Welcoming Our Frances Grey

I almost can’t believe I am snuggling with a little newborn and already writing another birth story.  I feel like it was just last year that I was writing Ada’s:D Probably mostly because it was:) We are truly so grateful for another beautiful daughter!  I almost cry every time I stop and think about how awesome it is that we get to parent these FOUR little ladies!

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Frankie is 4 weeks old today!!! That doesn’t even seem possible!  We have heard her cry only a handful of times, and that even includes mild fussing!  She is just super content and has the sweetest temperament!  The big sisters are absolutely smitten with her and she loves snuggling with her daddy! Her favorite things include boobs, naps, blankets late night snacking and snuggles galore, so I guess you could say she takes after her dad:) #momjoke. Aside from me being freaked out that she doesn’t poop as much as her big sisters, she might be our easiest baby yet! So, with that, I am so grateful and so excited to share another beautiful birth story with you!

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Ok… So let me start with 2 weeks before we met her.  I started to feel “ready”, even though my original due date wasn’t until the first week of October. I went to see my midwife on the 7th and told her I totally felt like I had dilated quite a bit already.  Before I share more, I should give you a little back story.  My body might be jacked up:D  Well, it kind of is for sure, we’re just not totally sure why.  When I went into labor with Charlie, I was dilated to a 9 before I ever felt my contractions. My water broke and a few minutes  later, 2 pushes and she was here!  With Ada, I was dilated at a 10…for 2 days before I felt my contractions!  SO WEIRD!  I couldn’t really feel my contractions with Ada until my water broke and once my water broke, it was time to push; 4 or 5 pushes later, she was here!  Norah’s labor was the only one that was kind of normal except kind of not either.  You can go read those stories under my birth stories if you guys want to!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnyway, I share this because for some odd reason, my body works a little differently and labor is probably a little different for me than most…  I’m not bragging, but I’m also definitely not complaining! So, back to the 7th.  When I told Rebecca that I felt dilated she kind of giggled at me like she does often. Side note: We love Rebecca like a lot! We’ve gotten to know each other on so many different intimate levels and can joke about anything and everything and it’s just awesome to know your care taker and have your care taker know you so intimately. It makes for such an incredible experience! So she kind of teased me and then I asked her to check me and, yep! I had dilated to a 5, was 80% effaced and all of babies suture lines were feeling just right! I told her I knew I wouldn’t carry Frankie to October.  It was like this weird momma instinct, the same one that told me I was having girls each pregnancy:D

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Ok, so… Jump to two days later and I started having this really weird and specific kind of cramping, which I’ve learned is me dilating.  I don’t really know how to describe it except for I felt it with Charlie and Ada and feel like I was tuned in and aware of my body more than ever this round and as soon as I felt it, I knew what was happening. I started losing my plug and, remember that this is a birth story, but I mean, I was losing A LOT!  I lost more and more all day and continued to the next few days.  This made me a little nervous because I knew I was dilating more and in my previous pregnancies, I lost my plug only days before meeting our daughters.

Rebecca and I decided it was best if I took it really easy, like bed rest style, just to make sure we kept Frankie nice and cozy!  Chris and the girls were incredible during this time!  Actually, Chris was beyond incredible this whole pregnancy.   For those of you who know me, you know about my back… but for those of you who don’t, we have learned that my tailbone is broken 3 different times and in 3 different directions! When I’m pregnant, my tailbone and sciatic nerve basically try to become one with one another…NO BUENO! It is extremely painful and any kind of intervention we have tried has only provided temporary relief.  By the time I was 6 months along, I couldn’t walk some days.  Chris did all of our grocery shopping, prepared most dinners, did laundry when I couldn’t carry any or walk down stairs, and basically carried the many loads that I physically couldn’t.  If you see that guy, tell him what a stud he is!  I’ve always known I was so blessed to be his wife, but Chris serves us girls and I so selflessly and sacrifices so much for us in a way that I can’t even comprehend sometimes. Thank you so very much husband!

When I had to take it easy, he had the girls join him on a mission to help me out and they called themselves ‘team home birth’. 😀 He taught the girls different ways they could help out, and it was just incredible. They started folding laundry, emptying and filling the dishwasher, working harder at keeping their toys picked up AND nobody complained, well, at least in front of me:D They just loved me in such a way that I definitely don’t deserve but am so grateful for! Chris literally got them pumped up to clean:D He is the best, like for real!

