Newborn Favorites

This week has been a little piece of heaven.  Sunshine, 60 degree days (and then lots of snow...), bubbles outside, baby snuggles, and time with good girlfriends makes life so so good.

Today I'm sharing some things that made my week a bit sunnier and helped me get over Kevin going back to work.  They are most definitely all baby related because we are in the thick of it friends.

First up is the woombie.  A friend let me borrow her's to try out to see if Jude would like it.  Turns out, he is a (mostly) masterful sleeper in this thing.  It has one zipper down the middle with no need to tuck or wrap any fabric and it is utterly fool-proof.  So, when I have to change him in the middle of the night, I absolutely don't have to worry about messing it up. Love.

Next, are these sweet bibs.  My mom ordered them for me from a small shop that I adore.  Head 2 Hiney is run by a momma that lives just a few roads over and I love everything she creates.  These neutral bibs go with everything in Jude's closet, are so soft against his skin and do their job of protecting Jude's clothes from inevitable spit up. 

Kevin gifted me a Fawn Design diaper bag last year for Mother's Day and I love the color of it and the fact that it doesn't look like a diaper bag.  I have been looking for some new ways to organize it, now that I'm carrying twice the stash I was before Jude.  These cute little bags labeled 'Baby Things' and 'Toddler Things' are perfect for helping me know where everything is in my bag. I can grab the 'Baby Things' bag when I change or feed Jude and anything I could possibly need is right in there.

The last thing that made my week sunnier are these lactation cookies. Amazingly, I have never made them before and I learned I have most definitely been missing out!  This recipe is perfection and I had to stop myself from eating more than two when they came out of the oven.  #warmcookiesaremyweakness I am freezing them and looking forward to pulling one out everyday during nap time so Luke and Lily don't scarf them all.  I'm pretty sure most mommas eat cookies during nap time.  Right?

I am thrilled to be home this weekend with my (not so) little family and enjoy time doing nothing but being together and slowing down.  Have a Sunny Saturday, friends!


Slowing Down with Jude

Life lately has been s-l-o-w in the very best way.  Having a third baby is the easiest way to put the to-do list aside, allow friends and family to jump in and help, and sit on the couch and snuggle a perfect little nine pound newbie into this world.

Can I be honest?  I'm not sure if I was truly, totally, all-in-present when my first two were newborns.

With Luke, my sweet sweet first baby, I felt pressure (from mostly myself) to keep up with everything I was doing pre-Luke and still care and love a new babe.  I remember finding creative ways to put him down for a minute to clean the bathroom or make cookies or wrap Christmas presents.  I still held him plenty when I was nursing, but I was definitely in a hurry to get this task done or call this person or do whatever it was I needed to do to look like I had it all together as a first time mom.  I wanted my friends and family (and myself) to really believe I could do this motherhood thing well.

Then two years later came Lily.  I was extremely excited to have a baby girl and a two year old boy.  The best of both worlds.  Lily came and the new baby scenario played out like it did with Luke.  I was trying my best to keep my head above water and do all the things while still caring for my two littles. I was worried if I missed dusting on Tuesday or didn't get the strawberry patch weeded or didn't teach Luke his colors and shapes by two, I was somehow going to fall further and further behind and not be able to catch up.

Somewhere in-between having Lily join our family and balancing life as a family of four, I was introduced to Shauna Niequist's books (thank you, Annie!) and started coming to the realization that I needed to embrace this time I have little feet running the halls of my home and slow down my brain and to-do list and reorganize my priorities.

The past year and a half I have tried to do just that.  And trust me, the do-er, type A personality in me has had a hard, hard time with this and I am still definitely a work in progress.  I have done my best to slow down our life at home.  I have thought about what is important to me and what is important to Kevin and me while raising our babies.  I have prayed about what fills my cup and also what empties it too fast.  I have tried to make sure I always have enough for my family and not give too much away to outside events, people, or responsibilities.  I have done my best to slow down our life and embrace and cherish this time when all my babies are under one roof all day everyday.

Then I found out I was pregnant with Jude.  It was a bit of a surprise, in a good way, but I was a little overwhelmed on how it would all work...how does one slow down with three children?

God definitely worked on me during my pregnancy.  I was more sick and tired with Jude than Luke or Lily and had no choice but to slow down and let some things I thought were important go undone.  Add in a remodel and there was so much I couldn't do because of the nature of having the house torn apart and people in and out on a daily basis.

So, I read.  A lot.  I sat on the couch with my feet up.  I snuggled with my babies and read book after book under soft blankets.  We did 'school' with dust floating through the air and hammers banging down the hall.  I left the dirty dishes from lunch in the sink until dinner.  I didn't pick up all the toys during nap time.  I put my phone down during certain parts of the day and focused on my people.  #whyisthissohard  I did my best to slow down while I was pregnant and now it seems I am reaping the benefits of training myself to focus on the important things and am enjoying life as a mom of three.

