Blink

While I get some rest after having Baby Anneli and try to gather my thoughts for the birth story, I have some really amazing friends who will be helping out with the blog. Be sure to check out their blogs and show them a little love for doing this big favor for me. 

Today, Jenna from Mom, the Intern is sharing her beautiful words & inspiration today. This post made me cry, a lot. It could be post-partum hormones. But also her words & message hit me so hard especially in this sleepy newborn phase. It is hard to appreciate these moments yet these are the moments that I know I will miss & crave the most once my babies are grown. 

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I hear Clara over the baby monitor, cooing and sucking her hand. She’s awake. I open my eyes and look over at the clock – 5:40 in the morning. She slept through the night, I think happily. My husband Dillon has already left the bed to get ready for work, the form of his head still pressed into his pillow.

I go into the nursery to retrieve her for her first feeding of the day. She is wiggling and delightedly looking at the ceiling fan while gnawing on her pudgy hand, apparently staving off the hunger of seven hours without milk. She lights up when she finally sees me. Breakfast has arrived. I pick her up, kiss her little forehead and snuggle her on my shoulder as we make the journey back to the bed.

I sit on the mattress, lift my shirt and offer my breast – Clara takes it without a second thought, so desperate to quench her thirst. I am desperate too, though, for relief. It has been a long night and I’m quite full. As she calms down to eat, I recline back onto the pillow, her sweet head resting in the crook of my arm. She closes her eyes and drinks deeply. Her little body fits perfectly against my soft abdomen and shapely hip, just like two puzzle pieces. I feel my eyes getting heavy too, willing me to return back to sleep. Her warmth is so comforting. I kiss her head again and breathe in its perfect scent. I catch her grinning slightly before I drift back to Dreamland.

***

About a half hour later, I wake again to the sound of my preschooler Carson shutting his bedroom door down the hall. I hear him dragging his blanket against the carpet as he approaches my room. I crack my eyes slightly to see his towhead bobbing along in the bedroom. He exerts great effort to haul his large, fluffy blanket and at least four stuffed “guys” around. He throws them all onto Dillon’s side of the bed and hoists himself up.

 “I want to cuddle with you, Mom,” he says, crawling toward Dillon’s pillow. He snuggles up next to Clara and me and sucks his thumb. Not long ago, he was the one I nursed in bed during the early hours of the morning. Like his little sister, his plump body once fit against mine so perfectly. He sucked and sucked until he was full, and then he fell right to sleep next to me, a fat Butterball breathing slowly and steadily. Now, he is long and lean, his soft cheeks the only evidence of his former babyhood. His cuddling is short-lived as he restlessly flops around in the bed, clearly ready to play. He used to be so still as he snuggled up with me. Now, he only wants to move.

***

Final wake-up call. My 6-year-old daughter Audrey is up now, standing by my head. The clock says 7:38. “We’re late for breakfast,” she says, ever the taskmaster. Her long blonde tresses are slightly mussed and wavy from going to bed with damp hair. She holds a stuffed pug in her arms against her hot pink nightgown. I briefly remember when she, too, was a baby sleeping in my arms. Looking at her bony, long limbs and the adult-like impatience etched into her face, it’s hard to believe it ever happened, but I have the pictures to prove it. I can see her now: her perfect bald head against my shoulder, her chubby cheeks completely relaxed, her fat arms dangling by my side. My fluffy motherly figure provided the cushion for her comfort. It was just yesterday, I swear.

I remember those early days of Audrey’s life when in an exhausted haze, I wondered how women went on to have more babies after the first. How could they find the energy and time when one baby sucked it all out of them? How did they not die from being deprived of so much sleep? Those thoughts were shortsighted of me. Of course, no child stays a baby forever. And sometimes, that fact is sad to us. But it’s also the entire point of parenthood: create a child and help it grow. They do get bigger. They eventually start talking and walking on their own. They start eating the same foods you do and can even help prepare them. They go to school, buckle their own seatbelts, get their own drink of water, take their own showers and draw pictures of things they came up with all on their own.

And mothers … we change, too. We become more patient. We relax a little. We don’t let a little spit-up or a tantrum bother us anymore. We figure out how to live on less – less money, less sleep, less attention to yourself. We start to see the forest for the trees and know the sleepless newborn phase will not last forever (even though it still feels eternal, even on the third kid). But that first time … nothing can adequately prepare you for what it’s like for a tiny human to be solely dependent on you and no one else. It’s emotional, it’s exhausting, it’s challenging, it’s humbling. Oh so humbling. But let’s not forget – it’s rewarding, too, as difficult experiences tend to be.

