Saturday, February 28, 2009

Girl Power: Schultzes and Gilmores form a team

Ericlee and his best friend, Chris Schultz, became new daddies within a few days of each other. Samantha Quinn Schultz was born Saturday, February 14, and Giada Esther Gilmore was born Monday, February 16. Samantha is girl number four and Giada is girl number two. We hosted a pizza party with the Schultzes on Saturday night and that meant eight girls and two daddies. That's some lonely y-chromosomes.
Sammy Q is so little and sweet. Daddy tries to soothe her...Will she be his basketball star?
And another proud daddy checks out his Giada with visions of future track meets in his head...
The mamas, Jen and Dorina, conclude the pregnancy journey and now begin a new journey together: mothering newborns.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Giada's First Bath

We gave Giada her first official bath today. Ok, she was born in a birthing tub so she's been "wet" before but now really scrubbed with soap and all that jazz. She wasn't the hugest fan. What babe likes to be stripped down and stuck in water at first. She sure did look like a cutie though.
Nana Maria and Big Sis Meilani were there to help with Giada's bath and listen to her little lamb cries when we washed her.
Giada tells her story about the experience...
Giada was most content after she was dried off, had a full tummy and was swaddled and sleeping on her little Lamby bed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Giada's First Outing: A Sunday Morning Excursion

Giada had her first outing today. We dressed her up and stuck her in the sling and took her with us to church. She was a big fan of the sling and snuggled up right away. This was the final Sunday of our church's February Missions Month with a focus this year on Haiti. Giada did pretty well. We sat all the way in the back row of the balcony. After a fat meal, Giada slept for the rest of service. She even got a mention by Pastor Scott in the sermon.

Mama survived the first outing with the Gilmore girls. I was grateful for all the help from my sister and Ericlee. It was nice to feel like a real person again and actually get out of the house after spending the week at home. Now onto my solo adventures with the girls...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big Sister Time!

We've already been blessed with visitors. My big sister, Caron, arrived on Tuesday evening from Seattle. She was hoping to make it in time for Giada's birth but since this babe arrived so quickly Auntie Caron made it in time for the after care and recovery. She's been spoiling us by cleaning the house, doing laundry, serving up meals and taking turns at holding Giada so Mama & Daddy can catch a little rest.
We also have another big sis in the house. For months now, Meilani has been talking about her new baby sister and eagerly awaiting her arrival. Meilani assured Mama that she would help with diaper changes, nursing and anything else we needed to take care of "her baby." Unfortunately, Meilani had a cold on Monday when Giada was born so she couldn't hold her baby right away. Nana Maria creatively sewed up this "Queen Esther" veil so Meilani could get a little closer without sharing germs.

Today, we let her hold Giada without the veil for a few minutes. Meilani loved nuzzling Giada's toes and stroking her soft baby head. She's even more excited about the day when sister can play with her.

Meilani helped Mama give Giada a sun bath...

Auntie Stacie brought flowers and a special Big Sister Gift for Meilani last night. She got a book about sisters and a special "Big Sister Badge" sticker in a card. So proud!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome, Baby Giada!

Our second daughter, Giada Esther Gilmore, was born at 6:31 p.m. Monday, February 16. She was born at home in a birthing tub and came in a fast 3 1/2 hours a full 6 days before her due date.

Meilani is now a proud older sister and she's taking her job very seriously - helping mama with diapers and often begging to "hold my baby" and help with nursing.

Ericlee once again served as the birthing coach. He helped me through each contraction, which started out very intense at 3 p.m. Monday. There was not much "Early Labor" to prepare for this little girl. We were grateful Ericlee was home because of the President's holiday.

Our certified nurse midwife, Marilyn Steinberg, was an absolute gem. Her knowledgeable yet gentle spirit were the perfect combination to give me confidence and assurance throughout the labor process.

Mom/Nana Maria served as a labor assistant. Marilyn's midwife assistant could not make it to the birth and my sister, Caron, was still en route from Seattle. My mom stepped up to the plate and really served as a great encouragement and support throughout the birth and especially for the alst 45 minutes of pushing Giada out!

Proud grandparents, Chris and Larry, were close by and were able to see Giada right after she was born and hold their new "fair-skinned" grandgirl.

Papa Doug was also able to see his granddaughter Giada right away and hold her close.

Giada is 21 inches long with long slender fingers and feet. There's already debate about whether this girl will play piano, hula dance or be a runner. We'll see what God decides!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Mother Blessing to celebrate a new mother journey

Some of my dearest mama friends gathered a few weeks ago to celebrate this new "mother journey" I am walking. As we anticipate the birth of our second girl, I realized I needed encouragement and the support of my friends more than gifts and shower games. Cori and Mary organized a "Mother Blessing" - a different kind of baby shower.

