Baby #3 is a...

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BOY!!!

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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!)

Exercise Power Hour!

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The weather around here has been whack. It warmed up about a month ago, and then the temperatures decided to plummet back into the 30's like a big fat April Fools trick. It's almost Easter and I fear my grass shall never been green again.

So even though it's been stupid cold (sorry, my New England friends, but seriously, people live in the South to be able to enjoy spring temperatures when it's actually spring, which it is now, so I have no idea what's going on) - but, we've been going outside anyway. Every day after the boys wake up from their afternoon nap, sometime in the 4 o'clock hour, we high tail it outside and move our bodies. I've started calling this exercise power hour, because even though it's not exactly enjoyable temperatures (and my flowers haven't bloomed so there's no yard decor going on), it's still so important to move and play and get some fresh air. For their sanity and mine - cabin fever has gotten real around here these last few weeks and we all need the sunshine, even if it is still bathed in winter's chilly breath.

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I decided to start giving Everett some exercise pointers. I taught him how to do squats, lunges, push ups and planks. And since he loves to run, we sprint in between these sets and really get our blood pumping. And it's been SO much fun! Daxton just toddles around and watches us, but I actually picked him up the other day and squatted with him for extra weight and GOOD LORD. I could only do 3. That kid is hoss.

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My activewear was sent to me by Yandy.com and I chatted about the line over on 5 Minutes for Mom. Check out the post I wrote about why moms should never apologize for living in their activewear! Because for real you guys. It's my mom uniform.

Happy Friday to you, friends! xx

Help a Mother Out.

New motherhood is a foggy time. It's joyful, overwhelming, exhausting, sweet, memorable... there is nothing like that swift season of having your brand new baby fall asleep on your chest, grab your fingers, search your eyes for the answer to every need. When you're in that moment, it can feel like a very long time, but it really is a fleeting season.

I wanted to share a few ways to help out those new mothers in your life. My friends and family really banded around me as I was healing from my c-section with Daxton back in December. I don't know what I would have done without the help and support I received - it was everything during a time that I was hurting, processing and recovering. I am so so grateful that I was surrounded with an abundance of love and support, and I wanted to share the things that were so nourishing to me during that season. Because while baby gifts are a sweet gesture, when it comes down to whether you should buy a pack of onesies or buy a sleeve of blueberry muffins - a mom of two wants the muffins! Just trust me on this one.

1. Meals!
This was hands-down, my favorite gift from anyone and everyone. It made me feel so loved and cared for when people took the time to cook for me and my family. Having entire meals delivered to my door was actually healing to my heart, since it took care of my family, so it was one less thing to stress about. And postpartum, I was stressed. This is by far the most immediate way to meet the needs of that new mama and her family. And meals don't have to be fancy, gourmet, home-cooked creations (while that is amazing, obviously) - but it can be take out! It can be the wings and mac'n'cheese from the Kroger buffet! It can be Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits. Just one less need to have to worry about when I had a busy toddler and a needy newborn on my hands. I loved knowing that I didn't have to worry about feeding everyone, too! There are a few great websites like Take Them A Meal and Mealtrain that make organizing a meal delivery with friends and family super easy. If you have a friend who is about to pop, offer to organize the meal train for her - it really is such an enormous blessing.

2. Paper products.
This kind of goes along with the meals thing, but I thought it was such a simple and genius addition to the postpartum meal times. Duh! Paper products! Then there are no dishes to do! I don't know why this was such a foreign concept to me, but when someone brought over a meal with a stack of paper plates and napkins, it was like the Heavens parted. I'm sure my weeping wasn't just due to hormones, in this case those were actual tears of wonder and joy too.

3. House Cleaning.
One of my dear friends gifted me a professional house cleaning session as a baby gift. What a brilliant, generous gift! It had been a looooong while since my floors and bathrooms had really gotten any cleaning attention, so her gift came at the perfect time. But even if you can't gift someone a whole house cleaning session, you could show up on her doorstep with some Clorox wipes and Windex - I promise, if you offer to vacuum up her living room and kitchen, she won't be able to say no! And since you don't leave the house much when you're a new mom, it's really nice to have your environment clean and neat.

4. New Pajamas.
This one might not matter to everyone, but my sister-in-law gave me the prettiest purple pajamas for me to lounge around in postpartum, and it was the BEST. I felt so pampered, having my matching pajamas on, even if I hadn't showered and my hair looked like a rat's nest. And still, six months later, I feel so pretty and cared for when I put those jammies on. And it was really nice having someone bring something over for me, not just for the baby. In fact, last week I picked up another pair of matching pajamas at Target, and I've kept them in almost constant rotation since then. It's not the kind of thing I would normally buy for myself, but it makes me feel so cozy when I'm in the house so much.

5. Staying Connected.
I've recognized this second time around that I tend to isolate myself during the postpartum months. Obviously, because most of my time is accounted for in babyland, but also, it can feel overwhelming to get out of the house to do things. So I will say that having people who reached out to me and asked to hang out or come over, or even just texted to check in - all of these things really helped make me feel loved and connected, even during times where I wasn't making an effort to connect with anyone outside of my family. I really appreciated those friends who continued to badger me with love and support and encouragement - those connection points gave me so much strength when I was exhausted and overwhelmed!