The last two weeks have been some of the very best of my life.  It seems my eyes have been opened to the joy and beauty and innocence of a newborn.  I rocked and fed and loved my first two babies, but I appreciate this time with Jude in a brand new way.  I know, from real actual experience, that this time will not last forever, that Jude will soon no longer be a newborn.  I know I will not be able to hold him while he sleeps for many more weeks or months; he won't sleep as soundly as his brother and sister run around his rock 'n play playing hide in seek.  I know, God willing, he will grow up (far too soon) and need to be disciplined and sent to his room for throwing food on the floor or not listening or a host of other things toddlers do to test the limits and the patience of their parents.

So, I am holding him as much as I can as often as I can everyday.  I am watching him sleep and googling over his sweetness with Kevin.  I am kissing his chubby cheeks and letting Luke and Lily do the same as much as possible.  I am saying 'yes' to friends and family who want to help with a meal or my to-do list or anything.  I am trying to be present and to truly be in this time with Jude and my family.  It is a special special time; a time when days blur into nights and I get the privilege of gazing into my new son's face nine times a day while I feed him and then countless other times when I hold and soothe him.

I wish I could slow time down; yet instead of trying to do the impossible, I am slowing down myself. I refuse to take this fleeting, all too short, lovely time for granted.  I am cherishing every newborn squeak or grunt and embracing the long nursing sessions and memorizing the way Jude's chest rises and falls as he sleeps so soundly against me.  These finite moments are meant to be enjoyed and remembered.  And I am going to do my best to do just that.

With age comes wisdom; every 'experienced parent' says to cherish your children when they're little, because it is so sweet and so fleeting. But it is the American way to let busyness be a barometer of our self worth. Why do we so easily allow the latter statement to overrule the former? For some reason, to be still and to deeply experience the miracle of newborn life makes one feel like they need to apologize to some unspoken standard of American way.  

This standard is not going to define this time with Jude and my family. Instead, I will be parked on the couch, snuggled under blankets with my newest love while we watch his brother and sister dance and sing and read books around us.  This is, most certainly, my definition of slowing down.


Meet Baby Jude

Our sweet Jude made his much anticipated arrival last weekend.  It was not how we envisioned it to happen, but sometimes life gives you dirty, brown snow and there is nothing to do but endure it, to pretend it's fluffy and white, and to count down the days until summer and sunshine.

On Friday, February 3, Kevin and I headed off to the doctor for our 39 week appointment.  We had a babysitter and I was looking forward to some time in the city after my appointment.  Everything seemed to go well and we decided to have my membranes stripped (somewhat more casually being the third time rather than the first) .  About five minutes later, our doctor left and came back in the room and said I had elevated protein in my urine and they needed to run some extra tests.  They drew some blood and I sat on a monitor and did a stress test.  Our little guy was showing off and moving every twenty seconds, so we were able to head out about a half an hour later with two thumbs up.  

Kevin went back to work and I went straight to the grocery store to stock up on all the essentials (remember, I was without children).  I hadn't been home ten minutes and my doctor called saying my blood test came back and we needed to proceed with an induction within the next day.  From what I understand (which isn't much), protein in the urine can be a warning sign to high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia.  Our doctor didn't want to risk either of those things happening before baby decided to come.

An induction was not how I envisioned this labor and delivery, but I trust my doctor; and knowing it needed to happen got me on board.  After speaking with my doctor, I was on the phone for the next hour trying to make arrangements for the kids and letting family know.  That afternoon was already scheduled to be sacred time; I had a hair appointment and Kevin and I were supposed to be going on a date, so I wanted to get everything organized before we headed out, (which we were definitely going to do), especially since the next day would be life changing.

Kevin and I had a great night together at La Buvette and came home early to snuggle both our littles to bed.  After very, very little sleep, we were up the next day to drop Luke and Lily off at Grandma and Grandpa's house (with cousins!) and headed to the hospital.  It's always a weird feeling driving to the hospital, knowing you're going to have a baby.  I was a ball of nerves, but so excited to meet our little man.

We checked in and our doctor broke my water about thirty minutes later.  She gave me six hours to try and get things started on my own before she was going to start Pitocin.  Kevin and I mall-walked around the hallways of the hospital like it was going out of style (in fact we walked enough to solve the world's problems twice over).  I started getting blisters from my slippers, so I changed into my Converse and walked in those.  Kevin thinks we walked about six miles, which is longer than I have walked in a long, long time.

