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Ellis Jacobi Gianchetta

On July 11, 2010 at 5:56am Ellis Jacobi Gianchetta was born at home.  To say we were thrilled to welcome baby boy number 3 into our family is an understatement.  We could not be more excited for this little guy!

On July 9th we had Garrett’s 3rd Birthday Party.  It was a hot, busy, fun day.  We were so exhausted after the party that we pretty much laid low.  The next day we decided to run out to the outlets in Leesburg to look at some home stores for light fixtures for the new house.  We brought all of our swimming gear and planned to hit one of the pools further from our house in the afternoon.  It was so hot that our time at the outlets was short and we spent our afternoon swimming.  On our way home we grabbed dinner and the boys fell asleep.

Once we were home I decided to load up a car full of boxes to take to my friend Lindsay that was moving.  I packed all the boxes, ran them over to her house, came home and then packed another car full to deliver to her the next morning when we had a play date planned.  After all that, I was pretty tired, so I ended up just getting into bed around 8:30pm to relax and watch tv.  I kept dozing in and out but was having a really hard time getting comfortable.  I kept thinking “Man, these Braxton Hicks contractions are really kicking my butt tonight.”  Then Travis told me that a friend of his from college was in labor.  In my mind I thought it would be funny if we ended up having a baby on the same day.  But I wasn’t in labor, so the odds of that were slim.  I kept trying to get comfortable and sleep.

Around 11:00pm my contractions woke me up and for the first time I felt like they were even in my back.  I still wasn’t going to admit I was in labor.  I just kept trying to find a position I could sleep in.  A little while later I got an upset stomach.  After going to the bathroom 3 times in about 40 minutes, Travis quit asking me if I was in labor and told me that I was in labor.  He wanted to call the mid-wife, but I was still not sure I was ready for her.  My previous births had been so slow and I didn’t want to have a houseful of people for 18 hours.  However, within a few minutes he finally just called the mid-wife.  After talking to him she didn’t think it was time to come yet, but wanted us to call back in an hour or so.  Travis then called our birth assistant who asked to speak to me.  Between calling the midwife and speaking to the birth assistant, my labor had really progressed.  Our birth assistant, Martha, told Travis she was coming and that he needed to call Regina the mid-wife back and tell her to come.  I guess I sounded pretty far along.  Travis called Regina and she made was on her way.  At some point during all this we had to make the bed to get ready for the birth and I made Travis clean off our dresser and night stands.  I did not want to look at clutter while I was in labor.  We got our birth supplies out of the closet and just labored.  Oh, and we called our babysitter to come be with the boys.  She slept through all of our texts and calls.  Luckily we had a backup and that turned out to be the biggest blessing!

Eventually the mid-wife Regina, the training mid-wife Safia, our birth assistant Martha and my friend Heather were all there.  Heather lives close to us and is a good friend.  She kept saying if something happened and we needed her to call, so we took her up on the offer.  It ended up being perfect, I am so glad our babysitter didn’t get our messages until after Ellis was born!  I ended up laboring all night and delivering Ellis at 5:56am.  We didn’t know the gender of the baby, so it was such an exciting surprise to find out we had another baby boy!

Ellis’ labor was my shortest of all three boys, however, I think it is safe to say it was my hardest.  He was almost born in the bag of waters.  He also came out with one hand up on his face.  This made pushing extremely difficult.  I actually felt him turning in my pelvis twice at the end of labor.  I wasn’t surprised about his arm being up though, I had been getting hit in my hips for weeks!  Giving birth at home was amazing.  It was such a different experience from the hospital. I had great hospital births but I hate the hospital.  When you are at home, the mid-wives clean everything up, make sure you and baby are okay and leave quickly.  By 9am it was just our family with no interruptions.  In a hospital, we would have spent the day being bothered.  Also, during labor I had so much more ability to control my situation. I could move anytime I wanted.  No one wanted to mess with my natural labor, there was no pressure to check me, break my water or check the baby’s heartbeat every 5 minutes.  They monitored my progress based on my appearance mainly and listened a few times to the heartbeat.  They encouraged me to move as I felt most comfortable and suggested changes in positions when I seemed to need it.  They only examined me once, at my request, when I was 7 cm.  When I was discouraged that I was not further along, they suggested I get in the shower and it made all the difference.  (Side note– with all three of my kids I have been checked at 7cm and been so disappointed that I wasn’t further along.  Turns out that is transition for me.)  After the shower I was ready to push, though it took at least 45 minutes of pushing.  This was by far the most I’ve ever had to push and the most painful.  Damn arm on his face!!