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Ok… So, fast forward to the 18th.  Everything was looking great and I was now measuring right about 39 weeks.  I had been measuring ahead for quite some time and I really felt like I was further along than we had initially thought. I was still having that cramping and losing plug and so I ended up asking Rebecca to come visit me and check me.  She came over and YEP! I was dilated to an 8! Everything was looking great, but I was dilated to an 8! She wasn’t at all worried but it is a little strange to dilate this far without having contractions and without having an incompetent cervix.  My body just doesn’t mess around I guess. Rebecca headed home and the game plan was to just wait and see what my body did over the next few days.

The next day I felt so weird. Like, almost scared.  I started to think about what might happen if my water broke because if this labor were to be like Charlie or Ada’s, I would probably have ended up delivering a baby on my kitchen floor by myself.  I don’t feel my contractions until my water breaks, but by that time I’m at a 9 or 10 and ready to push, and my longest pushing record is 6 pushes.  With Chris working more than 5 minutes away and my midwife being over an hour away, I knew if my water broke, this would be an unassisted delivery…Chris and I talked and we both were in favor of us delivering Frankie WITH our midwife over me alone:D

So… I asked Rebecca if she felt comfortable coming over and helping me get labor started.  We weighed the pros and cons and decided that in this situation, this was a good idea. So on the 20th, Rebecca came over at 10 am and here is where the fun begins!!!

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The first thing she did when she arrived was check me… and I was stretching to a 9!  It was the weirdest thing because I woke up feeling so amazing and had 0 back pain! It was the first morning in like 9 months that I hadn’t woken up in pain! It was like my body was just as ready as my mind was! She measured me once more and I was right at 39 weeks. Rebecca gave me a little contraction encouraging herb that we thought would take about an hour or two to get contractions started, but within 10 minutes, I was having them! They kept getting stronger and stronger and stronger until the point where they almost started to hurt! And then at noon, they just completely stopped. I wanted to cry because this is what happened with Ada and it was so emotionally exhausting! I was complete, as in dilated to a 10, and as soon as my contractions would get going, they would stop.  I did not want this to happen again… Rebecca had me go walk around the yard for 15 minutes, and while I felt a heavy type of cramping, I wasn’t having regular contractions anymore.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWe made some sandwiches, ate lunch together and then I took a little more of the contraction inducing goodness. Rebecca told me she felt like I just needed peace, quiet and rest. We had Ada go with a friend at this point, put a movie on for the big girls and Chris and I came upstairs to our bedroom to rest.

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Rebecca’s daughter came to help assist us and is just amazing! She plays with the little ladies and the girls have grown to love her and Rebecca’s other children so much! Did I mention she has 11 children! All whom she home educates! AND, from what we can tell, they’re totally normal:D Talk about #momgoals!

Rebecca helped get me into bed and into a position that would allow me to relax but would also help baby get settled a bit better.  She asked me to stay put for an hour and almost exactly an hour later, I was having strong, regular contractions and felt ready to get into the birthing pool!!!

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By now, my friend Olivia had arrived and I was feeling ready to go. Norah was SO ready! She had been asking me every day when Frankie would be here and reminded me every day that she wanted to be there with me and cut the venible, aka, umbilical cord:D Once I was in the tub, I started having what I will call “normal people” contractions! They were so strong and powerful and I just knew Frankie would be coming so soon!  Norah and Charlie got measuring cups and would rub my shoulders and pour warm water on my back through each contraction!  Charlie would lay her head by my head, touch her forehead to my forehead and hold my hand. I won’t ever forget it…. It was absolutely precious!

F10Norah would say things like, “take it easy, listen to your feelings, you’re doing so good, relax yourself”. It made us all giggle each time which made labor feel so easy. There wasn’t any stress or tension or fear. Just peace and joy and sweet giggles. At one point Norah asked me if I was having any “uh oh” feelings and proceeded to tell everyone the things in life that give me “uh oh” feelings:D It was the perfect comic relief!  The girls would bring me my water and tell me to take a sip and were just so encouraging! I just felt completely loved and safe.

