the new normal

the new normal

James Walker is officially six weeks old today. What on earth? I had my six week appointment yesterday and everything was good. My incision is healing nicely and I got the go-ahead to exercise again. I haven’t really missed exercise, but I’m ready.

I had goals to nurse for six weeks and then see how things were going, and so far so good. I have nursed James Walker for six weeks and will continue as long as I can. And now that I have a part-time, work from home job, I had a goal this month to establish a routine for myself that helps me figure out when I’ll have my work hours.

This is all new to me. All of it. Being a family of five. Having older kiddos and an infant. And working from home. I’m excited about all of it, I want to do it all well, but I also know that I can’t do all the things and do them all well. And no one expects me to.

I can do some of the things every day and do them well.

There is laundry to do and there are meals to prepare. And there’s a marriage to focus on and older children to raise. It’s life and mine is no different than so many other women. So I’m just trying to figure out day by day what works and what doesn’t. And how to make the most of my time while still soaking up the moments with my kids.

One thing I know for sure is that we all thrive with structure. James Walker sleeps great at night when his day is structured. So he knows when he’s going to eat and when he’s going to nap and when he’s going to get his bath. And the big boys know the same things about their schedule. And they know James Walker’s schedule. It just helps all of us.

And it helps me to know what’s next. I need my own schedule so I can manage my time, the household duties, and my work tasks.

James Walker eats at 6:00 a.m. every day, and right after that feeding, I swaddle him and put him back down to go to sleep where he sleeps until 9:00 a.m. So instead of going right back to sleep like I really really want to, I get on up and make myself some coffee. (My friend Jessica would call this one of my Fringe Hours.) I start a load of laundry and then I do my devotional for the day while I sip coffee.

The laundry thing is huge. I finally, finally have a laundry system! I do a little bit of laundry every day. That’s the system. And then I fold it immediately and put it away. Genius, right? How did it take me almost 15 years to figure out what so many of you have been doing all along? I’ve spent years letting laundry pile up before washing it. And then I’d let it pile up and procrastinate on folding it. Not anymore, sister!

Anyway. After I finish my devotional, I tackle some of my Influence Network emails. Oh, email. (In heaven there will be no email. Or laundry.)

The big boys make their way downstairs around 7:00, and Todd and I get them dressed, fed, and out the door for school by 7:45.

When they leave, I get dressed and get ready for James Walker to be back up at 9:00. I feed him, play with him until 10:00. “Play” for a six week old means ten minutes on the activity mat, ten minutes in the bouncy seat, and ten minutes sitting with me while I sing and read to him. And then he’s down again for another morning nap. I sit down to do more Influence work and tackle more of my to-do list until James Walker is up around noon and the boys come home from school. And the rest of the day is spent playing with my three boys and prepping dinner if I didn’t do something in the crock pot.

At night, to prepare for the next day, I set out all the things I need to get done in the morning… the boys’ clothes are laid out, their bags are packed for school, lunch boxes are set out to be packed, and my load of laundry is already sorted and in the washer ready to start. Hudson and Hayes are in bed by 7:00 and asleep by 7:30. Then Todd and I bathe James Walker, I feed him, and I go to bed as soon as James Walker is asleep between 8:30-9:00.

I love to read and keeping that hobby is important to me. I know people sometimes think they don’t have time to read, but even if I just read a chapter every night, it helps me fall asleep and sleep well. So I try to read as much as I can before I crash every night. And then I just wait to see what time James Walker wakes up for his middle of the night feeding. And the day starts all over again.

I know that some days the plan just won’t work. Babies have a mind of their own and don’t always stick to a schedule. Hudson and Hayes have their own things on the schedule like soccer and baseball. We have doctors appointments and sickness and emails go unanswered and work goes unfinished for a day. The plan doesn’t always work. And that’s where grace comes in and where I will have to remind myself to embrace the mess, embrace the chaos, and just enjoy the kiddos.

I’d love to know if any of you have any tips. How do you work from home when your baby is having an off day? How do you break up your work hours throughout the day? How did your household management routine change as you welcomed new babies?