Ellis’ birth was perfect.  I labored at night and he arrived in the early morning before the big boys woke up.  It was so perfect for Travis and I to just have the space to work together through my labor.  I was really impressed with our mid-wives.  Safia was the training mid-wife and she mainly attended me.  She had the best bedside manner.  You would have had no idea that she was just finishing her training.  It was also amazing to have a good friend present at Ellis’ birth.  She gave me words of encouragement when I needed it and cried with us when he arrived.  Then as only a close friend could do, she made me breakfast and literally fed it to me in bed while I nursed Ellis for the first time and was attended to.  She shuttled our big boys into bed with us when they woke up and kept them entertained when we needed space.  Heather was a God send, no doubt!

Our adjustment to a family of 5 has been pretty smooth.  The boys love Ellis and are great with him.  He is the best baby!  He sleeps and is easy going.  He loves to be held but he is so snuggly that no one minds!  We love our boys and are so excited to have Ellis Jacobi!



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G’s Soccer Party

Disclaimer– this was written before Ellis was born on Monday morning (the party was Saturday).

On Saturday after his Birthday, we had Garrett’s big party.  He chose a soccer theme and we hosted at one of his favorite parks.  The park is perfect because they have a big grass field where we could set up soccer nets and the kids could kick around the soccer ball.  There are a few picnic tables around and I was able to snag one easily.  Then the playground itself is right there and good for kids of different ages.  They even have an old school Merry-Go-‘Round that all the kids love.  (I’m still not sure how it hasn’t been torn out for safety reasons, but most parents aren’t complaining.  The kids LOVE it!)  And the most important part for the pregnant Mommy, there is a pool right there where they let you use the bathroom even if you aren’t a member.  Believe me, I took advantage of their of kindness!

Garrett had a blast at his party.  We intentionally kept it very low-key.  I knew I was going to be either very pregnant or have a brand new baby and there was no way I was going to be coordinating a bunch of games.  We set up a small soccer field with two nets and then put some extra cones around in case kids wanted to kick the ball around or through the cones.  Mostly the kids congregated around one net and just kicked the balls in or played on the playground. We had lots of snacks and, as usual, I made a special cake.  Going with the easy theme, I made a soccer ball cake and then surrounded it with cupcakes that made up the “grass”.  Although the cake was easy, I still stayed up until 3am the night before finishing decorating it.  I can never seem to get it together and not finish the cake well into the night before the party!

This was the first party where Garrett really picked the guest list.  He invited all of his classmates from preschool and then our friends from the Mom’s group that we’ve had since Jack was a baby.  He was so excited to have his friends there!  Most of the kids G’s age have an older sibling the same age as Jack, so we had quite a crew of 3 year olds and almost 5 year olds.  This year Garrett chose to have his guests donate supplies and/or money to the local humane society instead of bring gifts for him.  I feel strongly that my kids receive all the gifts they could want or need from family at their Birthdays and don’t need more gifts from their friends.  Every year I give the kids a choice of either doing some sort of book or puzzle swap or collecting for a charity.  This year a friend said that she had recently attended a Birthday party where they collected for an animal shelter.  Garrett thought this was a great idea, so in lieu of gifts we asked that friends bring a donation.  I know my kids had a lot of fun picking out treats and toys for the dogs at the shelter.  Plus, I like the idea of teaching my kids that their Birthday isn’t just about getting stuff but about celebrating being a year older.  They don’t need all the stuff to have a fun party!

