Rocco Samuel: First weeks of life.

First weeks of life - IHOD

 “And she loved a little boy very much – even more than she loved herself.” – Shel Silverstein

Life with four little ones is as busy as you would expect it to be, and probably more so, but thankfully this new little one brings a familiarity with him as well. A deep rooted confidence takes over as I get to know little Rocco. I know I have been here. It all will settle well. This new life has brought with him that very familiar newborn smell, the tiny sounds and grunts, the long 3AM parties, and the way he fits perfectly into my arms.  It’s all a welcome familiarity of the most rich moments of my life. I feel selfish with time wishing the newborn days would linger a little longer, and that I could pause the ages of my children. This time around, I know just how fast it goes. Wasn’t Max just this size? 

a father's arms - In Honor of Designsiblings - IHODsibling lovebrothersEat Local | IHOD
Veronica and Rocco


little ones

The new experiences I welcome too. The shift in family dynamics has brought some hair pulling moments, and some exhausting days, but as we all adjust to the change, so has each of our demeanors. A mother’s heart can duplicate another for each child, but I am seeing that happen for my children as well. Witnessing their love for Rocco has been perhaps the greatest of it all. After a cranky first few weeks, they each have suddenly turned a new leaf as it always happens just in time it seems. A little older, a little more mature, and a proud adjustment to their new role as guardian, sister, friend, etc. There are still many squabbles and referee times as I try to feed the baby in one hand and keep Max from the draining the dish soap bottle with the other, but thankfully there is so much more love to go around with it all. I mean….it is obvious Rocco is never left alone…

brothersBig sister - IHODmotherhoodRocco Samuelstroller ride


My children have offered me the gift of seeing life beyond material possessions, wanderlust, and the pursuit of success. They have given me the ability to see the eternal and intrinsic value of our relationships. A mother to her children, a child to its mother, a sister to her brother, a father to his sons, etc.

 Since I know how quickly time can pass, I have wanted to just hold Rocco Samuel all day long, or wear him in his wrap, or tote around in his moses basket so as not to miss a thing. These photos will help keep these memories. Lord knows I need the help in the memory department as I just found the milk in the microwave, and my coffee in the fridge….

bear cubsstory time - IHOD

I’ll give you all that update on life with four kids soon. I am still in a postpartum fog. I am trying to be more patient this time around, and am allowing more room and time for the new groove to settle in. So for now, it’s just sleeping, adjusting, eating, feeding, relying on family, friends, and a whole lot of prayer. Figuring out this grand adventure one day at a time. x

*Rocco’s striped blanket is from Little Unicorn, bear hat from baby Gap, striped onesie from Native Wilds, Eat Local Onesie from Twiddle and Tweet, and bedding is from Anthro.  My extra hand and saving grace is the 4moms Mamaroo and BounceRoo, a gift when Max was born.

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When everyone wants to feed the new baby.

In Honor of Design

Each baby of mine has shown little glimpses of their personalities very early on. I already know Rocco is going to have a feisty side. He demands to eat right away when he is hungry, and his little squawk resembles a cat who has gotten his tail stepped on. It is quite humorous. Like many newborn boys, they prefer to eat constantly and with haste!

I have been lucky enough to breastfeed each of my babies, and I would say I look forward to that now with my fourth more than ever because despite all the craziness around me, it forces me to sit and stare at my baby. It allows me the chance to have some close one on one time with him. I like to introduce a bottle to my babies very early on in case of emergencies (I have gotten very sick before when Gabriel was a baby and he refused to take a bottle!), and to also give Gabe and the kids a chance to feed the baby once in a while. But geez, it can be tough to find a bottle my babies actually don’t notice a difference with! Rocco for instance is already particular about his pacifier.

Little one | In Honor of DesignFather - son

When I was in fury nesting mode I went through the baby aisles and happened upon the new Munchkin Latch bottle. I noticed the shape, accordion like base, and anti-colic air valve. I was really impressed with the design and price tag, so I snatched it up. I wasn’t in love with any of the bottles I previously used so I thought I would give it a go. Well as you can see, it was a winner.

Rocco loved his first bottle Gabe was able to give him, and of course Gabe loved being able to feed him. He gulped it down without choking (which he can’t seem to do even when he breastfeeds!), and he immediately took to it without so much as a grimace or a squirm. My little ones understand that mommy has “bottles in her stomach” which allows me to feed Rocco, so when they got an opportunity to feed him they were beside themselves. Max wanted in on some of the fun as well….

Brothers | In Honor of Design

The latch bottle also came in handy this past weekend as I traveled to Chicago with Rocco for a conference I was mentoring at. I had brought along the bottle and breastmilk bag just in case there was a long stretch and Rocco started to demand his next meal;)

It’s funny the little things that make you excited as a mother, like bottle forms and swaddle blankets. But I guess they aren’t so little when it is something that creates moments like these that become quite a big deal in your memory book of life, right? 

I think every mother knows the best way to feed and nourish their child…. the best schedules or non schedules, bottle fed or breastfed or both, and sometimes it ends up being different than we hoped or planned. However, I think every baby knows when they are being fed with love and a nurturing hand that is for sure. I just wish this newborn phase would stretch a whole lot longer. When he fits into his dad’s forearm like a glove, and when he falls asleep as soon as his mama snuggles him up, and when they can sleep through a train wreck (or three boisterous siblings – same thing…).I’ll just keep holding onto him in case these moments should try to escape my grasp!

*This post is sponsored by Munchkin. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Munchkin rids the world of the mundane by developing clever, innovative solutions that make family life safer, easier, and more fun. You can find Munchkin products at Munchkin.comTargetBabies’R’UsWalmart, and Amazon. It’s the little things!

