23 May 2017

The First Few Weeks

Bringing a Newborn Home

Those first few weeks at home with a newborn are so many things, they are magical, they are exciting, they are surreal, they are wonderful but let's be honest, they are so hard!  When every second you are needed to feed, change, rock, burp, hold, entertain a small one AND keep the rest of your life in order (pay bills, buy food, cook meals, keep the other kids alive) it starts to dawn on you how massive the task of a newborn can be.

Here is just a quick post on how not only to simply survive those first few weeks, but to even thrive a little.  God has given you this amazing task of parenthood.  Your baby that you've held in heart/mind/body is now HERE in the flesh.  Make the most of every moment and be able to take a shower and smell good too.

Step 1-

Let others help you!

Do you even know how exciting it is for others to see you and the baby right now?  You are it sweetheart!  You did it!  You had this baby and people want to help you, cook meals for you, bring you gifts, hear your birth story (however wonderful or traumatic it was), hold your baby, clean your toilets.  We will do just about anything to help you at this time and the biggest mistake you could make at this time is to say, no.  Don't do it.  Let people stop by and bring a meal.  This doesn't mean you let people stay over for hours on end, have boundaries, but please dear one, let people in.  Let mamas spoil you... let people make you chili, let people fold your laundry, let people do your dishes or watch your other kids.  If they offer say YES!  Because after a few months the newness will be gone and it will be you and your little one alone on the couch wondering where all the people are!  This is good not only for the other kids in your house to see how loved you are, to feel the support, for your husband to have extra help too is wonderful, but it will brighten your days, it feels so good to share your birth story with friends, it is so cool to see your family and friends bond with your baby.  

Step 2-

Use paper products!

You are not Martha Stewart.  You are not Joanna Gaines.  You just had a baby and you need rest, you need to bond with your baby, and you need to put your feet up when that baby closes his/her eyelids.  I never knew how much I needed to rest until after I had a newborn.  My body was so tired and instead of listening to my body every time Julia or Mark slept I thought it was my lot in life to clean the house, cook the next meal, and do yet another load of laundry.  Girlfriend, it took me until I had Micah to actually R. E. S. T.  Paper products may be bad for the planet, but for 3-4 weeks it's not a big deal.  Use paper plates, napkins, and paper cups.  The less you have to wash, the less you have to put in the dish washer, the less you have to put away the BETTER.  If people who are bringing you a meal ask do you need me to bring anything else say, "Would you mind brining paper plates by?"  And they will and you will be so thankful.  Trust me.  I have learned that the less cleaning I do the more family quality time I have and that my sweet is more precious to me than gold.

Step 3-

Take a million pictures!

Listen, sweet pants, this new baby is going to be so well fed and so well rested and be in size 3 months clothing and size 1 diapers before you know it!  Now is the time to take pictures of them in their crib, in their siblings laps, on their Daddy's chest.  Now is the time to paint their hand and make finger prints and foot prints and frame them.  Now is the time to take a picture of them propped up by a window where they are getting extra sunlight because they are jaundice.  Now is the time to take 2 million selfies with them.  There is no such thing as over posting when you have a newborn.  People love to see babies.  They are all so sweet and beautiful.  Take a million pictures because once they start crawling picture taking is a whole different ball game.

Step 4-

Don't worry about the Weight!

Hey, it took 9 months to put the 30 something (more or less) pounds on, and it's completely ok for it to take 9 months to get it all off.  Don't stress about baby weight.  Nobody cares.  Really, nobody is thinking how you need to lose weight.  All they care about is you and that sweet baby you brought into the world.  Seriously don't get hung up on things like fitting back into all your clothes at a certain point.  You either will or you won't and if you have to get some new clothes down the line you will.  Take care of you and the baby and really your body will do a great job for you.  Put everything into perspective.  You are beautiful.  You are loved.  And God has blessed you with a family to care for.

Step 5-

Cherish Every Minute.

I used to hate when people would say that to me after I had Julia.  Like really?  Cherish the fact that I can't sleep for 8 hours anymore?  Cherish the fact that I have leaky boobs on my clean shirts.  Cherish the fact that I now have double the amount of laundry/work in my life?  Cherish the fact that my nipples are sore and I'm tired all of the time.  Yup.  Want to know why?  In a few weeks you are going to be completely in a rhythm.  You got this mom thing!  You were made to be a Mom.  And when you cherish the moment you realize how quickly this baby will be a kid.  This is just a season in the parent hood life.  It doesn't stay like this for long.  In a few months it will be a new thing to cherish...teething, rolling over, crawling, eating solids, sitting up, talking...it keeps changing, they keep growing, and the thing is you will too.  You will grow and change and cherish each season and then you can look back on the memories with fondness and joy and remember how great it was to sit on the couch holding a sweet newborn that just spit up all over you.  Trust me.  It's all in perspective. Cherish this time.  Be so thankful for every minute.  God is so good.  He is bigger than any of your problems or issues you may be facing.  He is there with you in these moments.  And He loves you.  He will guide you every step of the way on your parenthood journey!  Just allow Him to.


12 May 2017

She Wants A Nap

This Mother's Day...Here is a List of Things Almost Every Mom Wants...

I hope this list will be helpful for all the Dads out there wondering what to get the awesome Moms/Wives out there!