Around 1:30 p.m., I started having irregular contractions.  They were strong and I thought maybe I wanted an epidural.  Our nurse, Kelsey, checked me and I was about a four and 80% effaced.  I had been a three when I came in that morning.  Kelsey suggested starting Pitocin and then getting an epidural a little later.  I walked for another thirty minutes and decided I wanted an epidural.  She started the fluids and I was feeling good by 3:00 p.m. with a successful epidural.  In that time, I tried to take a nap, but was too excited, so Kevin and I chatted, he read for awhile (and checked basketball scores), and I just dreamt of meeting our boy.

Somewhere in the following crucial time frame was a potentially controversial dilemma where Kevin’s Cyclones delivered Kelsey’s Jayhawks their first basketball home loss in 51 games <Kevin’s insertion>.

Kelsey returned and checked me at 4:45 and was surprised to see I was at an 8 already.  It seems that my body just knows what to do once I get that epidural. #praisejesus  This was our nurse's first day back from maternity leave, so she 'quickly' went to pump before I progressed anymore.  About ten minutes later, I had to call a nurse because I was feeling the need to push.  Another sweet nurse came in and called our doctor right away.  I had made it to a 10 in ten minutes and all things were a go and the nurse said she would stay with me no matter what… yet, this nurse also had to step out, but only for a minute…

By the way, you know it’s getting close when they leave and say “Whatever you do, just don’t cough, sneeze, or laugh…”

(Here is where Kevin broke a sweat and frantically prayed he wouldn’t have to deliver the baby.)

However, our sweet little man decided he wanted to make me work for it a bit when I started to push.  His head was turned to the side and every time our doctor got it turned, he turned it right back.  After about forty minutes of pushing and a few different positions, Jude Jeffrey made his way into the world at 5:48 p.m.  I remember all the nurses and our doctor yelling, 'oh my goodness', 'he's so big' when he came out.  They didn't weigh him right away because I wanted him on my chest as long as possible.  We cuddled him while Kevin and I talked to him and told him how perfect he was.  I nursed for about forty minutes and he latched right on.  Between the nurses and doctor, they were guessing Jude's weight.  Unlike them, I didn't have a good frame of reference, so I was unsure what to expect.  Going into this labor and delivery, I thought for sure he would be smaller than Luke and Lily, especially since he was a week early.  Lo and behold, he tipped the scales to 8 pounds 15.6 ounces, which (we found out much later) they rounded to 9 pounds 0 ounces.  He measured 20 inches long and his head circumference was 15.25 centimeters.

The next few hours were absolutely glorious; some of my favorite in this life of mine.  Kevin and I were able to spend uninterrupted time with Jude, loving him, snuggling him, commenting on how perfect he was.  Since it was so late (we didn't give everyone details until later that evening; and too late for visitors) we had the whole night to ourselves and ate up the one-on-one time with him.

On Sunday, Kevin's parents brought Luke and Lily to meet their little brother. Lily kept on saying 'Baby Jude' and wanted to hold him and snuggle me as much as possible.  Luke loved on him as well, on his own time and in his own very sweet way, but he was excited about the new puzzle we had at the hospital waiting for him; he kept busy putting that together and running the hallways with his cousins.  Kevin's sister, Hillary, and her two kids came to visit and it was fun to play and enjoy everyone being together.

We had visitors throughout the day and it was such a fun time to show our little guy off and chat with good friends.  We watched the Super Bowl that night with our congratulatory steak dinner for Kevin and macaroni and cheese for me and it was seriously like a date, except with a brand new, huge blessing snuggled close on my chest.  I'm not sure if it was hormones, but I had tears in my eyes constantly thinking about how beautiful and grand and special and fleeting this time is and how I wish it could last forever.

The next morning we left the hospital to come home (it was too soon for me, and far too late for Kevin).  My mom was with the kids, so like true third-time-parents, we headed straight to Target for a pacifier (which was inserted immediately; try before you buy, folks) and then we ran a few more errands and ate lunch before heading home.  Luke and Lily were so excited to have us home, but Jude definitely stole the show.  Lily was head over heels in love with him and I'm pretty sure I heard her say 'Baby Jude' about fifty a thousand times that night.

Jude entering the world did not start out how I wanted.  I did not want to be induced.  I did not want it to be planned.  I wanted a surprise.  I wanted him to come on his own time.  But, the end result is the same, I realized, and I still have this cuddly, squishy, perfect baby in my arms today to love and cherish my whole life.  Jude's birth has taught me that dirty snow is never planned, but sometimes the necessary ingredient to get to the really good, really golden days of summertime and brighter days ahead.

We are so in love, so thankful to God for our sweet boy Jude, and so happy to be home as a family of five.

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