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I mentioned my daily devotional. Yesterday, I started the brand new Naptime Diary and, mamas, it is incredible. The devotionals are so sweet, not too long, and perfect for the mama heart. There is a place to journal your thoughts, to list out the fruit and the things you’re thankful for that day. It’s a true gift from the Naptime Diaries team. 

the new normal

For the next week, April 14-21, you can take 30% off your Naptime Diaries order by entering in the code BlueEyedBride30 at checkout

printable daily feeding log for baby

printable daily feeding log for baby

A few years ago, I shared this daily printable that I use for keeping track of how much my babies are eating, when they’re napping and for how long they’re napping. I never shared it as a printable, so thought I’d make it a little easier. If you’d like a copy you can just print it out and you don’t have to wait on me to email you a Word document.

I know there are probably some more efficient, eco-friendly ways to keep track of feedings, diapers, and naps electronically, but I am a pen and paper kind of gal. I still have the feeding logs from Hudson and Hayes and have even looked back on them to see what they were doing in comparison to what James Walker is doing. (I promise that I’m not a pack rat!)

So if you’re a pen and paper kind of gal and you’re trying to keep track of how much your baby is eating or how often, feel free to print this bad boy! There’s a spot to write how many ounces of a bottle they take, how long you nurse on each side, when they go down for a nap and when they get up. And of course wet and dirty diaper tracking, too.

Click here for the PDF for the Printable Baby Feeding Log for Breastfed and Bottle-fed Babies

from two to three

Hey there! So I’m trying to find a little rhythm in my days so I can have my own little routine. Some days that works and some days it just doesn’t. This morning I’ve gotten a lot done, but I’m still in pajamas and just decided that half of my to-do list probably wasn’t going to get done. But sitting down to write is good for my soul. Whether I sit down and write on this blog like I’ve done for over seven years (whoa!), or if I just write in my journal.

But things here are good. They’re different, but they’re good.

I have had a few people ask me about what it’s like to go from two to three kiddos, so I wanted to share my experience… so far. Remember that I’m only five weeks into being a mom of three, so I’m hardly an expert and I hardly know anything about what I’m in for.

James Walker is a great baby. He sleeps great for naps and he is sleeping great at night- only waking up once at night now. And he’s just a sweet little squishy love.

Hudson is almost 6 and Hayes is almost 4. I think their ages have a huge impact on what our experience is like with three kids.

Another big thing to remember is that my mom was here for three full weeks after James Walker arrived. And she was here for almost two weeks before he arrived because I was carrying around an 11 pound baby and my hips felt like they were breaking. (Thank you, KK! You saved us!)

I had heard from a few friends that going from two to three kids would be a game-changer. It would overwhelm me and just be about the hardest thing ever. So I was kind of prepared for the worst.

My experience going from one to two kids really did rock my world. If you read my blog back when Hayes was a baby, you probably remember many posts about being overwhelmed and tired and feeling like a failure. It was hard! I really struggled with knowing how to raise a 23-month-old and an infant. Two extremely needy children that I loved desperately and equally. But we did survive. Of course we did!

My experience so far going from two to three is completely different. Hudson and Hayes are at school in the mornings, so I have three full hours to bond with James Walker, take a shower, fold laundry or catch up on sleep. Hudson and Hayes aren’t all that needy. They can do a lot for themselves.

So, all in all, it’s been a good experience so far. Watching them all together is my favorite thing in the world. And the moments that James Walker is napping and I can sit and play with the big boys or read to them are so much more special to me right now because my hands are so often full with James Walker. I think it does make me appreciate all of them for who they are and what they need.

I do need to share this story, though. A few nights ago, Todd was gone during bath time and bedtime, and I was doing bed and bath by myself. Todd usually bathes the big boys, and since the baby was born, he has been putting them to bed by himself while I bathe, feed, and put James Walker to bed.

So I was on my own. I bathed the big boys, got them dressed for bed, and decided to let them stay up and watch TV until I finished up with James Walker.

They loved coming in to see James Walker getting his bath and they thought it was so funny that he uses this tiny bath tub. They were in and out of the bathroom about fifteen times before I finished up with James Walker’s bath. They were getting extremely loud and wound up, too. I asked them to just go sit and watch TV and I’d be finished in just a minute.

