. The first couple of days with baby he had a couple of bed wetting accidents which we can also attribute to the change. He is back to normal now but it was interesting to see the changes affect him this way.

Pierce. Oh Piercey-McShnu. Right off the bat he was not interested in the new baby. In fact when he heard she was a girl he said, “That’s a girl? I want a boy.” The day after we came home with Lorelei, Brian went to get the kids out of bed and Pierce flipped out crying for Mommy. Maybe he was afraid I was gone again (like when we left to have the baby)? Brian brought him to me and as soon as he saw me he was elated, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” That is until I turned around and he saw Lorelei next to me in bed and then he burst into tears saying, “No… no… nooo.” We have really been attentive to helping him transition. We gave him his new baby gift (transformer cars) and told him they were from Lorelei. He was excited to receive them. The next day he brought Lorelei a ball to play with and then read her some alphabet books. The day after he asked anytime he couldn’t see Lorelei, “Where is Lorelei, Mommy?” And although it took a week, he now proudly says “I like Lorelei, Mommy.”

I love my family.

So that I don’t blink and find that Summer has come and gone and all we can remember is that we had a baby, I have challenged myself that for every picture I think to take of Lorelei I will try to take a picture of something else our family is up to. That way when all is said and done the kids will see that our Summer was in fact full. Full of fun. Full of memories. Full of love. Maybe not with big bucket list check off’s like years prior, but of a lot of smaller moments that equaled one awesome Summer of family bonding we would not have experienced if it weren’t for our new family of six.

That being said here is our first week in photo’s welcoming Lorelei into the family! 

David built an awesome fort in the garage.

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The kids broke in their new baby gifts together.

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We caught Lorelei smiling in her sleep on camera.

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Brian broke in the nursery with the first bed time routine that involved all four kids.

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Mornings in our bedroom look a little different now.

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David, Pierce, Mommy and Daddy worked together to build a new fort in the garage that both the boys could play in.

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Brian helped the kids practice their pogo-ing skills.

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We are so thankful for this awesome rocker on loan to us from our friends the Mueller’s.

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We took Lorelei to her first doctors appointment.

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We visited our friends the Ring’s who were camping at Santee Lakes.

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Pierce offered to share a ball and read letter books to Lorelei all on his own.

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We visited our friends the Brown’s for a lunch date and borrowed some newborn girl clothes from Brielle for Lorelei.

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Brian’s parents bought a new trailer and truck for the Griffin families… which birthed a whole slew of fun Summer projects to accommodate the buy and dreams of how our families would enjoy the new toys. We are super excited!

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Pierce said, “I like Lorelei, Mommy.”

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“Four kids is a constant juggling act.” -Brian (while juggling diapers)

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Washed and put away our new stash of girl clothes for Lorelei thanks to awesome Lita gifts and the help of some of our little friends (Brielle and Lily).

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Introduced Lorelei to her cousins.

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Brian and the kids started on one of our Summer projects (demolishing a portion of our retaining walls) to make room for the new trailer.

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If you ever need things hauled off your property and you don’t want to do the work yourself, consider posting it on Craigslist for “Free.”  Works every time.

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We found out what happens when your little brother finds a live water hose. No mercy.

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Took the first picture of all four of our kids together.

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Apparently there are times when in the middle of Summer thunderstorms can actually hit San Diego. Who knew? Dust off that umbrella and rain coat kids!

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Yes… we now have to change two babies in diapers… ugh Pierce… but look…

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One of our tree’s lost a limb overnight and so the kids got to help Daddy bring it down and cut it up. Did I mention it was the hottest day of the week to tackle this project?

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That was our first week together as the new Griffin family!

Baby Griffin #4 A Birth(day) Story

A BIRTH(DAY) STORY

My labor started on Friday, July 18th, the day I had been scheduled for my last prenatal visit before my due date (July 19th). I had gone back and forth a month earlier with the receptionist who scheduled the appointment because the only time available was at 2:30pm, which was nap time, and I knew it would be inconvenient. Eventually I laughed and told her to book the appointment because I planned on having my baby before then anyway. Well July 18th had arrived and I couldn’t believe I was making this final appointment before my due date. Sure enough the timing was extremely inconvenient because my in-laws had gone out of town (as planned) and so Brian actually had to come home early from work to help.

At the appointment I told the midwife that I couldn’t believe I had gone full term with my fourth! I was early with my last two kids so this just seemed crazy. I was 3.5 centimeters dilated at that point so she offered to strip my membranes to see if that would help and I accepted. She also went ahead and scheduled my induction date for a week later in case the baby still hadn’t arrived. A week later?! Please Lord don’t let me be a week late… is all I could think about.