Of course, we indulged in some of the typical parts of a shower - or rather any party at the Gilmore House. The girls spoiled me with fabulous food: Amy's deluxe nachos, Mary's stuffed mushrooms, veggies & dip, spinach dip & pita and some decadent chocolate fondue for dessert. Yum-o for the pregnant belly!

Did I mention Giada is addicted to chocolate? Talk about cravings...

My friend Stacie, who is going to become a first-time mama later this year was also part of the festivities. She and her hubby, Forest, are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. (Stacie also happens to be one of Meilani's surrogate mamas or fave aunties.) Stacie walks this journey with me always offering her support of my decisions.

It was a privilege to share this day with my mom, Maria and my mother-in-law, Chris. My friend Amy who always inspires me with her fun-loving spirit and creativity also joined the party.

This party was also a chance to catch up with old friends like Beverly who I don't get to see that often. We usually get together with our kiddos and let them run wild together. What a treat to have some "just mama" time. Bev has taught me so much about flexibility and faith on the mother journey.

Both of my mothers started out the gathering by lighting candles and sharing a blessing for baby Giada. Mom Chris shared a story about how mothering is like building a house. Mom Maria also read some favorite passages from the Bible about love.

After the candle lighting, each of the mamas introduced themselves. Since these mamas represent many branches of my life, each one was asked to bring a special bead that somehow represented them or our friendship. Mary started out adding her bead to the necklace and relating how we became friends and have influenced each other.

My college roomie, Jen, even drove two hours from Escalon with her daughter, Ella, to bless me for birth number two. The mamas were asked to share a little blessing or poem or something to encourage me on the journey. Jen shared from a wonderful book called Great With Child by one of our professors from Calvin College.

Michelle Hansen (right), our pastor's wife and my mentor, prepared a devotional for the ladies. She read a story about motherhood and shared some of her joys and challenges of being a mother. One of the most memorable parts of what she shared was that each child is blessed with a story God is writing. As mothers we desire to take control of their stories but really we are called to join our children in their story for a short while and then we must release and let God continue His writing.

The Mother Blessing was a chance to celebrate some of the mamas I have been walking this pregnancy journey with as well. Jen Schultz is due two weeks before me and we have shared many of the day-to-day joys and challenges of pregnancy together as we both anticipate new baby girls. Cori is a few months behind me in her first pregnancy and she is my rock friend who always prays and gives me that shoulder to cry on in the journey. I can't wait for my Giada to meet and hang out with her Micah. (They'll only be a few months apart!)

Part of the gathering was a "foot washing" led by my mom. She talked about how mothering is often about serving our children, following Christ's model when he washed his disciples' feet. In pregnancy, I also have to learn how to let others serve and help me.

The Mother Blessing also was an opportunity to thank each mama for the ways they have influenced my life. There are many mothers in my life but these are the ones who have really poured into me. Some are mentors, others are friends. We pray for each other, hang out with our kids together and challenge each other along the way.

We had many rounds of food and some did bring gifts for baby Giada. Some brought "recycled" gifts - favorite clothing items from their own kids. Some brought practical gifts like diapers and jammies.

I really appreciated some of the handmade gifts like this wall painting for Giada's room, hand-stiched burp cloths and onesies, and even a beaded bracelet for me.

Meilani and Ella joined us at the end of the gathering to help open gifts, make us laugh and give hugs to all the mamas.

The Mother Blessing was a fun blessing for all the girls...

A poem shared at the Mother Blessing
Continue On

A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life.
She feared she was wasting her potential
being a devoted wife and mother. She wondered if
the time and energy she invested in her
husband and children would make a difference.

At times she got discouraged because so much
of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated.
"Is it worth it?" she often wondered. "Is there
something better that I could be doing with my time?"

It was during these moments of questioning that she heard
the still, small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart:
"You are a wife and mother because that is what I have
called you to be. Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye.
But I notice. Most of what you give is done without remuneration.
But I am your reward. Your husband cannot be the man I have called
him to be without your support. Your influence upon him is greater
than you think and more powerful than you will ever know. I bless
him through your service and honor him through your love. Your
children are precious to Me - even more precious than they are
to you. I have entrusted them to your care to raise for Me.
What you invest in them is an offering to Me.

"You may never be in the public spotlight.
But your obedience shines as a bright light before Me.
Continue On.
Remember, you are My servant. Do all to please Me."

"And whatsovever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that
of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23, 24 KJV