October 14, 2022 Jill Miriam Spooner got born. 

I don't quite know how to share about her birth. It was surreal. I honestly could not believe that I was doing it all again, the pregnancy and delivery.

I was more in awe of the whole process this time. We grow people. What in the world?! 

Her birth day was a Friday morning, and she was delivered via scheduled C-section, my 5th.  

The verse I carried with me into surgery was Luke 12:7 

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

She was born pink and perfect, weighing 8lbs 5oz.

Her name, Jill, is for my mother in law, a truly lovely and deserving person. 

Jill - short, classic, and feminine. I love it.

As for Miriam - we just really liked it and felt Jill needed a 3 syllable middle name to balance the 1 short - Jill.

Stephen was by my side, of course. Not his first rodeo. 

There is no better day than the day your baby is born. Truly a miracle every time.

Proud Papa

This was the very first birth I got to do skin to skin, which means I held her immediately after delivery in the recovery room. It was so sweet to have these early moments together. 

I'm drugged and happy in this photo. Relieved.

The gang's all here. Meeting the siblings.

Aunt Lu, Millie, and James (my niece and nephew) were our first visitors the next morning. James requested the "Big Cousin" shirt for his birthday. He rocked it.

Aunt Lu brought coffee, and I needed it. 


Big sister Caroline!

and Laurie

my 3 girls

Then came the brothers.


and George

and grandparents

 Here's Jill and Jill.

We watched some Auburn football. War Eagle!

Some of my best memories are in the hospital with Stephen after the birth of our babies. 

I think this was the first time she opened her eyes, all packed up and ready to head home. 

My postpartum nurse is the daughter of one of the nurses I used to work with. This felt full circle and beautifully tied together my previous births with this experience. Her mom took care of me when I had the other babies.

*side note: I wanted to walk out of the hospital, holding the baby like Kate Middleton (and I tried to), but they made me sit in a wheel chair and baby in the car seat. Not as romantic. 

Finally HOME!

Caroline snapped this photo of me starting what's been dubbed the 4th trimester.

Life is good.  I'm beyond grateful. Jill is now 2 months old and she's a sweet and good baby. 

At age 39 with 4 older children, I have the gift of perspective, knowing that this little ball of joy will be a teenager in 5 minutes. There is nothing I'd rather be doing right now than being her mama. What a joy and privilege.  


Put this House in Order - Addressing Pain Points

Recently I addressed two pain points in my home, and I'm super proud of myself. 

1. The pencil/pen situation. 

We do homework at the kitchen table, and I use a corner of my kitchen countertop as a pseudo office. I label food containers and Ziplocks with black-only Sharpies. Guess what I don't need? A gold paint pen. So why has one been inhabiting my pencil jar for the past 2 years? Don't know.

I gave our pencil cup a makeover and our quality of life has remarkably improved. I was irritated, rummaging for the right pen or pencil. No more.

How pretty! And functional.

Now this pencil cup houses the essentials: pencils for homework, red pen for making corrections, black pens for lists, a Sharpie, a highlighter, and a pencil sharpener.

2. Reading to kids. The pain point - where to read and where is the book? When we settle down to read in the evenings, I want to be comfortable and I don't want to spend 10 minutes looking for our ongoing chapter book. Call it off if we can't get started right away. That's my policy.

To combat these problems, I put together a book basket in my bedroom with our favorites and our current reads, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (George) and Ramona and her Mother (Caroline). 

I'm much more likely to read to my children if I can be in my own bed and the book is right there!

I alternate reading to George and Caroline every other night. That's realistic in this season, and I hope to keep it up after the baby is born. It is such a comfort and it ends the day on a happy note. I happen to love both of these books which also makes it easier. 

It can feel like a big fuss to curate our home life, but it is worth it to take a few minutes and address some trouble spots. 

I discovered a quote I like while reading the book, Living Forever Chic. The author shares a wise word from her best friend, Anne-Fransoise de Saint Saens-Henner, mother of 6. 

"If I didn't keep everything in order, I could never enjoy my life. I have to be disciplined, otherwise I would have no time for myself. I would have no time to sit here and drink a glass of wine and chat with you."

Can I get an Amen?


How to DRESS pregnant

When I was expecting Caroline, I stumbled across a group of European mommy bloggers and Instagrammers who were literally the most chic people I had ever seen in my life. I would share links, but this was 7 years ago, and most of them have gone on to do different things. 