1. A nap.  She wants a nap. The whole room to herself. Complete quiet. No knocking on the door. No questions. No meal to cook. Just give her time for an uninterrupted nap.

2. She wants coffee. By herself. All of it hot. In complete quiet. Sipping it. Enjoying it. It doesn't matter if it's Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Wawa, or homemade. But she wants coffee. 

3. She wants quality time. (After the nap and after the coffee). She wants to enjoy all of you. Noisy, fighting, preferably getting along, but she wants to be with you and the kids. No electronics, no emails, no interruptions just her family. 

4. She wants flowers. She does. Yes, they are a complete waste of money. Yes they might die some day. But she wants them. On the table or in the garden. They are pretty and they smell good and she doesn't want to ask for them. 

5. She wants something hand made. Preferably a card. With your words. Not hallmarks. Tell her you love her. Tell her she's great. Tell her your thankful. Tell her you don't know how she does what she does but your glad she does it. Words mean so much. 

6. She wants time to herself. Not all day but at least 2-3 hours to just rest, read a book, binge watch Gilmore Girls, organize her closet. She just needs some alone time.

7. She wants a picture of herself with the kids.  This is important.  This means a lot to her.  This never happens.  Moms always take all the pictures.  Mom never gets to be in the picture.  Don't make her ask.  Just take the picture.  Capture the moment, and make the kids laugh.  Say something really silly and help the moment to be memorable.  Dads can always make everyone laugh.  Even if you have to say...POOP! :)  This is the only time a potty word is ok.

8. She doesn't want to plan the weekend.  She doesn't want to plan her Mother's Day.  Come on Dads this is your weekend to shine.  You got this!  Pull out all the stops.  Make french toast.  Take the kids food shopping.  Plant some flowers.  Do the mulch (if it's not raining).  This means so much to us when we don't have to plan and can just rest and relax knowing you have it covered.  Don't worry we will go along with your plan!  We promise.

9. Last thing...she wants the kids to behave. Good. Luck. 

Happy Mother's Day mamas. 

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.


01 May 2017

Love Letters from God

Naomi, Molly, Julia, Lana (4/8 of the Sweet Sisters Discipleship Group)

Love Letters From God: Bible Stories for a Girl's Heart

This book by Glenys Nellist is awesome!  It takes you through the very beginning of the Bible in the Old Testament with Eve and all the way through to the New Testament with Mary Magdalene.  You meet a total of 14 girls and learn all about their story.  That's what makes this book so unique is it focuses on females in the Bible!  I love that!  Each page is brightly colored with scenes from the Bible, famous scenes like Eve in the Garden of Eden, and Miriam by the Nile River with Moses.  Glenys takes you through each major female character and shares her story.  One of the parts that the girls in my discipleship group like the most are the flaps on the opposite page with a Love Letter from God written to each girl using the moral of each Woman's story and applying it to the young girl who reads it.  I liked this book so much I am using it to launch my Discipleship Group with a bunch of girls at my church.  They are ages 8-10 and our group that met this past week was 5 girls but we are a total of 8 girls.

First of all, the illustrations and color choices are brilliant and beautiful.  You want to see how Rachel Clowes brings the stories of these 14 women to life.  There are so many shades of pinks and purples and every color of the rainbow and it makes each page jump out at you.  One of my favorite drawings was the page about Queen Esther and the other two are Eve in the Garden and the purple-filled twilight page about Mary the Mother of Jesus.

As we read through the book I noticed how much each girl wanted a turn to read a page and open the Love Letter flap.  What a great touch that was to the book!  Kids LOVE flap books and a love letter is something we all enjoy reading.  Hearing words our heavenly father might lovingly say to us or ask us is such a treat!  We liked it so much that we ended our time writing love letters to God and the girls had a great idea that each time we read further in the book we should write a love letter to God about what we learned and then collect them all and make a book!

I loved listening to the girls read the book out loud to each other, and I really loved the questions that came up about each girl in the book.  We thought about times we tried to hide our sin the way Eve did, we talked about how we did something really brave to help our family members like Miriam did for her baby brother.  In fact Naomi and Julia P. both shared stories about how they saved their brother from a major catastrophe.  I think the girls were really able to relate to the characters and then reading the Love Letter from God on each page really brought home the fact that God loves us and wants us to choose to follow Him no matter what.  He forgives us, He loves us, and He shows us so much grace and mercy.  We talked about how thankful we were for His love!

Molly, Emma, Julia M., Alyssa

This book is going to change these little girl's lives.  And as you can see we have our Bible with us too.  We are also looking up the passages that the stories come from and reading the Bible chapters along with the book.  It is so neat to see young girls thirsty for God's truth.

Thank you Glenys for writing such a great book!  We need to hear those stories about girls/women who were brave, who were thirsty, who trusted God when all else seemed hopeless, and God did awesome things through them. We are so excited to continue reading your book along with the Bible and growing in God's grace and love each time we meet!

Watch this video clip! The Trusting Girl (Miriam and baby Moses story)

Meet the author!

Even Amelia enjoyed the book!
Here is the book on Amazon.  If you comment below I will be sure to choose a person to give a FREE book courtesy of the author herself! (Zondervan can not deliver books to a PO Box, this is only open to residents of the USA who have a physical address)

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