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Monday, April 28, 2014

On the Feast of St. Gianna Molla ...

... I want to introduce this blog to the newest member of our family who is already four months old!


Here is the story of her birth that I will put in her baby book:

Just like your brothers, you arrived to us later than expected. Though now we are thinking we should just start expecting our babies to be late and add on two weeks to the projected “due date.” Your due date was December 18th, so I was fully prepared to have you in my arms by Christmas, but that was not to be. After Christmas Day came and went, I looked at the upcoming feast days and noticed the feast of the Holy Innocence was coming up on the 28th. As your patroness, St. Gianna Molla, is also a pro-life hero, I thought having your birthday on this feast would be very fitting. It is also the day of your great-great-grandmother’s birth and she was a labor and delivery nurse!

Sure enough on the 27th I went into labor around 4pm. Since my other labors were long, I thought for sure you’d be born on the 28th. I called your dad and told him I was in labor. He came home right away. Contractions were about 20 minutes apart, so I was able to make sushi for dinner and we packed up John and Peter to go to Grandma and Grandpa Stockton’s house for the night. On the way to their house, we stopped to look at a toy shelf that someone was selling. We dropped off the boys and then went to Lowes to look at dishwashers as ours had been broken for a couple of weeks. We laughed because we were doing all these things during labor, but it was good for me to stay busy as long as I felt good.

We finally came home and I timed my contractions. They were still far apart, so we went to bed. I didn’t get much sleep because I would wake up with each contraction. I did get some rest though and your dad got quite a bit of sleep. I wanted him to be rested so he’d be a good coach. Peter was born only 15 minutes after we arrived to the hospital, and I didn’t want to repeat that with you. Every few hours I would tell Andrew that we should go to the hospital, but he kept telling me we should wait more. Around 6 am I felt hungry, so I got up and had some toast. Andrew got up too and we called the hospital just to tell them I was in labor and that we were going to stay at home a little longer. We went back to bed for a couple of hours. Around 8 am, we got up, took showers and packed up the car. I was still feeling good, but I wanted to be checked on my dilation since I had been in labor for a while.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the nurse told me I was dilated to between 4 and 5 centimeters. She said it was the perfect time to be admitted. By this time it was 9:30am. We decided to stay and they monitored my contractions and your heartbeat for a little while.


They quickly noticed that your heart rate was decelerating with about every third contraction. It was a concern and they put me on oxygen, and hydrated me through the IV. You and I also had to be monitored more, so I had to stay hooked up in the bed - something we wanted to avoid. Ideally I wanted to have freedom of movement so I could deal better with the pain. As it turns out I didn’t get out of the bed, except to use the bathroom, until after you were born!

My doctor recommended breaking my water to speed up labor and get you out. I wasn’t sure what to do and labor was getting more intense. He checked me and found I was dilated to 6 cm now and still recommended breaking my water. I was so indecisive, but fortunately I didn’t have to make a decision because a half-hour later, I felt the urge to push. “Urge” doesn’t seem like the right word because it was like my body took over and you shot out like a rocket! My doctor and nurse weren’t prepared for that because I had dilated so quickly at the end. The bed wasn’t even prepared for delivery. The nurse took off the sheet and your head was already coming out. The doctor was down the hall and rushed in after you were born!


We invited your Grandpa Stockton to be present for your birth. He and Great-Grandpa were in the room while I was laboring for a while and then Great-Grandpa decided he wanted to wait in the hall. So Grandpa was helping him out, when minutes later, I began pushing. As it was happening, I was yelling - “Get my Dad!!!” because I didn’t want him to miss it. He rushed in right as I was pushing and I had the pleasure of seeing his face, full of sheer joy, as he watched you enter the outside world.

You were immediately placed on my chest and I kissed your sweet, warm newborn face. I spoke your name, Gianna Frances. The only word that I can think of to describe this moment is “ethereal.” The moments surrounding your birth I will cherish and ponder all of my life. I thank our Good Lord that He has placed your in our family.


Gianna Frances was born on December 28th at 12:05pm, weighing 8 lbs 4 oz.




St. Gianna Molla, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

39 Weeks! Pregnancy Update

Tomorrow marks week 39 for me and our baby girl. Which means I probably have 1 to 3 weeks left! John was 9 days late and induced and Peter was 12 days late before I went into labor naturally. We are hoping for a natural birth again with this baby, so we shall see if she is more punctual than her brothers. - please, oh please!!

My feelings emotionally...

Last week was very emotional for me. I felt like I was on the verge of crying at any moment - happy or sad. On my way to my doctor's appointment last week, I dropped the boys off with my mom and went by myself listening to the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack in the car. Sunrise, Sunset came on and I lost it. Especially in these last few weeks, I can really relate to the fact that with each sunrise and sunset, I come one day closer to meeting our new child, and one day closer to our lives changing forever (in a great way).