I made it through the big party without having a baby.  That was my big goal.  Just get through G’s Birthday and party and then baby could come along whenever it was ready.  Success!!!

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Watch out…

Here come the updates.  Or at least I hope!  I guess 4 months have flown by, because I have not updated my blog in a long time.  My Sis kindly reminded me that it is okay to blog once in a while, so here goes.  I’m going to try to update with posts of things we’ve done over the past 4 months.  Starting with…oh, let’s say having a baby.  Maybe that’s why I haven’t been writing much.

Forgive my random posts over the next few days.  They will likely be out of order and potentially even written months ago but never posted because I didn’t have time to upload the photos.  Stay tuned if you want the update.

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Happy 3rd Birthday Garrett!

Our little G is 3!  I can hardly believe that our little man turned 3 years old today.  I’m not sure where the time has gone, but it seems that it is flying by.  We had a great day celebrating our big boy.

On Saturday Garrett will have his big Birthday party.  This year, with a little gentle encouragement from Mom, G chose a soccer themed party.  We will be hosting the party at one of his favorite parks where the kids will be able to play soccer or on the playground.  I’m making him a soccer ball cake surrounded by cupcakes to make the field.  Since I’m now 10 days out from my due date, I’ve been pushing for an easy theme and cake.  I don’t think it gets much more simple than this!  He is very excited and asks every morning if it is his party day!

To celebrate the big day today, we spent the better part of the day at one of our favorite pools, Pirate’s Cove.  We had originally hoped to make it to another pool in the area that we recently went to and loved, but a lot of our Mom’s Group friends are out of town.  Another group of friends mainly from preschool coincidentally planned a day at Pirate’s Cove, so we joined them along with Marcy, Jacob & Ellie.  The kids had the best time swimming.  G went on the bigger tube slide for the first time today.  Up until very recently he has been afraid of covered slides of any sort.  About a month ago he conquered that fear and today he went straight for the big slide.  We played in the sand box, had lunch and enjoyed spending time with all of our friends.  The boys both fell asleep on the way out of the parking lot and got a good nap.  Once Daddy got home Garrett opened his presents.  He was very excited to open gifts.  He was hoping for building “stuff” and was so glad that both sets of Grandparents obliged with Legos & MagnaTiles.  Mommy & Daddy really struggled with gifts for the G man, so we got him a couple of new games, a book and a stomp rocket.  Brother got him a tennis set that he was super excited about and that I’m sure will provide hours of entertainment for them.  After presents we headed to G’s favorite restaurant for dinner, Chipotle.  He was a pretty cheap date, so we splurged and let the kids have the kids meals with juice boxes.  Big stuff for them!  Dinner was followed by cupcakes at Buzz.  Garrett seemed to really enjoy his day and gave me huge hugs at bedtime.  It was great!

As for the update on Garrett in general, he is now 27 lbs and 36″ tall (in shoes).  He continues to be our small, skinny boy; though I keep contending that he is putting meat on his bones and starting to get pretend chub.  Travis laughs at me and says he is still ridiculously small!  He eats like a horse and is not the least bit picky when it comes to food.  He loves veggies, doesn’t care if things mix together and will try whatever food is given to him.  He loves sweets, especially cake and brownies and at least once a week asks if he can have some sort of dessert for breakfast.

He is much more the people pleaser than Jack and certainly likes to make his brother happy.  This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have a mind of his own, but just that if it isn’t a big deal to him then he is the one to broker a trade or give something up.  He has a harder time when he is the one to make the choice and often makes a decision based on what he thinks others would like.  A great example of this happened recently.  One afternoon Jack and I were asking Garrett what he wanted for his Birthday.  Garrett didn’t have any ideas, so we started throwing some out to him.  He just agreed to everything we suggested.  After a few minutes he told me to let Jack pick out his gift.  I thought he meant that Jack would know what he liked but then G corrected me and said “No Mom.  Just buy something that Jack would like and it’ll be a fine present for me.”  When I explained that he got to ask for things that he wanted because it was his special day and he didn’t need to consider what would make Jack happy, he got this very pained look on his face.  He then told me “Mom, just don’t get me too many presents.  I have lots of toys and I don’t need more things.  And if I have too many things to open on my Birthday it will just make me sick in my belly.  Just get something Jack wants and that will be good.”  Then he walked out of the room, leaving me speechless and feeling a bit guilty.  He really doesn’t care about stuff and he really does care about his brother.  He is a sweet-natured kid.