I left the doctors appointment sore from the stripping but skeptical it would actually work. The night was young and Brian already had plans to help our friends, the Magnone’s, move if the baby hadn’t come. I decided to accept an invitation to take the kids to the drive-in with our good friends, the Ballard’s, who would be moving soon and we wanted to take advantage of as much time with them as possible. We went to dinner at Souplantation and then caravaned to the Santee Drive-In for the premier of Planes 2.

I had packed a bag for the kids before leaving for dinner with necessities should I go into labor sometime during the weekend while my in-laws were out of town. I decided to take the bag with us to the drive-in just in case. The Ballard’s had offered to take our kids if we needed them to when baby time rolled around but I honestly couldn’t imagine taking them up on that offer… unless of course I was to start labor at the drive-in with them and my in-laws happen to not be in town to help.

Well wouldn’t you know on our way from dinner to the drive-in I had a pretty good contraction in the car. It kind of shook me and so I started paying attention to the time. More than 10 minutes went by and I had not had another contraction so I left it alone. When we arrived at the drive-in there was a line of cars to get in for the premier. We inched forward slowly to pay when I had another good contraction. This one freaked me out because I suddenly felt claustrophobic blocked in by all the cars trying to get into the drive-in. I called the Ballard’s, who were in front of me in the line, and verified a plan should I really go into labor that night. They assured me that they could take the kids and it wouldn’t be a problem. I relaxed a little but kept an eye on the clock.

It was early in the 8 o’clock hour when we pulled into the drive-in. The movie started and my contractions didn’t stop coming. By 9 o’clock I had to call Brian, “My contractions have been about 7 minutes apart for the last hour you need to come get me… they told us not to mess around if I thought I was in labor because it is my fourth baby and my last came so quickly.” Brian quickly left the Magnone house in La Mesa to come get me at the drive-in. We left the kids with the Ballards and rushed home. We had to run home because I had not grabbed my own hospital bags when I left for the night (at this point I felt confident we still had the time to do this). Brian hoped in the shower, having been all sweaty helping our friends move, and I grabbed the bags and my final toiletries.

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We arrived at the hospital and were checked in by about 10:45pm. I was 5 centimeters dilated at that point. Earlier in my pregnancy I had contemplated wanting to try to hold off on the epidural and see if I could deliver naturally (I made it to 8.5 centimeters with Pierce). More recently, however, I felt fine with the idea of simply getting the epidural and enjoying the deliveries I was used to. So I opted for the epidural which unfortunately took a while to get together and a while to kick in. I labored for about another hour with pretty intense contractions and the shakes. The epidural slowly kicked in on one side of my body but not the other… so I had to be re-positioned to help it take full effect.

A little after 12am I got enough relief from the contractions to allow me to take a little nap. For about an hour I snoozed until suddenly I was jolted awake. Not painfully, but something had changed. And then I felt it. I felt warm and I knew my water had broke. I nudged Brian, who had also dosed off, and we called in the nurse. She confirmed my water broke and that I was at 10 centimeters. All of a sudden I became aware that I was able to feel the warmth of my water breaking… and I felt the nurse check me… and I could wiggle my toes. What on earth?! Why could I feel those things? I felt nothing when I had gotten epidurals in the past… so why could I feel these things? I felt a little panicked. Was I going to feel this labor? The nurse and midwife assured me that I wanted to “feel” something otherwise it would be harder for me to push. Brian reminded me that that had been true of my labor with Pierce… it took me a couple of extra tries pushing him out because I was having trouble knowing where to push since I couldn’t feel anything. Either way, the midwife told me I was at 10 centimeters so I would be needing to push the next contraction.

The contraction came and I puuuuuuushed. Everyone in the room got excited which assured me my pushing was fruitful. The baby’s head could be seen but we would have to wait for the next contraction. The second contraction came and I puuuuushed. I pushed and blew like the midwife instructed. The baby’s head was out and with one more push the baby’s body was out. Our baby was here!

Our baby GIRL was here!

WE HAD A BABY GIRL!

We couldn’t believe it!!!

At 1:36am all 6 lbs 13 oz and 18 inches of HER was here for us to hold and to love.

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MEETING LORELEI KATHLEEN GRIFFIN

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If you would like to read about how how we did the first week home welcoming Lorelei into the family, you can CLICK HERE.

Making Room for Baby: A (Forced) Nesting Checklist

I am officially five days away from my due date. If I am being honest, I am not sure what I am still doing pregnant. Seriously though. Eliann was on time. David was two-and-half weeks early. Pierce was nine days early. And Baby #4 what is going on? I am not technically passed my due date (yet!) but I kind of set myself up for this awful lull by thinking that as soon as July came it was baby time. Guess what? It has been two whole weeks in July and nothing… which can seem like eternity to a preggo who is ready to move on with having a baby.