I also get teary when I think about my little Peter, who will get booted out of the position of "baby" in our household. He is so sweet and will still come and snuggle some mornings in our bed with me. I love holding his little body and breathing in the smell of his hair. I know I'll still love doing that, but I also know that having a baby around will automatically make him a "bigger" boy, at least in my perspective.

John, on the other hand, is so big to me already - in stature and maturity. I am very excited to see him care for his sister. The vulnerability and helplessness of an infant is one of life's greatest lessons, and I am excited to see John in the roll of provider, even if it's just in small ways. It will also be great to have him around as Peter's accomplice. I know they'll still need my love and care, but having each other as entertainment will really help me (I hope!).

This week I am holding my tears back more and feel more determined to get things done and prepared. Yesterday alone, I got more done around the house than I usually do in a week!

Physically...

I've been feeling great! Especially this last week, I've had tons of energy. During my 1st and 2nd trimesters, I took a nap most days, but lately I've been getting up early and had energy to keep me going all day. Granted, I'm usually waddling and hobbling around, but I could take on the world!!

I'm sleeping comfortably, but I do wake up to adjust my position every once and a while, which takes a lot of effort. When I'm up and going, I feel great, but once I lie down, it's hard to move.

Right before Thanksgiving, we had a worry because my belly was measuring small. So we were worried that something could be wrong with the placenta. I had an ultrasound done and that checked out fine, which was a huge relief. Our girl is just more petite than the boys.

Having a baby growing inside me will always be astonishing. Sometimes I look at my belly and it is so hard to believe that I am carrying around a practically full-term baby. The miracle of life is humbling to be a part of.

Spiritually...

It has been great thinking of Our Blessed Mother as I journey along side her own liturgical pregnancy with Jesus. Most recently, I was feeling very overwhelmed by not being prepared enough for our daughter's birth. But then, I considered how Mary was traveling so late in her pregnancy and had so many unknowns to worry about - she didn't even have a place to stay! She gave birth in a barn and had to lay her sweet new Baby in a food trough for animals! So no matter how unprepared I feel, looking at Our Lady's trust that God will provide for her is a huge comfort and relief to me. I don't have to have it all together, I just need to trust and most of all, prepare my heart to welcome this new eternal soul into my care.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer Update!!

I am part of a letter writing group called the Round Robin. Members include relatives from my Grandma Stockton's side of the family - her sisters, their children and grandchildren. My grandma passed away in 2005, so it is nice to have a connection with her side of the family.

Below is the letter I am about to send off in the mail. I just realized that the last time I wrote to them, was around the same time of my last blog post, so it will serve as a good update for all my blog followers too! =)

~ ~ ~


I suppose the biggest news I have to share is that about a week after writing my last letter to you, we found out that we are pregnant with our third child! Praise God! Currently I am 27 weeks pregnant, due in mid-December, and we found out our baby is a girl!!! Having a little girl around here will be quite a change. I’m having a baby shower in the next couple weeks and our main need is clothing. It will be fun to get all the cute girl clothes. But I’m mostly just excited to watch our family grow and meet this newest member.

John (4) and Peter (almost 2) are really excited about having a baby sister and talk about her a lot. We still haven’t figured out a name for her yet, so please keep that in your prayers. Naming a person is a daunting task! =)

We are coming off of a long and glorious summer! The weather here was so beautiful that the boys and I spent most of the time outside. John really enjoyed having all the neighbor kids out of school and would sometimes spend up to 6 hours playing outside with the other children. Here are some of our other highlights since I wrote to you last:


  • John turned 4 on May 15th! He had a “Tigger” birthday with a bunch of his friends and family. His big present from us was a big-boy bike. Over the months, he has gotten really good at it and I think it’s almost time to take off his training wheels.
  • In May, we took the boys to Great Wolf Lodge, which is a nearby indoor water park. This was our second year going and it actually wasn’t that fun for the boys (or us) because Peter had a fever the whole time and John didn’t want to be in the water. We were thinking we may not go again until the boys are older, but we recently had a lot of fun swimming in Hawaii (see below), so maybe the boys would like it next year after all...
  • Family camp with our church over Father’s Day weekend. It was great because I didn’t have to cook the whole weekend! Probably more of a treat for me than Andrew, hahaha.
  • For the 4th of July we went on a camping trip with about 5 other families. We love camping and the boys do too. Nothing better than playing in the dirt for a couple days! We camped near a river, so the boys had fun throwing rocks in the water.
  • On August 9th, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. My parents took the boys overnight and we had the house to ourselves - it was really quiet!! We spent the day exploring the nearby town of Poulsbo. Andrew surprised me by telling me that we were going to go to Hawaii in early September!! 
  • Annual Huckleberry picking camping trip with Andrew’s family happened in mid-August. This was my sixth year going, but Andrew’s family has been going for over 50 years. I love being part of his family traditions. This year was a great year for berries - what we call “huckleberry heaven.” The main thing I do with the berries is make pies, so we measure our yield in “pies-worth” which is about 4 cups. This year we got 6 pies-worth, making it our best year yet! John is actually becoming a good little picker, but Peter just feasted on berries by the handful.

