Thursday, September 18, 2014

the results are in...



We are praising the Lord for this precious life. A daughter! I have prayed many years for a little girl and the Lord waited, he said no, and now he has said, YES! 
We are so excited to meet her at the end of January 2015!


Monday, September 15, 2014

great giveaway!


GO enter this Giveaway at Little Hip Squeaks

1 // The Stokke Flexi Bath Tub -- Eli's very first home was our one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor that had a bathroom the size of most closets. We received one of the "regular" (read: gigantic) plastic tubs for him, that we had to store in our kitchen, under the dining table. E was not the only one sobbing during bath time during those early weeks. This time, we have a three bedroom, two story apartment, but being in Brooklyn means the bathrooms are still very, very small. The Stokke Flexi Tub is lightweight and folds up easily, so even if we did have to store it under our kitchen table, it would be a lot less obvious this time.

2 // The Orbit G3 Infant Seat -- this thing is pure genius. Not only does it provide state of the art safety features for your baby -- it has the most amazing design and functionality. The seat can be attached to a stroller base, and rotated a full 360 degrees or attached to their amazing rocker base for comfy-cozying once you've arrived to your destination and need a moment to unpack groceries, corral your toddler, or eat a giant slice of ice cream cake. Whichever.

3 // The Munchkin Lulla Vibe -- another product that I would have sold my left arm to have when Eli was an infant. Lots of people talk about the struggle of setting their baby down to sleep in their crib. I remember my mom suggesting we invent some sort of treadmill for a crib to sit on, so that the motion would lull him to sleep (unfortunately I decided to start LHS instead of this). The Lulla Vibe is a small pad that slips under their mattress and soothes baby to sleep with gentle vibrations -- and shuts off automatically after 30 minutes.

4 // The Ergobaby Carrier -- the first name that comes to mind when I think of baby carriers, is Ergo. We used a muslin wrap when E was a newborn, a sling when he was an infant, and the Ergo when he got fat -- but with the Infant insert, you can use an Ergo as early as 7lbs! My husband was able to carry him on his back while we roamed grocery stores, and I was able to throw him in the front when I was headed to grab coffee well into toddler-hood. The ergonomic design (I BET THAT'S WHERE THEY GET THEIR NAME FROM) positions the baby's' weight, so that you stay comfortable for a shocking amount of time. When you're at a Brooklyn Farmers Market, you can guarantee 1 out of every 4 people has an Ergo strapped to them.

5 // The Mamaroo by 4Moms -- this is one of those items that my mom suggested we create when Eli was about 4 months old and demanding round-the-clock bouncing. She suggested that we somehow strap E to a small trampoline (she's really very clever). I didn't hear about the Mamaroo until E was far too heavy to use it, so I am ten-levels of excited to give it a try with the Baby Lady!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Maxwell {10}


MAX,
Today you turn 10! Hard to believe a decade has passed since your birth! We are so very thankful to have you as our oldest son. 
You have a compassionate heart. I told you today that one of my favorite qualities about you is your ability to admit when you were wrong. It is truly a special thing, that I hope you never lose. I struggle with that so I am learning from you! 
You are so sweet to all your brothers, you help me out so much and I am so thankful for that! Just this morning Liam was complaining about having to go to school {mostly because he was overtired} and you encouraged his heart, telling him it's fun and the importance of learning to read and write. It was so sweet. 
You have been doing these comedy routines for me lately and you are pretty funny. We tell you when a joke isn't funny or doesn't make sense and you respond so well to any criticism.  This year you and Evan will play soccer together and I am excited to see you develop together. You have skills, and I am excited to see where soccer takes you. :) 
This is also your last year of elementary school, and I pray it's a good year for you. You are a good student but I know your work load will be increased. I will be praying you work hard and don't get too frustrated when you don't understand something. 
I pray as you enter this next decade the Lord grabs hold of your heart and you respond in awe to his greatness. I pray you have a deep desire to know him more and desire for him. Being young has challenges, one of the hardest being making decisions for yourself, and trying to understand life.
My prayer is that you will see your need for him, to live for him and not this world. 
Your Dad and I love you so very much. 
xoxo
Mom


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

baby six [6]


We are expecting our sixth baby in early 2015 {officially due February 1}. We were going back and forth about having another {we were also lightly looking into adoption} and God showed us our decision in May.
 My first reaction was one of pure joy and excitement. My heart fluttered with excitement of this sixth positive pregnancy as much as the first. Then a few days later I had a little moment of shock.  Growing up I did always see myself as a mama to two or three little ones. But four would be the ABSOLUTE max. I also saw a mix of boys and girls.