After being in the pool for about 10 contractions or so, I felt Frankie coming!  I remember feeling more in control of my body than I ever have in labor before.  I felt complete peace and it was so amazing.  I remember holding Olivia’s hand with my left hand, Chris’s hand with my right and knowing we were all about to meet Frankie! I didn’t fight contractions like I’ve maybe wanted to in the past, I didn’t tense up and I just felt more relaxed than I have in previous labors. I began pushing and then looked over at Rebecca and told her I was pushing.

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The last photo Chris captured before welcoming Frankie!

 

I asked Rebecca to support me, which basically just meant make sure Frankie was not coming out with a hand on her forehead like her sister Ada, and I’m glad I asked her to, because she was! One of the things Rebecca does an excellent job at is supporting my lady bits so there is no tearing.  I tore a little bit upwards with Norah in the hospital but have never again had any damage to my lady biz!  I actually haven’t even been a little bit sore after delivering Charlie, Ada and Frankie!  I think some of that has to do with the water, preventative care, but also just how well Rebecca does at assisting, but not unnecessarily intervening with what’s happening during the birth process.

F7After the first push, Frankie’s head was born! I reached down and felt her head and just felt so grateful.  Norah yelled, “I can see Frankie! She’s coming out!” She yelled for Charlie to come back over to the pool, as she had left the room for a moment. I heard her little pitter patter run towards the pool and got so excited! I was on my knees with my arms and head draped on the side of the pool and felt very comfortable.  Everyone was silent, a Bon Iver record playing in the background, which I maybe had Chris play too many times, and I remember just knowing that I would be holding our baby the next time I pushed… A minute passed, and with the start of my last contraction, we welcomed Frankie!

F15As soon as I pulled Frankie out of the water, Norah started crying and exclaimed, “I can’t stop happy crying! She’s here!” When I pulled Frankie to my chest, the first thing I noticed was her super dark head of hair.  A few days before, Charlie crawled into our bed and shared about having a dream about Frankie and that she had pretty, dark hair. Man, she was so right! Talk about happy tears! My heart was SO full! I remember looking at Chris and Olivia and just thinking, “YEAH!!!” I thought I might be emotional this birth with Chris and I feeling like Frankie might be our last baby, but I was the opposite… I just felt so incredibly happy! And I still do! I just feel really content and beyond thankful! That moment felt like a lifetime but also like it went by way too fast!

A few contractions later, I birthed my Placenta.  This time, a little more blood than usual filled the tub and my midwife gave me a look that made me think, “uh oh” in a scooby doo type voice. She acted fast and with a little uterine massage, which I will compare to some kind of ancient form of torture, she had the bleeding stopped! Thank you Rebecca:D

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After that, we all headed upstairs to get cozy in bed and spend some time getting to know one another!  She was, she is, just perfect!  7lbs, 4oz, and 20 inches of absolute sweetness! She started nursing right away and I nursed for about an hour and then it was time for Frankie’s newborn assessment! Everything checked out at Frankie being a full 39 weeks!  Chris went and picked up Ada and I was a little curious how she would act when she saw Frankie had joined us.  She ran into the room and yelled, “Hi Mommy!” Then saw Frankie and squealed, “OOOHHH! Hi Baby!” in the sweetest little baby voice I have ever heard!  She was and is smitten with her little sister!

F59Aside from seeing the extra time mom spends nursing as the perfect opportunity to empty out any essential oils or coffee she can find, she has adjusted wonderfully! Norah and Charlie have done amazing and are two of the best helpers I can imagine! They’re right by me helping me with anything they can. Filling up my water jug, throwing away diapers, bringing me this or that… Norah actually started changing Ada’s diapers for me, but only pee diapers per her request:D

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Getting a little baby holding practice done:D

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I promise she was looking at me! Or maybe staring down those goods:D Either way, she was looking at me!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped with our girls, brought us meals, coffee and extra hoppy beverages, for the prayers, encouraging words and congratulations, for the sweet intagram messages and late night conversations and for everyone who has loved on our family during this whole process!F48

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Chris, thank you for using your sexy man skills to capture this special day, for making all the babies with me and for taking such good care of us! You’re truly the most incredible man I know! Olivia, thank you for doing all of this mom biz with me! I am so grateful for your friendship! Rebecca, thank you for this last 4 years that you have loved me and supported me in a way that I can never say thank you enough for!  You have been so much more than a midwife to us and we are truly blessed to have you in our lives and to be apart of yours! A special thanks to In His Hands Birthing Supply Co. for partnering with us and blessing us with our home birth kit.  Oh! And did I mention we had a GoPro in the tub! The footage is incredible and I’m so thankful to have been able to watch one of my deliveries this way! If you have a water birth, put a GoPro in the tub! Thanks again, Rebecca! So cool!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOn that note, I’m going to go nurse! Thanks for reading friends!