We just got back from a week-long trip to Hawaii. It was so relaxing and rejuvenating. We brought the boys with us and I was surprised how well they did traveling. Even the five-hour plane ride wasn’t too bad. We got to swim in the ocean every day, visit Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, swim in the Ko O’lina lagoons, go to the aquarium, and we enjoyed dinner twice with my Uncle Alan and Aunt Karen Stockton.

As you can see, it was a very full summer for us. Not to mention, we had weekly playdates with a group from our church. Now I am trying to settle down and prepare for home-educating John in pre-kindergarten. I just ordered some supplement books to use, but I’m going to try to focus on trips to the library, reading great books and giving him new experiences. I also have a long to-do list to prepare for our daughter’s birth. I’m in early nesting mode and see a lot of things I want to clean and organize around the house.

Swingsetmall.com just bought a new building for the business and it is currently being remodeled. It is an amazing process to witness and I am so proud of my parents and husband. The next time Robin flies by here, they will be all moved into the building and fully operating out of it! Also our little girl will probably be born and I’ll flood you all with baby pictures! =)

~ ~ ~

Eating s'mores by the fireside

Me and my daughter!

Our beautiful baby at 20 weeks

The boys showing off their new shirts from Hawaii

Andrew and the boys in Hawaii

Dinner with my Uncle Alan and Aunt Karen

Monday, April 8, 2013

My New Diary...

I think about my little blog quite often - at least once a day. Whenever I have a spare moment I think, oooooh maybe I could go write a post right now! But then I think of all the other things I could do around the house or with the boys and the blog always gets shoved on the back-burner. Then the evening comes and the wee-ones are tucked it, but alas my brain is fried at the end of the day, making it so difficult to get my words out.

I've thought a lot about the blog and it's purpose in my life. I read many blogs and so I have this mental image of what a blog is supposed to be and how often I should post. But I don't really want to have a "big" blog. I don't like thinking about total strangers reading about our personal lives. Yet, I do want to stay connected with my family and friends (and Facebook doesn't cut it all the time), and I do want to keep records of the details in our lives and the boys growing up so I can look back on it in the future - like a diary. 

So I will attempt to trudge forth and do my posts whenever time and inspiration allow. However, I do want to share with you something that has really made memory-keeping easy. I got the idea off of Pinterest:

"It's a daily calendar that is reused each year and gets better the longer you use it. Each day you write the year and something that happened that day like, "(Child's name) took her first steps." Imagine how neat it would be in 10 years."
I took this idea and decided to make it even easier by making it digital. I made a Word Document and titled it "On this day..." then I type the month and day, then the year - with one or two sentences about what happened that day. I've been doing this for over a month now and it is really easy to keep up with. And trust me, this Mama likes easy! I also like it because I'm not planning on sharing it with the world, so it doesn't matter if I'm eloquent, I just want to give my future self a few thoughts to jog my memory. Here is a sample of what I've written over the last few days:

April 5 
2013 - Friday, No mothers’ group. Went grocery shopping then to Grandma’s for a visit. We went out to Puerto Vallarta for dinner as a family and some people having a birthday thought the boys were cute and gave them each a balloon! 
April 6 
2013 - Saturday, Andrew and I both exercised! We are trying to get in shape and starting the journey! 
April 7 
2013 - Sunday, We arrived early to mass today and sat near the front!! Came home and cleaned the house. Had the Herrings over for dinner, the kids ran around like crazy!  
April 8 
2013 - Monday, Warm overcast day. We played outside and removed the fountain in the front and filled it in with dirt. John found a “sam-ann-ter” (salamander) and had fun torturing it playing with it. He was very intrigued.
My plan is to write future years under the same Month/Day. So for example, in three years, April 6th might look something like this:
April 6

2013 - Saturday, Andrew and I both exercised! We are trying to get in shape and starting the journey!

