Baby #3 is a...

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We can’t seem to get enough boys around here! You can just refer to us as the wolf pack now, because I think three boys qualifies us. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Verrrrrry surprised that this little person is another boy (because I always think I’m having a girl and I’m apparently always wrong!) but I am so thrilled. These boys are my entire life and I have become a better person because I get to be their mom.

I didn’t grow up in a household with boys, so I am constantly leaning into the Lord’s wisdom for how to handle situations that I am SO not equipped to handle in my own right. These boys have challenged me, caused me to have to get sharper and lean into my intuition and grow in my parenting approach (believe me, reading a lot of parenting boymom books these days…) I am giggling at how funny my life looks every day with these loud, funny, imaginative, wonderful little boys. I truly believe God knows exactly who our family is supposed to be and I am just so honored that I get to raise another little boy in sweet family. I truly feel like it’s a big responsibility, since we are living in an amazing age where women are more empowered with opportunities than ever before. It’s going to take mighty, humble, confident men to thrive right along side all these empowered women and I truly feel the call to do my very best with my boys. They are going to be (and already are!) such incredible men! I’m overwhelmed with love.

Soooo since I won’t be having tea parties with little girls, alert to all my girlfriends - I’m gonna need my fill of tea time, manicures and skincare shopping. Please do those things with me.

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We are SO excited to meet you, little man!!! Your brothers are already planning presents for you, discussing where you will sleep and who will get to wrestle with you first (Everett has dibs, but Daxton is pretty feisty so we’ll see!)

We love you so much! Can’t wait to meet you in November!!!

P.S. - Shoes are matching New Balance for infant & toddler (on sale!)

To 3-Month-old You.

It's true what they say, the time passes more quickly with the second babe. I can't imagine what the third, fourth and fifth times feel like - something like leaping into the future with each passing moment? I perhaps that's what all this is, anyway. This thing called living. Raising you. You're an absolute joy, Daxton bear.

Of course, the exhaustion isn't a surprise. But it is just as brutal as I remember it being with your big brother. Somehow I forgot how debilitating lack of sleep can be. The morning fog of feeding you, changing you, making your brother breakfast, gulping down water and vitamins in a flurry of getting him off to preschool, and then a hazy crescendo into the quiet of laundry, cleaning the kitchen and coffeeing my very soul.

You, my son, are just as perfect as can be. You are sweet and good, and your calm heart actually ministers to my busy jumbled self. You help me slow down. You help me remember my purpose. Not because you scream or cry (you do these things, but not nearly as much as I expected you would). But you have helped me realize that mothering you and your bro is just the absolute privilege of my life. Even when I am frustrated that I didn't get my workout in, my blog posts have gone unfinished, my kitchen is a nightmare and my sleep is interrupted - I am certain that you are part of my very purpose here on Earth. And I am changing the world, just by being with you. You are going to do brilliant things with your hands, your heart, your words. Your life is already rippling the destiny of so many others, causing and affecting great wonders in all the Earth. I am so proud of you, beautiful boy. You are growing stronger with each breath. You are mighty, in fact. And you are so long.

Somehow you are three months old. These days you are smiling, right at me. You are talking. (Okay, you are cooing, but I know you are talking right to me when you do it.) You are aware of all of us and you love when your brother gives you kisses. You have a little fox stuffed animal that has been named "Bear" for you (thank you Everett?) and I actually think you like that little thing. You aren't a fan of hats, but kid - it's been really cold outside. I'm sorryyyyy. You look handomest in blue. You are wearing 12-month onesies. You like seeing yourself in the mirror. And you have already changed all of us for the absolute better.

You are such a piece of Heaven. You are my peaceful one.

I love, love love you. Thanks for letting me be your mom.

Six Weeks in Newbornland.

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It's been quite a journey, these past 6 weeks.

I've laughed, cried, felt complete peace, felt complete chaos.

Stevie had 6 weeks of paternity leave (!!!), so my family was pretty spoiled by having daddy around constantly. And I didn't realize how much I would NEED him around, to do everything. Thank goodness for him! And for his awesome company for providing this policy for dads! I can't tell you enough how thankful I am that we had so much time together to integrate into a new family normal.

Because I've been recovering from a c-section, I couldn't do anything for the first two weeks postpartum. Like, anything. I couldn't move, let alone change diapers or pick up my toddler or even go to the bathroom. Stevie did it all - cooking and cleaning, taking care of Everett, taking care of Daxton. He had to bring me the baby every time to feed him, he had to help me change my underwear, he had to help me bathe. It was kind of a nightmare, for me. I felt so helpless and disempowered. Of course, all of those things got easier, but the process felt so, so slow. Once I got over being exhausted from the labor and delivery, I went into full-force frustration because I just wanted to be able to do stuff. I have a whole new empathy for women who have gone through c-sections, especially in situation that are emergent. I never understood what that must feel like, how hard the recovery can be, how emotional the process is.

Not to sound dramatic, but there were a lot of things that made the past 6 weeks feel endless.

But then there's Daxton.

He is just incredible. So sweet, with a peaceful demeanor and almost an air of maturity, somehow. His eyes are clear and his body is long and he has the gentlest spirit. Did I mention he is big? So big. In the few short weeks I've known him, I've fallen hard. We all have. This family is smitten with our little boy and we didn't realize how much we were missing out on before he arrived. Everett and I like to call him our lovey dovey, only Everett says it like, 'uh-vy duhvy' and it's pretty hilarious. He also calls him his "best brother" and kisses him on the cheek about 50 times a day. We are all just so happy with our expanded family. It's so nourishing to this mama heart of mine, especially as I sort through the highs and lows in this new season of motherhood.

