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12/4/14

When A Baby Joins The Family

I cannot get over how much I love having little people in the house.

Yes we sleep less.
Yes our money has to stretch further.
Yes it's complicated to pack up and leave the house.

But the state of our hearts?! I can't even tell you how full and joyful they are.  To think that we have to little men to raise and send out into the world to live the Gospel to a broken world, to love two lucky girls who will be their wives and together raise babies of their own?!  It's a pretty awesome privilege.

I am so so excited to have some of my sweet friends share their tips on adding a baby to the family.  These are mamas from all parts of the country with all numbers of little people and I know you will love them as much as I do.  
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Shelby Osmond from Brandon & Shelby
Little People // Daxton, Tayte & brand new baby Benson
// check out Shelby on Instagram right here //

Bringing a new baby home brings a lot of change; beautiful change and also hard change.  One tip that I was told from an older and wiser mom than me, was that adding a new baby is a different, however you just have to remember that you have to learn the skills that it takes to take care of 2, 3... or 7 children! I loved that because its just adding skills to your life of being a mom, and every mom has to learn them. Skills take time but everyday you learn something that works and doesn't work. 
I've also learned to take it easy, and enjoy being a new mom. Don't try and jump into life too fast, the time you have as a new mom is more precious than you think, so enjoy it! 
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Casey Wiegand from CaseyLeigh
Little People // Aiden, Ainsleigh, Apple & two sweet babies in heaven
// check out Casey on Instagram right here //

My advice for any new mama would be to soak it in. Everything in me would think, the baby is sleeping I need to do the laundry, clean the house, tackle the to-do list! But they are tiny for such a short time...snuggle a little longer, rock them and hold them and sing to them...there is time for all the other stuff....and it will get done eventually. Now my babies are 5, 4 and 2 and I would give anything to go back and smell their sweet newborn skin and have them nuzzled up against my neck. Also, give yourself grace! 
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Bridget Hunt from Tales of the Me & the Husband
Littles People // William, Lindsey, Parker & baby that will be here any day!!
// check out Bridget on Instagram here // 

Any day now, we'll be adding another baby to our family.  My three-year old, I fear, will have the hardest time with this adjustment.  We've been thick as thieves for the past three years and who's this stranger we're adding to our once perfect duo?  And so, I've been asking for advice from some of the Moms I respect most in this world.  They're sort of "my village."  What they've told me is simple, or at least seems such.  Keep my expectations low.  Give myself grace.  While I'm nursing the baby, have that be time to read to Parker.  Hear him out.  If he's mad or sad about this new baby, give him the space to feel that.  Everything is a phase and though it may get harder before it gets easier, it will even out in the long run.  That's just some of it.  My mantras that I'll be repeating over and over through a potentially difficult Boston winter!!
- - - 
Shelley Smucker from Frame of Mind
Little People // Jocelyn, Charlotte & baby due in June!!
// check out Shelley on Instagram right here //

When Nicole asked for my input on adjusting to settling into a new normal once a new baby joins the family, my mind went a little blank.  Jocelyn was only 18 months old when Charlotte joined our family and if it had been 2 months earlier, I would have had TWO non-walkers.  So it was a difficult time for me, and it's all a bit of a blur when I look back on it, to be honest.  And so I guess my cheesy, cliche tip would be to take pictures, because sometimes I feel like that's all I have of that crazy, beautiful time of my life.  I'm relieved to see that there were so many, many precious, glorious moments, and without pictures I wouldn't remember that.  The postpartum fog rolled in and I felt like I was in permanent survival mode for far longer than I wanted to be.  But pictures remind me otherwise, and I'm thankful for that.  So mamas, keep that shutter snapping! And I know you won't feel like it, but get in the picture too!  You (and especially your children) will treasure those the most in the years to come.  

Also, I would encourage you to take time for your first little one, ONE-ON-ONE.  I know, it seems impossible with a nursing newborn needing you nearly every waking moment, but it's worth it.  I feel like I missed so much from 18-24 months of Jocelyn's life and I wish I could go back and squeeze in more kisses and hugs and storytime.  But of course, don't we all?  There are so many more tips.....schedule in your showers, make yourself leave the house even if it is only for a 5 minute walk, play your favorite Pandora station, squeeze in some Bible reading or prayer time in those nursing sessions, light some candles to hide the diaper smells...the list goes on and on.  I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I AM a surviver!  And like Nicole mentioned in a past post....be kind to yourself.  You will feel like your body and emotions belong to a stranger for a LONG time.  And that is o.k.  How boring would our lives be if we always stayed exactly the same?  Embrace it.  Oh, and remind me of all this when I go through it all over again in June
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Brittney Vail from The Lily Field
Little People // Judah, Isaiah & little Bella
// check out Brittney on Instagram over here //

