Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life with Two Girls Week 4

Lilly Bell is four weeks old today. We are finally starting to get a routine down. I even got brave and while Jared was working this weekend, ventured to the park two days in a row with both girls. It only took us about an hour to get packed and loaded into the car, but I felt like supermom by the time we left. Of course I came home and pretty much passed out on the couch. It was like running a marathon. We had such a great time. I got a smile from Lilly today while I was talking to her. It was adorable even if it was just a reflex.
My girl is getting so big. 

Fun at the park.

I took my own newborn photos this time and all I can say is I now have a new appreciation for photographers. It was impossible to get a good one of Avery and Lilly together. I had all these photo ideas from Pinterest and it was humorous trying to get those girls to do them. These were my best two and I'll try again with Avery when Lilly gets a little older.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rocking the Post Baby Body

I started back exercising this week and couldn't believe how good it felt to be working on getting fit again. I was obsessed with loosing my baby weight after Avery, but this time I am taking it slowly and spending more time enjoying my girls than I am counting calories. I feel completely different now when I see my post baby body in the mirror. Instead of critiquing and hating it, I am loving it!! It looks about the same as it did with my first: thirty extra pounds, flabby belly, and bigger hips and thighs. Yet I am completely in awe over what it was able to accomplish. Maybe it is from getting older or finding more of my confidence in Christ rather than external means, but I am more aware of how precious this season is and I don't want to waste it moaning over why I can't fit back into my size 4 jeans yet. Not to mention I have two girls and my toddler copies absolutely everything I do. If she sees me talking or acting negatively towards my body, she is sure to do the same. All I have to do is look at those beautiful girls that I carried and birthed to confirm that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

God has been so incredibly gracious to me. Not only did I have healthy pregnancies, but also healthy babies. I am finding it very difficult to complain about not wearing a size small in shirts. I feel like that is such a slap in the face to God's generous gifts. Of course I want to get toned and lose my baby weight, but it's not in a maniac, my happiness depends on my size mentality anymore. It's amazing the balance and confidence that God has brought to my life. I am extremely grateful that I get to savor this time and appreciate myself without feeling an incredible amount of pressure.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Making the leap from one child to two

I was incredibly excited to welcome another girl to our family. And I felt an instant bond with Lillian from the time I saw her. However, I was completely unprepared for how big of a change and adjustment it would be for our entire family adding another child. I'm not sure if Lilly Bell is actually a fussier baby than Avery was, but I do know it seems that way because this time around I can't sleep when the baby's sleeping. If I have a night with no sleep, it doesn't change the fact that I have to be up again the next morning by 7:30 at the latest with my three year old. There have been nights where Lilly has cried for hours and I have joined in right with her from being utterly exhausted. Most things worth having in life do not come easy and I think family is no different. It takes work, effort and a whole lot of God's grace to have a healthy, stable family. A few things I keep reminding myself through this new and challenging season are:

Give myself and family grace. Since I grew up in constant chaos, I make a huge effort to make sure my family has structure and routine. Guess what? Newborns don't adhere to that. Or at least this one doesn't. Avery was doing Babywise by week four, but Lilly seems to have other ideas. She also suffers from some stomach issues which make sleep extra difficult for us. I'm seeing that I have to relax and go with the flow right now instead of freaking out that she isn't getting a certain amount of naps in a day. Of course I want her on a schedule eventually (we do feed, play and nap), but right now I'm doing the best I can and that is okay. I'm counting on God meeting me and my children's needs right here in the moment we are in.

Remember that my husband and I are a team. Since we actually got into fight about who was the most exhausted, we are needing to check ourselves on a daily basis and make sure that we are working with and not against each other. I know that the enemy would love nothing more than to take this wonderful, blessed time in our lives and bring strife and division to our marriage. Remembering to be honest and open with each other is crucial. Equally important is making the time to cover our marriage and family in prayer. I for one have to work to find prayer time right now since I seem to be either playing with a toddler, rocking a newborn, or nodding off on the couch. I know it is worth the extra effort to take even 5 minutes at the end of the day for those specific prayers.

Allow God to meet me where I am at. I struggle with being vulnerable and needing help. It can be hard for me to admit that I'm getting frustrated with my kids and need someone to step in for a few minutes. I can be too hard on myself instead of admitting what I'm feeling in the moment. This only leads to more frustration. On my best days I can't be all that God requires me to be. You can imagine what it's like when I'm running on empty. I need the Holy Spirit desperately, to work in me and empower me with traits like patience, kindness, gentleness.. If I don't have the Spirit's help, I am a train wreck. 

Every day with kids is a new adventure and I am really happy that my life is filled with belly laughs, Frozen songs, snuggles and even crying.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Life with Two Girls Week 3

Lilly is already three weeks today. I can barely believe that it was only four weeks ago that I was getting a solid night's sleep. I am exhausted. I don't remember when Avery started being a good sleeper because it didn't matter as much. If I didn't sleep during the night, I could nap during the day. This time around I have a toddler and sleeping in past 730 is not going to happen. That has made for one tired Momma. I am starting to do Babywise, but it has been difficult this time to establish a schedule. Lilly seems to have a good amount of tummy pain and gas which makes sleeping difficult. I've been pretty lenient and let her sleep wherever she can at the moment. The upside is that I'm getting in a good amount of cuddle time with her. One thing I am sticking to is making sure she sticks to the feeding routine so we are on a 2 1/2 to 3 hour feeding time frame. Lilly also got her first bath and was not a fan. This girl does not like being messed with for anything including a diaper change or getting dressed. She has no problem letting us know her strong disdain for activities other than eating, sleeping or being held.