So if you’re about to embark on the journey of motherhood, beware: it moves fast. Faster than you want it to sometimes. Take pictures. Keep a journal. Change your baby’s outfit frequently because believe it or not, she may outgrow some of them before she ever wears them. (True story.)

And don’t be in such a hurry to return to the Land of the Living after your baby comes. Sleep, relax, snuggle, enjoy. Watch and wonder about how your baby’s appearance can literally change from one morning to the next. When she falls asleep in your arms, lay back and sleep along with her. Cherish the sweet moments and savor them. They are like elusive hummingbirds -- hovering, fleeting, then gone.

Basically, whatever you do, just don’t blink.


5 Tips for Transitioning to Motherhood

While I get some rest after having Baby Anneli and try to gather my thoughts for the birth story, I have some really amazing friends who will be helping out with the blog. Be sure to check out their blogs and show them a little love for doing this big favor for me. 

Today, Abbey from Along Abbey Road is filling in for me with some great tips on surviving motherhood. Love her tips and they are great for even 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time or more moms! 
{it's all too easy to forget the little things}

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The moment I became a mother is and will be the greatest accomplishment I've ever made. It was insanely scary, yet made me feel incredibly whole. 

I remember staring down at Luke and thinking, "I can't believe this perfect, tiny human is mine!" 

Not even two years later, I stared down for the second time at Wes and again thought, "I can't believe this perfect, tiny human is mine!"

Motherhood is also by far the hardest thing I have ever done and probably will do. It's an eternal role and refines even the most patient and well-organized women (of which I am neither). That being said, I have learned some important life lessons in the two short years I earned my mom badge. Here are some of my tips in making the transition to becoming a mama:


1. Get on a routine. Babies love routines, and it makes life much more predictable and happy for everyone, especially when things feel overwhelming and like a whirlwind is ensuing (which is, like, always). Try to feed on a regular schedule, do baths at a specific time every day, and try to get naps down to a schedule, too. You will probably even find that your little one works into a schedule all on their own. With that being said, realize that the schedule is not really going to happen until they are 6 weeks or older. Their days and nights will be backward, and there is no use in fighting it, so in the meantime just do what feels right. Before you know it, they will be eating and sleeping like clockwork (hopefully!). 

2. Don't try to hide your emotions. Postpartum hormones are real and will make you feel all sorts of things you may have never experienced. One moment you are all sunshine and rainbows, and the next a raincloud is following you wherever you slump around. Your body will feel weird. Learning to feed a baby might be challenging. You will be exhausted. You may even deal with some postpartum depression. Find comfort in that fact that you are not alone. Talk to your spouse, partner, family, or doctor about it so you can get the help you need. 

3. Let others help you. Right after having a baby is not the time to play Supermom. Trust me on this one. Let your family and friends pamper you and don't feel guilty! Those dishes in the sink and piles of laundry staring you in the face will still be there in a few weeks, but guess what won't be? Those teeny fingers, wrinkles, yawns, goofy faces and coos that are exclusive to newborns. They can only curl up and sleep on your chest for so long, so let those snuggles and precious time take priority. (Last time I checked, a vacuum isn't very cuddly.)


4. Write down the details. I should be taking my own advice on this one. Those first time moments you tell yourself you will never forget? You will. It's called mom brain, which you probably think is a thing of legend. It is real, my friend! You will not remember every little first, so get a cute journal and write down those darling details! You and your children will appreciate it.

5. Take time for yourself. Whether it's just going for a walk or going out for a fabulous spa treatment, you will feel so much better. There is a reason they say, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" Mothers somehow set the tone for the household and its inhabitants, and alone time is the essential elixir to maintain that happy, well-balanced mama. And again, don't feel guilty about it!

Be sure to stop by my blog for more thoughts on motherhood and life! You can also find me on InstagramFacebookPinterest and Twitter

Megan, congratulations to you and your now family of four! You're such a wonderful mother, woman, and friend, and I wish you all of the happiness and joy life has to offer at this precious moment in your life. XO!