And now here we are. And if I am being completely honest I have struggled with not having a daughter. The last two ultrasounds were especially  difficult, as I had high hopes for welcoming a little girl into our house.
 I wrestled with the "why?" and cried MANY tears over it. And each time, God would wrap his loving arms around me and gently remind me to trust in HIS plan for our family.

When the time comes to find out about this little one growing inside me, I am trusting in the Sovereignty of God first, before what I think is best. He has been showing me how much beautiful, marvelous, merciful he is and I am already feeling less defeated, anxious, and overwhelmed.

I just love this quote from one of my favorite authors, Paul David Tripp.

"When my true spiritual condition reveals that I, in fact, love me more than anything else, I will always shrink the size of my care and concern, sacrifice and discipline, and hopes and dreams to the size of my own life. If I love God more than anything else, I will be pulled way beyond he borders of my own wants and needs to the spaciousness of God's kingdom, where redemption and restoration of all things is the order of the day, every day."

Holy smokes is this such a beautiful promise. In the circumstances of my life he is making me more trusting, and more dependent on him.  God is so good. He is so good to me. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

8 on the 8th day of the 8th month {EJ}

My water broke with Evan about midnight on the 7th of August 2006. I expected to begin some hard laboring right away, but the contractions were still pretty weak. Stubbornly, about 18 hours later at 6:40 PM you arrived. 

EJ is his own person. He can be so stubborn but so sweet at times. He doesn't let people tell him what to do which can get him in trouble sometimes too. He loves, loves, loves being around people. He always loves when we have people over, which is a good thing, because we do quite often.
  He has a deep affection for soda. It is a very rare treat in our house, and when he get his hands on some he enjoys every last sip.
He also has his own sense of fashion. He's into the high nike socks, and odd short/shirt combo's. Hates pants, and rotates through only certain clothes as he is quite picky about his clothes and CANNOT have a tag in a shirt. I just roll with it for the most part. 
He loves to laugh and I see his love for people in his heart. Though he often argues/fights with others I see his tender heart with others sometimes. He is very good with little ones and loves to entertain. 


Happy 8th EJ!

love,
Mom

Thursday, June 05, 2014

{3} Declan Paul

Dec-
    You are three! Hard to believe it has gone by so fast. You were my smallest baby, and so tiny to us when you were born!!! You were my easiest delivery by far, and we were overwhelmed with happiness to welcome you, our forth boy to our family!

 You are so full of life, you light up a room with your smile and giggle. Happy to talk to almost anyone, pretty fearless, and have a deep, deep love for your for your giraffe, whom you affectionately call, giraffe.
You love to play cars the most, but you also love jumping on the trampoline and playing soccer with your brothers. When they are out in the cul-de-sac playing kickball or something with the older kids you are happily out there, riding in your jeep or marching around with giraffe in hand. Your relationship with Griffin is so precious to me. You two are just 16 months apart and you are such a blessing to him. You love on him and help him out so much. It melts my heart. 
 I love when you cuddle up with me, but I love that you are so independent. You are bold, and sweet and such a helper. We are so excited to see you grow, to see what the Lord has in store for your life.

          Love you so much sweet boy! Happy 3rd Birthday our forth boy of ours! 
xoxo,
mama




Tuesday, May 06, 2014

a note to my EJ

Evan,
    Tonight I had a conference with your second grade teacher, Mrs. Scott.

She said you are a joy to have in class, that you are a leader, that you participate well, and have great potential, with a little pushing and motivation, she thinks you have a wonderful future ahead of you.