I spend a good chunk of my day looking at this face. 

I took Avery on a date night to get in some quality time with her. We went to the library, park and of course Chick Fil A. I loved having a girls night with my firstborn. She has been a great helper. This weekend we had family in town and she had a great time with her cousin and informed us that Jared's brother was now her favorite person and golfer. She also got a Hula Hoop and spent Friday evening playing outside with it. I tried to show her how to use it, but unfortunately my hips don't move as well as they did a couple years ago.

We had a great weekend minus the sleepless nights!

Monday, April 20, 2015

We are bringing back the mullet

We didn't do much this weekend. It rained the entire time which was a good thing since it gave us a reason to stay indoors. We were able to spend the weekend getting to know Lilly and adjusting some more to having two kids. It was nice to sit around, snuggle and relax. Right now I'm listening to Avery singing as loud as can be in her bed and Lillian screaming her head off at Jared because she doesn't like having pajamas put on. It can get a bit chaotic in our house right now, but beside from the lack of sleep, I am enjoying life right now. One thing that has helped me make the adjustment has been reminding myself to make a gratitude list when I feel like complaining. This is what we have been up to lately:

The night before my induction we headed to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream treat. I wanted to do one more outing before we became a family of four. 

Avery was doing her independent play time and this is what greeted me when I walked in her room. She had taken almost every toy out and dumped it in the middle of her floor to make a "house". She was proud of the house she had made.
Before the rain we started, we did manage to get in some good outdoor time.

 We haven't been able go to church yet since having Lilly so we watch our church online Sunday mornings. Avery loves to put on a concert after she sees the praise and worship band singing.
And finally Lilly is bringing back the mullet. Short in the front and long on the back.

I love my girls!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Life With Two Girls Week 1

Lillian turned one week old on Monday. It has been an exhausting, but amazing week. I am breastfeeding her which has been a struggle, but I am trying to hang on and make it through the next couple weeks. I know it will eventually get easier. I've also started trying to get her on a routine as best as I can at such an early age. I did Baby Wise with Avery and she ended up being a great sleeper. We are trying to follow that routine again. Since Lilly did have a case of jaundice, we had to supplement with formula which caused some added struggles with nursing. Fortunately we were able to stop doing that after this weekend and I'm hoping we get back on track with nursing quickly. This week I am working on getting Lilly to take full feedings and have wake time after her feedings.

Avery has adjusted amazingly well to all the changes. She has been a bit more amped up than usual, but I am blown away by how loving she is to her new little sister. She loves to pretend to nurse her baby dolls and stuffed animals.

Avery has been keeping us entertained.

Holding her little sister.

Lilly enjoying some wake time.

I've always had a difficult time adjusting to change. I'm easily overwhelmed and thrown into a state of anxiety. I read this in my devotional yesterday and it spoke right to my heart.

Thankful for this first week at home with two girls and God's faithfulness to us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Labor and Postpartum Recovery Tips

I had many ideas about what labor and postpartum recovery would be like. To me it is one of those things in life that no matter how much you read, you won't be completely prepared until you dive right through it. Since this was my second pregnancy I had learned a couple tips and am still in a continual learning process even into my recovery. These are the ones I have embraced this time around:

1. When it comes to labor, do what works for you. Today we live in a world where everything seems to be all or nothing thinking. I find this drains the enjoyment out of a vast majority of life experiences. With my first daughter, I was determined to have a natural childbirth. I was also certain that breastfeeding would come naturally. Neither one of those happened. I ended up with an epidural and while I did nurse for four months, it was a long and extremely stressful experience.  This time I approached labor with a much more relaxed attitude. My doctor was actually going out of town the day I was due and since I wanted her to deliver me, I went ahead and scheduled an induction for the day before. Much different than what I did last time, but I did what I believed was best for myself and my family. The whole experience was more enjoyable and had less unnecessary guilt.

2. Take the time to bond with your baby. I wish so badly I had taken more time with my first daughter before allowing visitors. I had two extra people in the room with me during delivery and so many family members came into my room right after delivery that I didn't feel as though I had a chance to establish a close bond with her before she was whisked away to the nursery. After discussing it with my husband, we politely informed our family that if they wanted to be present for delivery they would have to wait in the waiting room until we felt like we had enough time with Lilly. This was the best decision I made during this labor experience. It was just Jared and I. I was able to have plenty of skin to skin contact with her directly after birth and was not in any type of rush nursing her for the first time. Taking the extra time made all the difference in the world. I felt an instant connection with her.

3. Allow yourself time to relax and enjoy your newborn. I learned this the hard way last week. My obsessive perfectionism has a tendency to take over at times and tell me I can accomplish much more than I even need to attempt to be doing. After pushing myself hard for a couple days, I collapsed and was extra weepy, emotional and exhausted. Not a smart move. Since my husband was able to have three weeks off with us, I am really trying to slow down and enjoy these next two weeks before I have to get us all back into a new structured routine.

And finally....

4. Embrace the crazy. Life with two kids is a huge adjustment for us. There is extra work and extra noise. Things don't get done as quickly and we are all still adjusting. Avery has wanted to be directly on me pretty much all day, every day. I'm trying my best to enjoy this time together and go with the flow. I know neither of my girls will be this little forever and time is already passing too quickly. I don't want to wish it away.