Upcycled Color Matching Game

While I get some rest after having Baby Anneli and try to gather my thoughts for the birth story, I have some really amazing friends who will be helping out with the blog. Be sure to check out their blogs and show them a little love for doing this big favor for me. And I will be back soon with all the details of Anneli Mae's eventful arrival :) 

Today Aubrey from Dreaming About Someday is sharing a really easy and fun activity you can make with your kids to help teach them color matching. Elijah loves little games like this so this is definitely something we will be using in the future. 
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i'm aubrey from dreaming about someday. i met megan in real life before we became blog friends at a church craft activity. the first time we met we upcycled men's ties into necklaces.
i wish i had a picture with megan, but sadly i only have the necklaces.

 in keeping with the craft theme of upcycle and to help with summertime boredom, i'm sharing an upcycled craft for kids. 

i absolutely 100% did not come up with this idea on my own. a friend gave me the idea a few years ago. i'm sure i could look it up on pinterest, but i came up with pretty easy instructions.

supplies
pringles can
hot glue
butcher paper (or some other paper to cover the can)
tape (i used washi tape)
hole puncher
reinforcement labels (ya know...the kind you used in 6th grade when you tore the holes in your papers)
markers
pipe cleaners

1. cut paper to cover pringles can
2. cover can completely
3. use a little hot glue (or glue stick if you like that stuff) on the inside paper to glue it to the can and also glue the paper to the paper so it stays in place
4. secure the paper with some tape. i like this fun washi tape found at wal mart of all places


5. punch holes in the lid of the pringles can. i did 3.


6. color reinforcements with marker


7.  put reinforcements around holes in lid


8. match pipe cleaners to the holes


finished product


if you want pipe cleaners to go all the way in the can, trim the tops off. they cut easily with regular scissors

this was so easy to make. it could be quickly done during nap time or even with the help of your little tykes. i might add a kid's name to the other side of the can to make it more personalized. let me know if you make it.
Photobucket

Inspiration

Introducing...


Anneli Mae Robinson
(on-a-lee)
6 lbs 10 oz 19 in 
born at 4:07am on Monday, July 14th 

she immediately filled our life with excitement, coming out fast & furiously in 10 minutes flat.
and we are all over the moon in love with her! 

{full story to come :)}

Inspiration

a cake filled with rainbows & smiles


This cake to me represents the love Adam has for me. 
I'm sure of it. 

My birthday didn't really turn out how I wanted it to. 
Seems the older I get, the more disappointing birthdays are. 

I had to go fix the car and run errands, Elijah was nuts as usual and my errands were cut short because I didn't even want to deal with his tantrums anymore, Adam was in school all day and didn't get back til late, I had a big long to-do list for things to get ready for baby, and taking myself {and Elijah} out for lunch turned out to be a huge bomb. 

So I was throwing myself a good pity party & feeling really upset when Adam called to ask what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday. First, I couldn't even believe he didn't even have a cake already planned AND that he had obviously forgotten or ignored my requests when he asked me the same question a few days and weeks before. 

I can't have chocolate, it makes me sick. 
Too much sugar makes me sick. 
I like fruit. 
Something like a strawberry shortcake with whip cream. 

This was my request. 
And I was angry I had to explain it again while yelling at Elijah to stop running down the street. 

I was not a happy person as you can see. 
Yes, I was bitter. 
And hormonal. 
And exhausted. 

So Adam kindly finished the conversation and said he would be home in a little bit. 
Once he got home, he took Elijah inside so I could have some alone time to paint the baby's dresser and stew in my thoughts... I later came inside to a small pile of beautiful presents & this cake that Adam put together. 

I about cried. 

After being so bratty and rude and emotional, Adam still was willing to do all that he could to turn my birthday around and make it special. 
He doesn't really know how to make a cake... but he tried his best and made it so beautiful & presentable as he could. 
I couldn't stop smiling. 
I kept telling him that it was exactly what I wanted. 
And it was! 
He got me. 

I'm so grateful for a loving husband who, after having to deal with an overwhelmed & extremely rude pregnant wife, still makes the biggest efforts to make my birthday special. 
He went out of his way and took the time to show me that he loved me even with all my flaws. 

I feel so undeserving to have Adam as my husband. 
He truly is too good for me and puts up with way too much. 
I love him & could not ask for a better way to end my birthday. 
Even after a rough start, it turned out to be a pretty fantastic day after all. 

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The winner of the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker is..... Sarah [she said: I love how versatile and compact it is! And this peaches with bananas and rice recipe looks great:  http://www.cuisinart.com/baby/recipes/stage_1/273.html"] Congratulations, Sarah!! Email me and I will get you all the information for your prize :) 

And thank you everyone who entered!