Here was my take away from my encounter with these chic strangers -- They dressed so beautifully durning pregnancy, mostly wearing dresses. Fortunately, there's never been a better time to claim the dress as your signature maternity look. You can find flowy, waistless dresses at every shop. Bye bye, maternity jeans and tops with ruching. 

I've worn dresses this entire pregnancy, so much so that pants feel weird on my legs. Who's up for a fashion show? 

Hello toilet with child's dirty clothes on the floor.

Now I'm starting to think about what I'm going to wear in the 4th trimester. So far, I have a couple of pair of these pajamas, which are really great. 

What are your thoughts on maternity wear? 
I almost titled this post: Pregnant Women Shouldn't Wear Jeans


Back to School Breakfast Menu

Back to school hits ya in the face all at once -- school, homework, tutoring, sports practices, church activities. And then there's the usual sickness, doctors' appointments, orthodontists' appointments, vet visits, dog surgeries, haircuts, etc. And laundry and food. 


Here's how I've managed breakfast.

The challenges: It's hard to please all of the people all of the time. I don't want the children eating cereal every day. I don't want to waste food. I don't want to be a short order cook.

The goals: I want them to eat a variety of simple, nutritious foods.  I want to get some protein in their diet before school and depend less on breads, toasts, muffins, and cereal. I want to know what we are having for breakfast and stay stocked with groceries.  I do not want to fly by the seat of my pants.

The solution: a menu

I have been working this menu for about 3 weeks and it is blessing my soul. 


Monday: eggs + toast

Tuesday: smoothies, bagels + cream cheese

Wednesday: cheese grits

Thursday: cereal + fruit

Friday: sausage biscuits

The original menu had cheese toast instead of bagels + cream cheese and oatmeal instead of cereal, but those both got REJECTED hard. 

I told them they were all communists, especially for not liking oatmeal. What is wrong with you people?! 

I also have a school lunch menu and I will work on sharing that. 


Prepping for Baby #5

The count down is on. Mid October will be here in 5 minutes, so I finally decided to get ready for this baby. 

I have a carseat, diapers, and a crib. 

That's pretty much what ya need to get started, right? And a few onesies! 

I'm remembering back to my list of baby essentials and freezer meals.....7 years ago.

32 + weeks

Mini Boden had a sale and I could not resist these. Look at this packaging. Details matter.

It's getting too real. 

We do not have a bedroom or even a closet nursery, so this babe will be sleeping in our room for the unforeseeable future. Wishing and hoping and praying for a good sleeper.

See that dark corner over my shoulder? We cleaned it up a bit this weekend. Baby's going in the corner.

I found this dresser at my favorite flea market over the weekend to hold all her little baby things. Crib still needs to be set up. 

I am excited, anxious, and very close to the GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME stage. 


Back to School

We are back in school, baby! 

My emotions got the best of me when I snapped this picture. Hopefully my children understood that I was crying happy, sentimental tears. God has been faithful to see us through homeschooling, career changes, and a surprise, but blessedly uneventful pregnancy.

My 11 year old gave me a serious talking to about not getting emotional "at the school." I did ok.

I relished the first day home alone, making myself a real lunch and eating in a quiet house. 

First day of pick up, they were all smiles and good reports x 4!

I'm working HARD on establishing good routines. A family of 5 kids needs order. 
Speaking of large families, ever seen Yours, Mine, and Ours? It's so good. 

Our after school routine goes like this: 

backpacks in lockers
lunch boxes to the kitchen
WASH YOUR HANDS I'm a stickler for this with a newborn coming.
change clothes
snack + free time + homework + activities 

The afternoons are go go go, but it's all good things. We have jumped into cross country and football practices. 

Caroline put this picnic snack together while we waited out a cross country practice last week.

I think Friday night Little Ceasar's is going to be our go-to this season. By the end of the week, 
I. am. done. I think we all are, right?

Here's a tip. Order and pay online at LC. They pop it in a warming drawer and you can just walk in and grab it. No transaction required. 

I'm signing off with my sweet, little 1st grader. We had a rare afternoon just the two of us. We enjoyed a warm chocolate chip cookie + an iced latte + a chocolate muffin and "light" conversation.

"Are God and Jesus the same?" 
"When did Jesus go to heaven?"

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