All the "firsts" have been so unique to Daxton's personality. Finding a special song to sing to him in the middle of the night when I'm rocking him back to sleep. Giving him his first bath and seeing his calm reaction to the water. Taking family walks outside and watching his eyes as he takes in the blue of the sky, the song of a bird, the chill of the weather. Even though we've had Everett for over two years, showing us the world through his eyes, it all feels new again. Because it's with a brand new soul, fresh from Heaven and brimming with his own breath of life.

Sometimes I have to stop myself, to remind myself that I am living in the good old days. And these are those days! Marked with exhaustion and teeming with every degree of emotion. What a six weeks it's been!

P.S. - My birth story with Daxton.

A Name for Little Brother.

His name will be Daxton Spencer Hale.

Daxton - Warrior who conquers great obstacles.
Spencer - Dispenser of provisions.
Hale - Healthy and hearty, free of disease.

I thought I would go ahead and share his name with you, since we are upon the heels of meeting him (I hope?) and we have been calling him by his name for months now.

Stevie and I wanted to find something in the same genre of Everett's name, with a bit of an English background, since we both have English heritage. We went through lists of names, rifled through books, and of course did tons of Google searches. When we were in London this summer we even looked at all the street names, and kept speaking them aloud, seeking to hear just the right fit for our little boy. We came across the name Daxton in an online search, and continuously said it out loud to ourselves. It sounded so different, so uncommon, but was it too different? We tossed the name around for about a month before deciding on the perfect combination. And Everett has everything to do with us finally settling on it because he refused every other name we tried out - he literally yelled "No! No! No!" to every name option, and when we asked him what his baby brother's name should be, he responded every single time with "DAXTON!!!!" It was one of our road trips games on the way home from our month in New York - how many times we could get him to plead with us what his brother's name should be.

Daxton Spencer Hale. He sounds like quite a Brit, eh? Spencer is my maiden name and I've always known I wanted to weave it into a family name somehow. I'm excited that Daxton will be the keeper of that bit of heritage.

We also like to choose a bible verse to declare over our boys, to hang in their room and remind them of who we see them as - like a seal upon their lives. It took me a while to find the perfect verse for Daxton, but when I did, Stevie and I read it over and over again like, yes.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best, and may be pure until the day of Christ; filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."
- Philippians 1:9-11

We are so excited and so ready to meet our baby boy. I am a few days shy of 39 weeks, so lets get on with it, mister Daxton! I can't wait to meet you!

P.S. - When we decided Everett's name.
P.P.S. - Custom name print by Jenny Highsmith - isn't she crazy talented? She's my go-to for hand-lettered prints.

Baby #2 - 34-Week Bumpdate.

How Far Along: 34 weeks. My goodness.

Gender: BOY.

Name: Everett calls him by name and it melts me.

Sleeping? Sometimes! Sometimes I sleep terribly and sometimes, like last night, I slept like a baby. I appreciate the cooler temperatures these days, I think it helps with the sleep :)

Eating: So, the no-sugar mission has turned a challenging corner. Halloween teased me, I finally had to throw all the candy away because it was a temptation. Not because I want tons of sugar, but just a little here and there semi-regularly. Oh, and I want hot chocolate with marshmallows. I just WANT it. And I'm not a big self-deprivation person because I don't think that's psychologically healthy, so I give in here and there. But I know when I am eating completely clean, I feel better and lighter. So it's a tough balance. Also, tacos are a thing right now. Give them. And lots of crushed ice in my water. I've been chomping on ice like its my job. I know it's not good for my teeth, but it just feels so good...

Emotional Check: I've finally accepted that this pregnancy is completely different from my first, and it's just okay. Even though I'm still having contractions semi-regularly, I feel peace in my heart that this baby isn't coming out too soon. I've also been making positive, out-loud declarations over my body and this baby, and I really believe in the power of those words. Re-reading sections of my pregnancy books has also helped ease my heart a bit, and remind me what I am about to have to do - give birth! P.S. my book list from the first pregnancy here.

Movement: Whoa, yes. He must be so long because there are moments (like all the time now), where I feel him poke in two places simultaneously that are faaaaar apart, like the top of my right rib and the bottom left corner of my hip bone. He is reaching for the stars in there. Too bad he's bumping up against my lungs and bladder and whatnot.

Looking Forward to: Oh, I am in the stage now where I am just enjoying each day as it passes. I am really soaking in my moments with Everett, cuddling on the couch and watching Mickey Mouse. Wandering through the Christmas section at Target and letting Everett pick out ornaments while also getting covered in glitter (it's not Christmas violation if you're giving birth at Christmas, we have to prep early over here.) Finishing up little things in the baby room, ordering last-minute items online, continuing to add to my hospital bag, which is at the foot of my bed. All these things are still in preparation-mode, but I feel a shift from the frantic feelings I had a month ago, and now I'm just sort of relaxed in my heart a bit more. He is going to come when he comes. And it will be exactly as it should be.

I can't wait to snuggle my baby, you guys. I actually know all the good things to look forward to this time around, and I am dwelling on that anticipation.