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Rocco Samuel’s Birth Story


Meet Rocco Samuel.Already proving he has got his own rhythm on life, he arrived 8 days early, on a hot summer night, July 26th. I now have three sons, and a wildflower. Wait, what?! It’s all quite surreal, and just like the birth stories I have tried to share before, there are no adequate words to be found to describe what meeting your child for the first time is really like. Here is just a summary of one of the best days of my life…

Before it all started…
All three of my children before Rocco were born on their due dates, so I wasn’t expecting much different this time around. It wasn’t until I arrived to Friday night after a long hot week here in Atlanta, I started to think this babe might be a different story. I was a few days short of 39 weeks, and I was beginning to have very strong braxton hicks contractions anytime I attempted beyond a snails pace level of activity. Legs occasionally going numb also might have been a clue? I started to frantically organize my house as would be the bazaar and accurate thing to do when you sense a baby about to arrive. (Someone should really figure out how to bottle that mysterious nesting energy that gives you all kinds of motivation to complete avoidable tasks.) I wrote out directions for my sister who would be caring for our little ones, packed the last details of my hospital bag, went to the store and stocked up on food, tied up some last minute projects, and began to pray for strength to overcome some of the anxiety I was battling. To be honest, barely making it to the hospital and having a fast natural birth with Max made it hard to feel calm about everything. I had an appointment scheduled with my midwife for Monday that we had planned a month prior to see if we could catch pre-labor signs before my due date. I knew that would be my reassurance of timing and when to prepare.  However, as I am always quick to forget, God had other plans, and they were much better than my own. My gut instinct was I wouldn’t quite make it to Monday. I really wanted my midwife to deliver this baby since she delivered my first son as well. I was driving 45 minutes just to see her throughout the pregnancy, but we knew though that with my history of fast labors I had to be open minded with no real birth plan but to make it to the hospital on time. 

Here he comes…
After a long brunch with family on Sunday and a calm afternoon, I began to think this baby was just fooling me all along, and I would just have to put up with braxton hicks contractions another week. We were all packing up to head out the door to a friend’s going away party when I had my first contraction. I immediately downloaded the full term app and started timing. (Because surely I wouldn’t be able to time them on my own as I had done for the last three!) I half second guessed myself. Was it really a contraction? You think you would know the 4th time around. After just a few they were getting a little stronger. Gabe looked at me and knew it was time. He went into mission mode and started loading the car in between phone calls. Behind teary eyes I took each of my children and held them and kissed them one more time before a new chapter would begin. My contractions were already 5 min. apart and I begin to panic that I wouldn’t make it up to my midwife. When I called her we both agreed it was best to head straight to the nearest hospital….

Fast forward to the delivery room ten minutes later, I made sure the nurses and doctors knew my body doesn’t know how to pace itself very well, and they very well could be catching a baby with a baseball glove momentarily. Luckily this time around, there was more of a steady pace of progression that actually gave us enough time to get me gowned and tubed up before things got really painful. Ladies who have given birth…. it’s that 5-6 cm mark that really does it right?? I needed Gabe’s hand on one side, and my rosary in the other. I felt God near. I knew He was in that room, as with the birth of every new life that He creates. I felt the world pause as I was about to take part in one of the greatest gifts given to a woman…the ability to be a vessel of new life.  

Beholden. | IHOD

The birth…
I held my breath as the doctor asked me to stop pushing. I had only pushed once and the baby was flying out. The cord was wrapped around his neck, and he needed to cut it quick. I was given the go ahead to give my last push. He was out in a flash, and they stole him away to the other side of the room.With my heart racing and begging God to hear that first cry, I waited in anticipation. There was a minor complication they were looking into, and so my heart felt like it was inside of my throat. It wasn’t until I heard that first little wail that my entire body breathed again. I looked at Gabe through teary eyes in a moment of complete gratitude. We had a son, and he had a healthy pair of lungs!

Gabe got to gaze at him first as they made sure he was okay. We kept shouting at each other across the room…He has dark hair! Does he have the signature family birthmark? He has a whole new look! When they finally brought him over to me, a dam of tears broke inside, and I wept uncontrollably as I got to feel my baby’s skin for the first time against mine. He was the smallest of all of my babies so far, and his tiny body felt immediately like he was always meant to be. Psalm 139 came rushing into my mind… 

You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.
…Your eyes saw me unformed;
in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped, before one came to be.

Rocco Samuel
baby boy
gabe and roccomaxIMG_0707


I am thankful for this indescribable joy just as much as I am thankful for the pains and aches that paved the way for this reality. It has been a blissful few days of complete exhaustion, and baby snuggling, and lots of feeding and diaper changing and a little noisy chaos in between. Gabe is taking care of our other three little ones as we adjust to life with four. I can’t even describe how much Gabriel and Veronica love their little brother already. They won’t leave his side. Max is somewhat clueless, although we have high hopes for their future bond;) Gabe chose the name Rocco after a catholic saint who spent his life in the service of the poor and sick. We always like to choose names that are role models for our children to turn to as they grow:)

Thank you to each of you who have shared your congratulations, and love. We are so grateful for you!


A little video Gabe and my sister took when the little ones met Rocco for the first time:) Song by Coldplay.

*We didn’t know the gender of the baby so we had two names picked out. Swell Forever so kindly sent the keepsake blanket a few weeks before he was born. You should check out their company and support of adoption and loss!
Rocco’s little bonnet is from Flora and Henri, and striped blanket I found from Little Unicorn.

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