At age 3 Garrett has probably the most developed sense of humor I have ever seen in a young kid.  He is funny, cracks jokes and finds humor in places that are unimaginable for a kid of his age.  He has the art of the punch line down and knows how to play it straight.  His sense of humor is a bit dry and honestly I can’t imagine how he comes up with things.  He certainly takes after Travis with his quick one liners.  He keeps us entertained!  Occasionally he is overt, but for the most part, like every other aspect of his personality, he just flies under the radar cracking little jokes.  He just has a cool personality!

All that being said, Garrett is the instigator at our house.  He is a bit sneaky and knows just how to get his brother in trouble.  He can push Jack’s buttons easily and knows when to back off to make sure that he gets in less trouble than Jack.  He hates to be in trouble and goes straight for the full on fit when he thinks he is going to be reprimanded.  He is starting to throw tantrums that can be quite dramatic.  However, if you tell him to turn it off then he generally will.  It is like the flip of a switch.  If he thinks you mean business when he is throwing a fit, then he can turn it off immediately.  He is strong-willed but generally easily dissuaded.  And he is confident and comfortable on his own, even to a fault.  Recently we have had to pay extra attention when we are getting ready to leave someplace, because if we have articulated that we are heading to the car then he is likely to just walk out and stand next to the car waiting for us.  It doesn’t matter that we were headed to the restroom or something first, because he is ready to go and he’ll just wait there for us.  We are working on this!

Garrett is our precious 3-year-old boy. He makes us laugh, keeps the peace and drives us crazy…sometimes all in a matter of minutes.  He is such a good boy and a joy to those around him.  We are thankful for our little G Man.  Happy Birthday baby boy!

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A Very Happy Mother’s Day

Today was an excellent Mother’s Day!  My little boys woke me up on the early side, but they were pretty good and played together while I got my coffee and woke up a bit.  They were very excited for Mother’s Day and both wished me a Happy Mother’s Day right when they came downstairs.  They couldn’t wait for me to open all my gifts.  While they waited patiently for Daddy to wake up, they made me cards.

Gift giving is pretty special in our family. The boys love to give gifts and they pick out all the gifts that they give. This can be a real exercise in patience for the parent that accompanies them on their shopping trip.  However, it is always worth it because they are very thoughtful and really do pick out great gifts.  This year for Mother’s Day the boys picked out a new nightgown and robe for me.  The nightgown is red with small black pin dots and the robe is white with red ladybugs all over it.  This was the one gift they picked out together, being sure to go up a size so it would fit over my big belly and I can wear it right away!  Jackson got me a set of plastic tumblers for “really big drinks” and “eating out on the patio”, along with a new glasses case for the new pair of eye glasses I recently got and some chocolates.  He also made me neat plate at school that said “To Mom I Love You Jackson” with each word written in a different color.  The super sweet part of this was that the To was in red (because it is a love color), the Mom was in orange (it is my favorite color), the Love was in pink (another love color) and the Jackson was in purple (his favorite color).  I knew the significance immediately, but he was quick to explain it as well.  Garrett picked out a set of glass ramekins with lids for me.  He really liked them because he knew I like things to use in my kitchen, but even more importantly the picture on the box showed one of them filled with sprinkles.  Since you can’t go wrong with sprinkles, he just had to have those for me!  He also picked out some chocolates for me and made a gift for me at school.  Garrett’s gift from school is an adorable little box that he painted including thumb print drawings of flowers, a bee, a butterfly and a ladybug.  Tucked inside was a little chocolate and a cute saying, while the outside rim of the lid had a scripture written on it.  It is so sweet!  Both boys even picked out gift bags for my presents.  Keeping with his being good to the earth theme, Jackson picked out a reuseable bag!