I honestly had no intention of wanting to feel “prepared” before baby. It’s our fourth so I am kind of like… we got this! Or… we’ll just wing it! Not knowing the sex of our baby wasn’t helping either because I kept getting stuck thinking I won’t feel fully prepared because I don’t know what color to finish off the trimmings in the nursery. Boo-hoo. I sulked for a little bit… but I couldn’t sulk for two whole weeks! Since God is affording me this extra time before baby, I figured it wouldn’t be wise not to make the most of it… hence the FORCED nesting (although I honestly don’t want to be nesting).

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10 THINGS TO CROSS OFF YOUR NESTING CHECKLIST PRE-BABY

I have done some shopping and prepping around the house in the last two weeks before my due date that I think would be useful to list in case you are feeling anxious for baby and don’t quite know how else to feel prepared (outside of washing the baby clothes, packing a hospital bag and finishing off the nursery decor where I got stuck). They aren’t in any particular order and they aren’t necessarily things you should do (have someone else do them), but in my experience bringing three other babies home, having done these things ahead of time (or wishing I had) made for a smoother transition once we got home from the hospital with baby.

1. PUT AWAY YOUR BABY GIFTS

Most families are blessed to receive baby gifts before baby arrives. Do yourself a favor and find them a home now. Having gifts just lying around unopened or unwashed can lead to them not even being used! You wont have time to deal with opening a package, setting up gear, or washing a baby item once baby is here (especially when dealing with a newborn). You’ll always opt to grab something that is ready to be used because its convenient. So do the prep-work now. Open them, prep them (build them, put batteries in, wash them, etc.) and find your gifts a home to make sure they are ready for use.

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2. ANTICIPATE AND CREATE SPACES FOR BABY AROUND YOUR HOUSE

Most people who bring home their new baby don’t put them straight to sleep in their own room. For the most part you’ll want the baby in the same room with you until they are a couple of months old. So anticipate where baby (and baby gear) might need to have a spot around your house.

For example, each of our babies have slept in our room with us in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed. We transitioned our babies to their crib in the nursery at different times but somewhere between 3-8 months after they were born. So outside of the nursery itself, I set up a space for baby right in my room. It includes where the baby will sleep (co-sleeper) and supplies for baby (diapers, wipes, extra outfits, etc) so that I don’t have to get up and fetch these items from somewhere else in the house.

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Anticipate problem areas too. When I first set up the space above next to my bed, I thought about waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. The lamp on my dresser was far away and sits taller than my bed, so it was going to end up flooding the room with way more light than any of us would care for. I decided turning on that lamp wasn’t going to be a good idea and that I needed another solution. I quickly came up with the idea that I would attach a flexible reading lamp on the frame of our bed next to me that I could easily turn on and off and have facing the floor. That way I get enough light to feed but the room isn’t completely lit and I don’t even have to get out of bed. Win-win!

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There are other places around the house to consider setting up a space for baby too: near your computer or work space, in the family room, the dining room, etc. Setting up some baby gear like a pack-n-play, baby swing or baby rocker strategically in these areas will help you feel like you can enjoy those rooms with baby without needing to hold them the whole time or putting them down somewhere further away than you would like them to be if they fall asleep. Keeping a small caddy in these areas with diapers, wipes and an outfit can help you avoid needing to get up and walk somewhere else in the house to change a diaper.

3. CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE

What?! Before you think I am just inventing extra work to do (although it does feel like it at this point) let me tell you why this makes sense. No one really likes cleaning out the fridge. We all find something nasty in there that makes us sad we took on that project in the first place. So having to clean out the fridge when you just brought a baby home would be extra lame to have to do. But why would you want your fridge clean before baby?

For one, cleaning out your fridge would alert you to any staples that you should have on hand that you may need to re-stock before baby (you don’t want to have to run to the store as soon as you get home because you are out of milk or bread, right?). Need help thinking through what staples would be good to have on hand? Click here for a list from The Well-Stocked Kitchen: Freezer, Fridge, and Pantry.

For two, when your family and friends drop by to see the baby and hopefully bring you a meal, your fridge will be ready to receive it or to take in the leftovers. You don’t want to be stressed trying to find room for the extra food. Make sense? It’s helpful, I promise.

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4. TAKE INVENTORY OF THE SNACKAGE IN YOUR HOME AND STOCK ACCORDINGLY

This is serious business. There is nothing worse (at least you’ll think it) when you get home and are up sleepless for the first couple of days with a newborn and all you really want is to order ask someone to bring you a cookie or ice cream only to realize there is none in the house! Someone might love you and honor your request by running to the store to grab you some (or someone may be just as tired as you and can’t possibly want to get dressed to grant you this request which could turn into a spat because you just pushed a bowling ball out your hooha and they can’t go get you a cookie from the store?!) Avoid this drama… seriously. Plan ahead and stock up on your favorite munchies (and your families favorite munchies) so that when things get rough post-baby you can at least count on knowing your favorite treat is waiting for you in the pantry.