I finished up with James Walker’s bath, wrapped him up and came out of the bathroom to see Hudson sitting and watching TV, but couldn’t see Hayes. Hudson said he didn’t know where Hayes was. And then I heard the doorbell. It was ringing over and over and over again.

So I bolted downstairs while holding James Walker, and there was Hayes. Standing on the front porch ringing the doorbell. He was just in the bathroom less than three minutes before that! But he’d just unlocked the front door and walked out to chill on the front porch because ringing the doorbell is so funny.

I about had a heart attack. I told him all about why he can’t ever do that again. And then I sent Todd a text about how we needed special hotel locks for all of our doors because Hayes thinks it’s hilarious to walk outside and scare me to death.

So we’re definitely outnumbered. But this transition has been pretty smooth so far and this family of five thing is pretty fantastic.

(Let’s revisit this topic when James Walker is 1 and mobile and trying to learn about obedience.)

 

Easter 2015

With a newborn this year, I wasn’t really sure how our Easter celebrations would go. Last Easter, Todd and I said we wanted to host an Easter egg hunt for the kids in our Sunday school class on the grounds at his office. It’s a huge space and it’s beautiful and perfect for an Easter egg hunt.

We did the hunt on Palm Sunday because everyone usually has family commitments on Easter Sunday. We kept it simple and did it pot luck style. Everyone pitched in and we had chicken and tons of delicious sides and desserts and ate picnic style outside. It was a little chilly that day, but all the kids had the best time!

All the families brought about 50 eggs filled with candy and then the men hid them before lunch. There were TONS of eggs and the kids found them all. At one point, I had to remind Hayes to pick up eggs because he was just running with his basket and following the bigger kids.

I love this picture of all the kids before we yelled “go.”

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My parents came back into town to celebrate Easter with us. They don’t like missing holidays with the kids. We’re fortunate that Todd’s parents live here and can celebrate holidays with us, too.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I were flipping through the new Southern Living magazine and we saw this recipe for a beautiful coconut cake. I don’t even like coconut! I don’t mind the smell or the flavor, but I can’t stand the texture of coconut shavings. So I’ve just never eaten coconut things. But this cake looked amazing because it used toasted coconut flakes!

My mom was determined to make that cake, and it was a true labor of love. With all the steps and waiting for it to cool, it took all day! And after Easter lunch, we had the reward and it was amazing. Seriously, make this cake– even if you don’t like coconut!

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When my brother and I were growing up we always dyed Easter eggs the day before Easter. I can remember pretty much every time we ever did it. We even did it when we were in high school. I’ve done it with the kids, but this year I thought we’d just skip it. Hudson and Hayes hadn’t asked about it and I really just didn’t feel like doing it. But my parents really wanted to do it, and wanted to uphold that tradition and make that memory with the kids.

There were some moments of sheer terror as Hayes splashed the dye repeatedly, but no white shirts or furniture were harmed and they had a lot of fun! And, yes, my dad and the boys have on the same t-shirt. We got those t-shirts in Orange Beach, Alabama last summer and when the boys saw that their Poppie was wearing his shirt on Saturday, they both wanted to put theirs on, too. (There is a Golden Retriever on the back.)

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On Easter morning, I was up early feeding James Walker and the boys got up early to discover that the Easter bunny visited our house and he hid eggs in the yard! That crazy bunny– or crazy daddy!

There was a little bit of dog poop on the sidewalk that someone forgot to pick up, and we told the boys to be careful not to step in it. But we didn’t say it was dog poop, so Hayes kept saying, “That Easter bunny pooped on our sidewalk!!” He was pretty upset about it. We got a good laugh out of it.

(We wear Christmas jammies in our house year-round.)

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We rounded up our crew and went to church. It was a great Sunday at church as we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior. I love the excitement of Easter Sunday at church, but I honestly feel the same way on Easter that I do every Sunday. Just so full of gratitude for the sacrifice and the hope and freedom that we have as a result of knowing and having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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After church, we all came back home and had lunch with my parents and Todd’s parents and grandmother. Then we played a rousing game of BINGO. It was a great day! I’m so thankful for the three little boys in that picture. I can’t believe there are three of them!

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