But the thing she said, that made my heart burst, was when she described you as a very humble boy. She said you are always willing to help others, and that even when you understand something you will help others to understand. There are two kids in your class who have Autism {one who is low functioning} and you never act like you are above them and are always willing to work with them.
This makes my Mama heart so proud.
  I am glad you see all people as equal, that though we may look different, act different, and learn different, we all have purpose. You are such a social boy, and I love that you love all people. I pray as you grow older you maintain this mindset and are always willing to help, care and love others with the humble spirit you have today.

Love you so much. 
xoxo
Mom

Monday, March 03, 2014

...and along came 4 more.

When we found out we were pregnant with our first we were a little surprised. We weren't trying, but we also weren't not trying. We were about halfway through our second year of marriage and I think we were at a point where we could handle a baby together, and I say that because I definitely see the benefit in waiting to have children for at least a year after marriage because getting used to each other is a lot of work for a year. This is just my personal experience, and I recommend it. I have friends who got pregnant on their honeymoon and while it all works itself out {usually} it was hard.

I'll spare you the details, but two weeks overdue and after a 38 hour labor Maxwell Jared entered our world.

And ROCKED it.

I was highly emotional...lack of sleep and I had problem after problem breastfeeding. I HATED every moment of it and I remember looking at Justin one night and saying,

"What were we thinking? We can't handle this!" 

Of course I was completely smitten with our 10lb baby boy, and he brought much joy, but having a child for the first time is something you just can't understand until it actually happens to you.
I kept thinking, why didn't anyone tell us this would be so hard? So, I tell everyone, it's hard. It sucks, but it gets better, SO much better. 

And it did. A month in and we were getting the hang of it, and slowly, month my month, things got easier. 

And soon you forget about all of it and have another baby. The second time around was SO much better because we knew what to expect. 

And then we had three more after that. 
We do live in a society that kind of frowns upon big families. 
If you have more than two kids {preferably a boy and a girl} then you are considered a little nutty. But more than 3 or 4, you may be certifiably insane. 

There are days where I feel like I could lose it, but for the most part, having a big family is a lot of fun. Will I ever regret having this many kids. NEVER. Does it make a lot of things in life more challenging. Yes, but it also is exciting. There is rarely a dull moment in this house. I always wanted a busy home and honestly, I love having people over in our home...and  one of my hopes is as our boys get older they will bring all their friends to our house to hang out. 

It's been more challenging living away from our families, we don't have help readily available, but we've been blessed to have awesome friends here who are always willing to help out if we need it.  

Having kids changes everything. It is hard, sometimes downright awful,  exhausting, sacrificing, and challenging but it is also so rewarding, so beautiful and so fun. 








Thursday, February 27, 2014

life with 5 boys.

Anybody out there?

I've never been good at keeping a journal and looks like this online journal thing hasn't been working out for a few years.


Right now our days are filled with lots of activity.

Max, in 4th grade and Evan in 2nd our mornings begin at 6:45 as I pull off the blankets the boys are so comfortably snuggled in. They don't like it, but it's works.

Max is pretty good at getting right up, and getting ready and headed down for a quick bowl of cereal before we need to leave. Evan on the other hand, he's a whole other story. A lot of stomping and crabbing, usually, "I don't want to go to school" is in there somewhere but soon we get out the door.

Back at home the little guys and I usually enjoy a quiet morning. I have to say I usually really enjoy the mornings. Liam and Declan are currently on a serious toast with jam addiction and I'm happy to supply such an easy breakfast!

Griffin is usually very busy, getting a lot of action in before his morning nap.

While Griff naps, I usually run on treadmill while Declan and Liam play. I get a quick shower in and

If you know me at all, I am not one to sit at home. I need to leave my house on a daily basis.  I know I could knock out a lot of errands in one day, but I like to space them. Target run one day, Trader Joes another. If we have no errands to run the boys and I will think of something fun to do like the park or just a fun drive around town.

School is out at 2:45, and most days I pick boys up. If it's nice out we walk but otherwise they walk down the hill from school and hop in the Suburban. I hear all about their days, good and bad, and we head home.