2014 - Sunday, Went to Mass and had a vision of our Blessed Mother.
2015 - Monday, Andrew let me sleep in and made breakfast for me in bed. PJ and JV cleaned the house for me.
2016 - Wednesday, Juniper Willow St.Hilaire was born this morning. She was born at 9:30am after a long restful night of sleep. Quick and easy labor and delivery with no complications. I'm already back in my pre-pregnancy clothes!
Yah, now let's wait and see if that all really happens!! ;) But it's cool, because you can look at any one day and see all the things you've done on that day. It will be really neat for the holidays because I can never remember all the details after a few years have gone by.

Anyway, I thought it was a good idea that I wanted to share with all you busy people out there who want to remember the simple day-to-day life that slips away so quickly.

Ta-ta for now!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Holiday Highlights

Well, hello! Yes, I'm still alive! I have a lot to share about the past few months. My last post was on November 15th, and now it's almost February!! That is cra-zy!

So welcome to my holiday catch-up post. I just went through all the pictures we took recently and it's going to be hard to not over-share! I'll try to keep it brief...

*****

We celebrated Andrew's 26th birthday:
We had a party with my parents and even busted out some huckleberry pie! I got him some nice gifts, but it's hard to compare with what I did for him last year - not sure how I will ever compete with that!


Thanksgiving:
We kept with our usual tradition of going to Bellingham. We had a lovely time with Andrew's family and even celebrated Mom's birthday while we were up there!



Bellingham Tree Cutting:
This is one of my treasured traditions. I have helped Andrew's parents select, cut, and decorate their Christmas tree every single year that we've known each other. Now it is a joy to see John and Peter helping with the decorating!




Funeral for Andrew's Uncle John:
Uncle John was Andrew's godfather and one of the men we named our John after. He passed away in mid-December and we decided to pack the car and head over the mountains to Kennewick for the funeral. It was so nice seeing a lot of extended family members and, most of all, celebrating the life of a great man! Andrew had the honor and privilege of being a pallbearer at the burial. Rest in peace, Uncle John!



My birthday/tree decorating:
I had a lovely birthday this year! Andrew took the boys out in the morning and I invited some of my friends over for a spa day. We all did pedicures and ate yummy food. It was a lot of fun! Then in the evening we had a family party and decorated our tree.
See if you can guess how old I am...

First tree in our new home!
Christmas:
We went to mass on Christmas Eve. Then my parents took the boys out to look at Christmas lights while Andrew and I went out to dinner. We tucked the boys in bed and finished setting up for Christmas morning. We had a cozy morning together in our jammies. Then we got ready and continued the celebration at my parents' home with Great-Grandpa and Uncle Aaron.




Family party at our house:
Around New Years, we hosted a "St.Hilaire" party. This was our biggest sit-down dinner so far in our new home. It worked out well and I'm glad the dining room is connected to the living room - so we can   use that space too if needed. We can't wait to host more parties!!


*****

Now that I'm caught up with the past, I'll soon be writing about what we are up to now! ;)
God Bless!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Halloween

Halloween was fun this year. John got to be St. Michael and Peter was St. Anthony (one of John's old costumes). We trick-or-treated to one of our neighbors houses but then went to the party at our church and "trunk-or-treating". Andrew won a huge jar of M&Ms for guessing the closest amount. Woohoo!





St. Michael and St. Anthony

All the loot!

So excited about the lollipop!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So big!


Peter at 1 year old

It was so hard to keep him still for this picture. He is a man on the move!!

Peter's Birthday Party!

Hard to believe Peter is already a year old!! The year went by so fast! I still think of him as my little baby, although he is pretty good at walking now so that makes him seem older. 

We waited a week to celebrate his birthday, so my parents would be back from their trip to Italy. It was a great party! I chose the theme "Very Hungry Caterpillar" because this little boy loves to eat! He is always asking for food and grazing for crumbs that drop on the floor. This is a change for me because John always has to be torn away from is toys to eat a meal.

Thanks to everyone who came to the celebration!




Haha, John looks funny here :)



The spread


Banana chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting.
Legs and antennas are pretzel bits.

With Great-Grandpa

Sugar coma 




Thanks everyone!!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bellingham in October

In mid-October we took a trip up to Bellingham to see Andrew's folks and go to a Brian Regan comedy show. Andrew surprised me with tickets to the show on our anniversary in August. It worked out well since we had some grandparents to babysit!

We always have a great time on our visits to Bellingham. Can't wait to go back for Thanksgiving in a couple weeks!!

We also had fun at the neighborhood park. Although, John did get a bloody nose, as you'll see below...






BONK!
 John is such a good kid! I instructed him to hold on to Peter on the slide. He sure did, even when they spun around backward. He took one for the team!!

Apparently Peter has a hard head!


At the show with my handsome date!