After presents we quickly got ready and headed to church.  The service was excellent as usual and the boys sang in the Cherub Choir at the service immediately following ours.  We’ve missed quite a bit of choir practice lately for various reasons, so the boys weren’t as confident singing their song as usual.  However, they did fine and had a great time.

After church we had breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast joints and then played mini-golf.  We golfed at our favorite $2 per person course at the local county camp ground.  We love to mini-golf there because there is rarely anyone else there.  We never get rushed and we can play the holes more than once if we want to.  Mini-golfing is one of my favorite family activities.  The boys have so much fun and they are such a crack up to watch.  Every time Garrett makes it in the hole, it is a hole-in-one even if it is his 10th shot on the hole.  Jack plays ahead of us most of the time but circles back to “help” us with our shots when necessary.  They always have a blast!

Jack has hockey on Sunday nights.  After a little nap for each of the kids, we all went to hockey.  I didn’t go at all last week, so I actually saw a ton of improvement in Jack’s skating just from two weeks ago.  He loves the class he is in right now and skates so hard.  They really do skate hard for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I don’t know if I could keep up with them.  He is progressing so well and really gaining confidence.  He is one of the youngest and possibly smallest kids on the ice, but he is doing well.  There is a marked improvement in his skating ability and skill level in general since he started this session of mini-mites.  It is fun to see him improve!

After hockey my boys took me out for Bar-B-Que.  Since it was such a nice evening we were able to sit outside.  The kids were once again excellent at dinner and we really just got to hang out and enjoy each other.  Dinner was good too!

My Mother’s Day was really special.  The kids were so good today and very thoughtful all day long.  I enjoyed our day hanging out as a family and can’t think of anything that would have made it better.  I’m very thankful for my little guys and for my sweet hubby.  They worked hard all day to make it special for me.  I hope all the other special Mama’s in my life had it as good as I did today!  Happy Mother’s Day!

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Mother’s Day Cherub Choir

Jack and Garrett sang in the Cherub Choir today at church for Mother’s Day.  We’ve missed a lot of choir practice lately, so they didn’t know their song very well, but they were super excited and really enjoyed it.  As always, we think they were pretty cute!

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Earth Day Tree

Jackson was so excited for Earth Day a few weeks back.  He had been learning about Earth Day and caring for our planet at school and could not wait for this very special day.  For the past month of two he has been pretty concerned about conservation as he sees it.  He reminds us not to waste water when washing our hands or brushing our teeth.  He will often tell us that we should turn off extra lights around the house.  He is constantly looking for things to recycle and reminding us that we can turn empty bottles and other items into something new to use.  However, the most important point of conservation that seems to have stuck with Jack is that trees are really important to the environment.  He doesn’t like to see trees cut down and he tells us all about how the trees provide oxygen into the air so that it is clean and good for us.  I love the 4-year-old version of all of these things.  He is so serious and he loves to educate us all!

In an attempt to celebrate Earth Day, the boys planted trees.  Lowes was giving away free trees over the weekend of Earth Day, so we stopped in for ours.  Jack was hoping they would be apple trees so that he could eat the fruit.  They were Frasier Fir and he was equally excited, knowing they are Christmas Trees.  Of course the free tree was a pretty small sapling, too small to even plant effectively in the ground.  This was probably our good fortune since we can’t really plant anything at our real house right now.  We picked up our trees, each of the boys picked out a simple pot, we got our special soil and we were off.

The day we picked up our trees got away from us, so Travis helped the boys plant them a day or two later after dinner.  They loved planting and are so proud of their new trees.  Since they are so small we actually put them on our front porch and they get to see them every day.  They check on them all the time and are always adding leaves or sticks to the pots so that their trees have plenty of nourishment.  Daddy dutifully removes said sticks and leaves whenever he notices them!  The whole process makes me giggle!  A few days ago we noticed that both of their trees are sprouting and growing.  So far they are doing a great job caring for them.  They can’t wait for the trees to be big enough to plant.  In the meantime, they are enjoying them everyday!

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