Besides the obvious: Jesus, chocolate, and hiding in the bathroom, taking long showers while my husband holds down the fort -- I am learning the art of asking for help. I walk around under the beautifully skewed impression that I am SUPER MAMA, and then I get a wake-up call from my 4 and 3 year old plus newborn! Hello, earth to Brittany. I've started making a list of things I need help with each week: fold laundry, bathe kids, pick-up groceries, etc. and go over the "plan of attack" with my husband. Communicating with him, hashing out "my needs" for the week, has made all the difference. It's not easy for me to ask for help, to admit, "Hey maybe I'm not 'SUPER MAMA' after all..." but it's a humbling opportunity to receive a lot of grace!!! Less freaking out, things get done, and everyone is happy-- more or less, right?!
- - -
Ginger Parrish from The Parrish Place
Little People // Jonah & Riggins 
// check out Ginger on Instagram right here //

The first few weeks with a new bundle of joy in our home are filled with the purest love, the rawest emotion + a world I truly couldn't comprehend until I experienced it myself. I remember crying harder than Jonah did the night we brought him home from the hospital. I couldn't get hold of my emotions, which caught me a bit off guard. No one told me this would happen. I cried + cried + cried + cried some more. He cried, I cried. I was a wreck. I was happier than I had ever been, but I was a wreck. Good think Jon (my husband) is such a wonderful person, because he had his work cut out for him. I will never forget the advice that he whispered in my ear when I was doubting my abilities as a mother. He said to me,  

"Ging, Jonah is not going to remember this time of his life. You will, but he won't. Write down the feelings that you're having so that he will be able to read them from your perspective when he's old enough to understand. You will feel better if you do."

I took his advice. I wrote down my little daily successes, my fears, my happy moments, how long it took me to do things + my hopes for Jonah. This idea has really stuck with me. It taught me to focus on the positive that was blooming around me. I wrote my feelings all over again when our second son was born + I believe that it helped me gain control of my "normal" again each time. Those first moments as a family + the special journals describing them are some of my most prized possessions.
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// more of my Instagrams right here //

Lastly, I just wanted to share one thing that has helped been so helpful for me this last year and a half.

On the nights when I pacing the floor, soothing my cranky baby.  
On the days when nap time seems like a long lost dream.  
In the moments when frustration has met it's max.  
I remind myself that all I have to get through is today.  Tomorrow will be new and fresh and we get to start again.  These hard moments won't last forever.  That little thought is always bolsters my courage and helps me to keep on.

Also in the moments when things feel less than easy, my heart is always put in a right place when I start to thank God.  Thank Him for these fleeting days with babies.  Thank Him for the health and life.  Thank Him for greater gifts than I could ever deserve.  Thank Him for a wonderful husband to do life with.  Suddenly the lack of sleep seems so tiny in comparison to this wonderful gift of parenthood.  Because I honestly feel like I will blink and these days will be gone.
- - - 
Children are not a distraction from more important work.
They are the most important work.
-- CS Lewis

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful perfect post. I've always loved that last quote. Lately I've been learning a lot about patience and making my to do list shorter so I can roll with the punches.

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  2. What a beautiful post!! Wow I am honored and humbled to be included with such amazing mamas. You are doing a great job Nicole! Honestly, those first months with a new one are HARD. Hardest thing I've ever done. But you're right, they are SO precious too. Hold them near.

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  3. So great! Loved this. No little tiny ones here {though we're still hoping} but so fun to meet some new sweet mama's and good advice from them all that can apply to many seasons of motherhood. This gig is the best!! :))

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  4. I LOVE this Nicole!!! Love how your included the "community" in such a beautiful way in this post. And of course I have been loving all the blog posts of late. If you're as good a mamma as you were a babysitter (which I'm sure you are) your babies are pretty blessed.:)

    love you!
    Allison

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  5. I'm pregnant with my first baby, and this was immensely comforting to me. There are times I have constant anxiety attacks over how I'll manage life with a newborn. Praying and your advice of just getting through today are the two things that always help. So thank you for this.

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  6. beautiful words. i can see this in your faces in the photos on your blog and social media. i see the joy! it's so inspiring! xxx

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