Practically speaking too… if you know you will have other people in your house when you bring baby home (spouse, kids, etc.) having these extra easy to grab snacks on hand will help you avoid getting frustrated when they are walking around saying “we’re hungry” and you don’t have the energy to whip up something for them to eat. You can simply direct them to one of these items until meal time (which hopefully others can help you with for the first week or two). The snacks don’t have to all be junk either (think fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, sandwiches you make ahead of time and freeze, etc.).

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5. DO YOUR LAUNDRY 

If at all possible staying ahead of your laundry pile before bringing a new baby home is ideal. You will  be producing more laundry than ever before the second your baby comes home, so you don’t want to be in the hole with laundry before this happens. Plus baby items will get priority washing so you want to make sure your adult laundry is definitely able to get you through a week or two without needing to throw in a load.

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Other piles you may want fresh before baby arrives is your bedding and towels (especially if you will be having guests over to help when baby arrives). Get those piles done and beds made now so you aren’t stripping sheets and making beds when you get home with baby.

6. CLEAN OUT THE CAR WHEN YOU INSTALL YOUR CAR SEAT

Trust us, you may as well. You have to make room for your car seat before you head to the hospital anyway, so take that time to clean out your car. It may be the last time it gets that kind of love for a while. Plus baby stuff will be everywhere soon so having the car clean will help you feel more prepared when you rush out the house two days after baby is born for their first doctors appointment.

Because we have other children this step also included coming up with a whole new configuration for the car seats in the car. We had to think through what would make the most sense for where our other children would sit (thinking through how everyone would get buckled in).

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7. BOIL THE BABY BASICS

Now is the time to open up or pull out all your baby bottle supplies, breast pump parts and pacifiers to boil them ahead of time for disinfecting purposes. Having these items clean and ready to go where they will be needed saves time and energy.

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 8. PAMPER YOURSELF

Seriously! It will be baby time soon, so make sure you think of yourself ahead of time. You wont have time for that hair cut or pedicure for a while post-baby so get it done right before to make sure they last the longest. And you may as well make it an event with friends because you may not be able to get out without a baby for a while either.

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Other ways you can think of yourself ahead of time is to consider what you might need to feel “cute” post-baby. Think a new robe for walking around the house, comfy cute pajamas you wont mind visitors seeing you in, new slippers, new undies you don’t care about ruining with post baby recovery (lets keep it real). Take stock of your toiletries so you feel like you will have what you need to pull yourself together (deodorant, make up, hair spray, etc.). It makes a huge difference when you are able to help yourself feel good about your appearance post-baby.

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 9. THINK OF OTHERS

When a baby arrives on the scene they demand a lot of love, care and attention. This can leave others around you feeling a little neglected. Your spouse and other children can especially feel this way because you are there… but not really 100% there for them. This will be especially tricky for our family this time around because it is Summer time and all three of my other kids are home. In order to make this transition for our family easier I have decided to buy some gifts to give each of the other members of my family to open when baby arrives. The gifts I chose to buy them have nothing to do with baby. They are thoughtful gifts just for them and I specifically tried to make it a gift that would entertain them so they have something new to do or play with around the house.

Daddy- Barnes and Noble Gift Card (to go pick out some new books to read)
Eliann (7yo)- Sketch Book, How To Draw Your Favorite Characters Book, Color Pencils
David (5yo)- Ride-On Swing Car from JoyBay
Pierce (2yo)- Transformers Bumble Bee Toddler Car

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10. PREP A FEW DINNERS

Now this one is really a stretch, but if you have the time and energy it can be a life saver. Hopefully friends and family will be around to help you with your first couple of meals. But after that you can feel on your own pretty quick and desperately trying not to think about how dinner time has rolled around again and you have to eat (especially if you are nursing). If at all possible, making some meals ahead of time (freezer meals) or even just cooking meat ahead of time (seasoned ground beef/turkey or chicken you shred and freeze) could help tremendously. Don’t have time to cook? Stock your freezer with some easy meals (lasagna, pizza, chimichangas, etc.) whatever you have to do to feel like you can feed your family for a couple of weeks while you get it together with a new baby.

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There you have it folks… ten things I have inadvertently been forced to do while I have been waiting for Baby Griffin #4’s arrival. I hope you will find this list useful as you begin nesting or that it has sparked some of your own ideas for what you can get done before bringing baby home.

Feel free to share your own tips for how you have nested pre-baby too!

PS. If you have other children… one other thing I think I will be doing before baby arrives is to lay out the clothes I will want my kids to wear when they head to the hospital to meet baby for the first time. If you don’t want to be surprised by what others may throw on your kids when they go visit you and/or you are someone who thinks through picture memories etc. then you totally know why this one makes sense.