If you are interested in why we choose home birth or would like more information on this topic, please feel free to reach out!

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Mogging: When Motherhood meets Blogging. It’s a word now:D #TheMomBlogCollective

Welcome to the fourth installment of The Mom Blog Collective: How to Balance Motherhood and Blogging.
If you’re new here, here’s the scoop. Once a month, our group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you’ll join along!
Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!

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I am so excited to be a guest on #themomblogcollective” this week!

Blogging is one of those things that I really enjoy, something that I want to be better at and is an area that I want to grow in many different ways. The world of blogging and Instagram have introduced me to many friends, have offered me so much inspiration and encouragement and has opened me up to a world full of opportunity that I didn’t even realize existed just a few years ago.

When I first started blogging I was just doing it to kind of journal our days and share a few thoughts on motherhood as a brand new mom. I had no idea that people were paid to blog, I didn’t know what a collaboration was, or that this was a career for many and I definitely had no idea that blogging would one day be a way I helped support my family! Fast forward 5 years and, while I have so many areas I need to grow in, I want to answer some of the questions often asked when it comes to blogging and using Instagram.

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When & How often do you blog/ post? Remember that whole, ‘areas I need to grow in’ thing. Consistency is one of those areas I really want and need to grow in.  I post much more on instagram than I blog, mostly because blogging is much more time consuming, and in this season of life, scheduling time to blog has been a bit difficult. So when do I blog? I blog when I think about it and have time, or when I have a deadline. Deadlines help me a lot and force me to sit down and accomplish a task.  I have found that even creating deadlines for myself, will help me to get things done.  Even if I do it at the last minute, I am more likely to get it done!

Blogging happens when the babes go on a trip with dad to the store, when the girls are napping, when they’re content coloring, painting or watching an afternoon movie. I used to work a little in the evenings but now those are prime binge drinking hours for Frankie and I want to sleep as soon as I get a chance to now… #momlife.

Time management is another area that I find myself struggling. Like, I maybe put on a bra while peeing because I forgot I wasn’t wearing one and we were out the door to leave for our weekly church cell group and maybe I’m typing this line while in the bathroom while at the group. #momfail. So… yes. I definitely have room for growth in the area of balancing motherhood and blogging!

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How many collaborations do you take on and how does that number work with your schedule as a mom?

When it comes to collaborating, I am learning when to say no. When I first started taking on collaborations, I basically said yet to everyone. Then I learned how time consuming that could be! Even now, taking on less collaborations, I still find myself  playing catch up lately.  I have been so fortunate to work with such kind and patient people but I’m working towards accepting fewer collaborations while in the “catching up” process. I love partnering and collaborating with both small and large companies but want to be better about creating blogs, photos and content all together for companies faster and, about to use the C word again, more consistently…

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI am always amazed by the generosity of some of the companies we work with, and I want to return the generosity by providing high quality content at a fast turn around time. I have about 5 blogs I need/want to do this month and I am learning that I have to give myself deadlines to get them done.  Collaborating has been a wonderful way to provide for our family and a super fun hobby, but its also a job. And, again… I am learning how to create more routine and manage my time.

I also only collaborate with companies that I feel I can honestly represent well and I think that’s an important thing to consider when blogging and collaborating. I’ve turned down a few high paying partnerships because they were for products our family doesn’t use and as much as I wanted those moneys, I believe as an “influencer” you need to be honest first.