My postpartum experience this time around was difficult. I am so grateful that people around me pushed extra hard to love on me while I attempted to put up a brave front - I needed the help, even though I didn't really want to ask for it. So if you know a new mama and you ask her what you can do, and she doesn't answer you - try out a few of these! I promise you, she needs your support - probably more than she would care to admit.

Shifting Priorities.

I overheard a conversation last week.

Someone I know asked someone else that I know, "What people group do you feel most called to?"

It was a good question - they were discussing various cultures and the world at large - and discussing how their role in the world could make a difference in the need expressed in other countries. I wasn't being asked, and I was more of a fly on the wall during this conversation, but the question has been beating in my heart ever since I heard it asked.

What people group do I feel called to?

It was a very simple answer for me. Maybe too simple?

I feel called to my family.

I know it sounds kind of phony and lame, but it's the absolute "yes" in my heart. This is my people group. These are my people. I made them, and I am continuing to invest all my time into caring for them. Everyday, I am feeding, nurturing, encouraging, reprimanding, challenging, changing and re-feeding these sweet (though I'll admit - exhausting) people. The little boys that are asleep across the hallway are counting on me, depending on me every day to raise them out of their beds and do everything to help them along in the world.

Sometimes it's weighty, when I really think about how much they need me. They need me to be on my A-game. They need all of me, not just the leftovers. They need me at my best, at my most engaged, at my most calm and brimming with love and satisfaction for who they are.

So while I love the world and I dream of making a difference in it, my sphere of influence has drastically changed in the past few years. I used to dream of making a difference through the arts - music and movies and creative content. I wanted to be an actress and tell stories to encourage people, to let them know they are loved and lovely and worthy. And it's not that those dreams and desires have disappeared, but they have shifted out of their day-to-day significance in my life. These days I play trucks with my boys instead of playing dress up in auditions and on sets.

I love that I have this opportunity to parent, because I know the years of having young children are short and fleeting (even though the days feel looong when there are too many tears and not enough cups of coffee). I don't want to miss the moments. And I don't want my boys to miss out on me, if I am heavily distracted with some other thing.

I don't want them to remember their mom scrolling through her phone while they tried talking to her.

This question of calling has been bugging me, and yet, igniting me.

I've been thinking of starting a small business. I've been thinking about ways to grow this blog. I've been sitting on a book idea for a few years and I want to grow my freelance writing business and I also want to start creating some video content for this blog. The dreams and brainstorming are endless over here, but - my time is occupied. I am wiping noses and teaching lessons about cleaning up toys and figuring out ways to prepare healthy meals my son will actually eat.

Quite simply, I don't have time for anything or anyone else.

Please tell me, friends, that I am not alone in this.

The margins in my world are currently minimal, and outside of caring for my family, I am lucky if I get to meet up with a girlfriend once a month or read a book at night before bedtime once a week. I schedule time for everything outside of my boys (when I say "boys", that husband of mine is included in this club we call family :) ) - my workouts, my meal prep, my social time, and even time that I work on this blog - it is all scheduled and planned ahead for, because otherwise, there is no way it will happen.

Intention + bits of rest + lots of coffee + saying "no" a lot = the only way to do this thing called motherhood.

I don't know how other women do this thing. Being a mom is hard, and being a mom with a side hustle takes some serious discipline and support. I can't even begin to fathom how my friends who work full-time and parent do it all - I am simply amazed at how incredible women are.

From what I gather it's a juggling act for most everyone I know. A constant balancing of where to put all the energy, attention and emotion required.

The priorities have shifted around over the past few years, and in the wake of Daxton's arrival, I am more aware than ever of how full my hands are. Full of dirty laundry and preschool art (and half-eaten mac'n'cheese that I just had to put the cauliflower in and that my toddler totally tasted and has therefore now rejected.)

I feel like I am in it right now. In the deep, deep throws of this vocation of modern motherhood. I love it, I am exhausted, I am hungry to do more outside of mothering, and yet I am so aware that I can't do more without sacrificing more.

So while my friend answered my other friend's question with an eloquent and studied answer about the tribe of people she feels most drawn to, I am left with a yes in my heart to the current season I am in. Motherhood - the good, the challenging, the humbling, sometimes infuriating, sometimes stripping of all prestige, most times tiring and almost always requiring prayers and caffeine and encouragement - this thing is no joke. But it hasn't dominated me - I choose to love my moment of shrinking margin and paused extracurricular endeavors. I choose to shift my priorities so that I can give the best of myself to my mighty little men. They might be small right now, but their character is being forged this mine of childhood adventure. I am partnering with them to become people of great heart in a world of shrinking moral values and vapid strut.

I am changing the world, it just looks different than I ever thought it would. Instead of telling other people's stories through the creative arts, I am telling my story through my time spent with my family.

I share this with you to connect, relate, and extinguish any lingering guilt. As women, mothers, people who will someday be parents and people who want to make a difference in the world, we shouldn't be so hard at ourselves for seasons of shifting priorities. It doesn't mean that goals go unmet and dreams are dashed - our sacrifice is beautiful, meaningful, and lasting. And if you're in the business of wiping bums and kissing boo-boos, I applaud you for the people group that you choose to invest in. They are worthy, so so worthy of the effort it takes to grow and nurture. And you, my friend, are an absolute gem. Although, you probably deserve a Starbucks and a solo stroll around Target with a giftcard to spend. No, not on your son's friend's birthday gift, but on YOU.

My thoughts can really ramble, can't they? Talk to me in the comments, friends. Do any of you feel me on this one? xoxox