Back at home, I clean, boys work on homework, maybe watch a lithe TV, go outside if it's nice enough and I start getting dinner ready.

After dinner we usually watch Family Feud together. It sounds so elderly... but everyone gets so into it. It's a fun to watch together.  Soon it's bedtime prep. Brush teeth and into bed for all. Most nights there is a lot of goofing off, but eventually all settle down.

Max and Evan ask me to come talk to them in their room. I try to do it most of the time, because it's precious time. They share their hearts, sometimes just silly stories but I love those times.

When we are all out we get a lot of comments,'
"5 boys?"
"Your hands sure are full!"
"You are so brave"
 I could go on.


Having 5 kids, just kind of happened. Justin and I are very fly by the seat of our pants kind of people. Sure we like to plan things, like having a savings account, college funds, dream about what our life looks like down the road, but mostly we are just living life day by day.

There are many times I feel like a complete failure as a parent. There are days I could rip all my hair out, the boys are just so darn needy, whiny, having attitudes and fighting.  But these are also days where I see most my selfishness, when I lose control because I'm not happy with how things are going, or they are not behaving in a way I want them too. Kids are great at showing how sinful you really are.

Parenting is also insanely beautiful.

Babies are so fun, it goes by so fast, but the innocent sweetness of a baby is just so precious.
Toddlers are fun to play with, they laugh, they cuddle, they need their Mama.
Pre-schoolers have so much to say, you really begin to see who they are, and usually still need their mama. :)
I'm in the elementary age with my oldest two, and they are pretty opposite. Max is more reserved , he is very compliant {usually} and does what needs to do with little complaining. Evan however is very active, likes to do things his way and will get what he needs to do done, but there is usually lots of distractions before it gets done.
I'm looking forward to, but also very scared for their older years. A lot of changes, and attitudes, and smelly, sweaty boys. I am praying they will always know they can count on Just and I, that they can always talk to us and that we have a lot of fun, and they develop a deep love for Jesus.
Oh, I pray he grabs hold of their little hearts!

When I entered parenthood almost 10 years ago, I had NO clue. All of my expectations, my ideas of what it was like were WAY different than it actually is. It's been messy, it's been hard, it's been eye opening, and it's been fun, it's been joyful, and it's taught me so much.

If I planned out my life I would NEVER have seen myself with 5 kids, let alone 5 boys. But God has always known the plan for us. To turn me on my head and give me these sons for raise up.

I pray I will seek his guidance, cry out to him in prayer as I pray as they grow. That I may raise them to be good husbands, great fathers, and that they may see in Justin and I the love for Jesus that is better than anything else in this world.

It's a big responsibility God has given to us with this boys, and while I'm deathly scared, I am so excited for the journey!



Thursday, November 21, 2013

{1}. Griffin Justin

Griff-
   It's true what they say. Every child grows up quicker, and your first year was a mere blink.
Happiest of 1st Birthdays to my baby, my 5th boy, #griffinjustin ! {8am breakfast } #happybirthday #bornonelectionday #couldveusedbarackasamiddlenamebutthehusbandeasntfeelinit  #oneyearold #mybaby #5
 You have brought such joy, our fifth son. You always have a smile.
11:46am { following mama around} #griffinjustin #happybirthday #oneyearold #mybaby #5
You try so hard to keep up with your brothers,who adore you. You love watching them play. 8:13pm {brotherly love} #griffinjustin #happybirthday #maxwelljared #evanjohn #liamedward #declanpaul #brothers #oneyearold #myboys #swansoncasa
You are so curious, into EVERYTHING. You are not afraid to try anything. 7:09pm Happy Birthday!!!! {have your cake and eat it too!} #griffinjustin #happybirthday #oneyearold #5 #mybaby #cake #fox #swansoncasa
We celebrated your birthday with pizza and cake. It was loved by all. 4:59pm {dinner be prepared. Cake picked up. Ready to party! } #griffinjustin #happybirthday #oneyearold #mybaby #swansoncasa
You recieved a new wooden walker from your Dad and I. Stuffed fox and boat for the bath from Grandpa and Grandma Wojo, money from other Grandma{and great grandmas} your brothers got you a new book. Friends got you books, a puzzle, and another stuffed fox! :) What you loved most was having fun with your brothers! It was a fun day. 10:09pm { birth moment. Fast asleep. My sweet baby now considered a toddler, is still my sweet baby to me. Sleeping with his fox he got from his Grandma Wojo and Fox blanket from Grandma Swanson both gifts when he was born. My precious 5th boy. I cannot i
We love you so much Griffin Justin.
 xoxo MOM

Monday, August 19, 2013

9!

Did I hear a niner in there?! { yeah, I'm refering to Tommy Boy, which is a movie we've all gotten a kick out of watching }

Next year is DOUBLE digits for you Max?!
 We are so proud of the young man you are becoming. This past summer you and your brothers spent a lot of time outside as well as building legos and
 It's been a crazy year so far, but you have done really well with all the changes in your life, and with us most likely moving before the years end your Dad and I are confident that you'll do great with helping us move and adjusting to a new place.
 You are such a helper to me, and you are the best older brother Ev, Liam, Dec and Griffin could ask for. You have a sweet spot for all of them and I'm thankful for the friendships you have formed with each of them.
We are so looking forward to you growing even more this year! You have just started club soccer and are loving it and we are glad to watch you develop in a sport you love.  You just started 4th grade last week and it's going to be a great one! 
We love you so much and we pray that your heart longs for Jesus and you desire to serve him.
xoxo
love always,
Mom

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

back to school 2013 {max & ej}

Both a little sleepy, as they are not used to rising before 8, it was a chilly morning the first day of school for Max and Evan.
 Evan is in 2nd grade and his teacher is Mrs. Scott. Maxwell is in 4th grade, his homeroom teacher is Mrs. Burlew and he has different teachers for each subject throughout the day.
Looking forward to a great year for these two!

Friday, August 09, 2013

{7}

Evan is 7!
Hard to believe but you are 7 years old and you couldn't be more thrilled. You are definitely the one to get the most excited about your birthday. You talked about it for weeks before hand, and the week of you let everyone you met know it was your birthday week. 
You and Max are still the best of friends. You guys play together so well {most of the time} and you are into whatever Max is. {currently Lego Chima and Galaxy Squad...and of course POKEMON} You and Liam, you have your sweet moments together, but you mostly fight. You both are so strong willed and you love to push each others buttons. Declan and you get along great. You are a great helper with him but you ALWAYS love to help with Griffin. You are always wanting to hold him, show him off and make him laugh. And he adores you. 
You had a hard time deciding what you wanted for a cake, but in the end decided to go for a Packers cake. It turned out great! Your birthday landed on a Thursday, which is also the same night we have community group and we have been rotating homes this summer so this day it was at the Valentines. 
Sweet Aubrey made you a sign and put your initials on a plate for you. 
And the cake was delish, chocolate with chocolate mousse layers! Nice choice. 
Your Dad and I are so thankful for you. You have brought much laughter to our home. You also have been teaching us patience, you know what you want and sometimes have a hard time dealing with not getting what you want. It's a learning process for all of us! 
We are so thankful for your life, for your sweet smile, and giddy laugh. 
Thank you for teaching me new things, and helping me to grow as your Mom and as a daughter of Christ. I pray your heart longs for Jesus all your days as you seek to love and serve him.
Hooray for 7! Your best year yet!

xoxo
Mom

{2}

Declan,
 You turned 2 over two months ago, but I haven't been keeping up with blogging but I wanted to remember your special day.

 
Your Birthday was on a Saturday and after Evan's game we all kicked around a bit and you scored goal after goal :) 
You have brought SUCH joy to our family. You are so happy, always making us laugh, keeping us on our toes. 
Pocoyo was on cake.  A simple cartoon narrated by a Brit, you love that little boy and his animal friends.
We had some our friends the Valentines and Alexis over. A grand Mexican feast for dinner, followed by a water balloon fight. You loved it! It was a fun day and you had a smile on your face the whole time! You have the sweetest personality, and always want in on everything. We are SO incredibly thankful for you, our sweet 4th born boy!

xoxo,
Mom