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Awhile back I received several e-mails from someone who was very angered by my collaborating.  They used phrases like, “You’re a giant walking ad”, “You tag so many people in your photos”, You’re so fake”,  “Isn’t your family worth more than things”, and “You Instagram moms are all alike”.  While these things could be hurtful, I have to understand that this person does not understand that this is a job for me and for many of my “Instagram Mom” friends. Yes, I do partner and advertise for many companies as that is how I provide for our family right now while our girls are young and before I head back to work as a Therapist.

In response to these comments and questions, I do tag many companies in my photos as this is how most of my collaborations work. Just as someone may be asked to wear a company shirt while representing their company to an event, I am asked to represent my partnerships via social media by sharing how we incorporate different items into our day via tagging and blogging. While I do not believe I am fake, in order to represent certain things best, I do curate and style certain photos to achieve a certain aesthetic, just like a photographer would do.

Also, my family is more important than any material thing and they are very aware of that. They also are aware that they have nice clothes to wear, cozy beds to sleep on and well-made toys to play with because of momma’s job that provides these things along with extra money for groceries, education supplies or those unexpected bills we all love so much! Being a wife and mom comes first, but just as with any job, there are commitments and deadlines that have to be fulfilled.

And yes, there are many of us “Instagram moms” who share a specific aesthetic. I like to joke that “who cares if we like white walls and baskets”:D That’s totally ok, and just as ok as someone else’s style! While Instagram and blogging can create amazing opportunities to connect, journal and capture moments most of us genuinely do not want to forget, it is also a way for us to receive products we could normally not afford (#PastorsWife) and provide an income for our family’s AND we are able to do it from home AND in a way we really enjoy! I am genuinely confused as to why these things would upset people, but I am happy to converse with anyone who wants to about this topic.

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I hear a lot of friends say, “I want to start a blog but I don’t have a lot of time and I don’t think I would be very consistent”.  While these things are very important, you can still get started! So, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, my advice is to go for it!  You might not have a ton of time, you might not be able to post as consistently as you would like, but there is room for you to grow and a lot of opportunity to still experience while growing! I’m still learning many things and balancing motherhood and any job or responsibility can be difficult. It’s truly all about learning what works best for you and your family and finding the little ways to make the things you want to do come true! Some days you might put your bra on while peeing… and that’s ok. ☺️

Check out some of my amazing “Instagram Mom” friend’s blog posts here!
occasionallyperfectstyle.com | @occasionally_perfect
mrsseacannon.com | @mrsseacannon
britthavens.com | @britthavens
koleimpressions.com | @steph__pollock
cultivatemotherhood.com | @cultivatemotherhood
www.ashleynoel.life | @_ashley_noel_
hellobabybrown.com | @hellobabybrown
henaandcompany.com | @henaandco
momwifefoodie.com | @momwifefoodie
Thank you guys for reading!

You had me at Apple Fritter Monkey Bread:D Partnering with ALDI to make some delicious fall goodness!

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If you have been following us for awhile, you know we love to bake together as a family! You also probably know then, that we like to purchase things as inexpensively as possible. After shopping in our little Kansas town for awhile, we have learned that we can get some of the best quality foods for the lowest prices at our local ALDI store!

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We have learned that we can literally double our regular shopping list without doubling the price once we started shopping at ALDI!  For a growing family of 6, this is wonderful! We can get all of our favorite foods, all of our baking ingredients, fun seasonal items and delicious organic produce all in one place and at incredible prices!

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ALDI also offers a slightly different shopping experience that our family has grown to love! You bring your own reusable bags, which cuts down on having to spend extra money just to collect plastic bags that you’ll keep forgetting to recycle and is way better for the environment!

You also rent your cart!  You put a quarter in and get it back when you return the cart. This was new to me but has actually become a beautiful opportunity to teach our daughters about generosity, kindness and blessing others.  When our shopping is done and unloaded, we just leave that quarter in the slot for someone else to have, walk our cart to somebody else going to get one or give a quarter to someone going to get a cart. It’s just a quarter, but it is the act of doing something to bless someone else that we want the girls to enjoy and grow to do more and more selflessly every day!

 

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With Fall right around the corner, I have been craving one of our favorite easy-to-make together breakfast treats!  So, with that, I give you one of our favorite fall breakfast recipes.

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APPLE FRITTER MONKEY BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (12-oz.) cans of refrigerated Bake House Creations Buttermilk Biscuits or Bake House Creations Crescent Rolls. My husband maybe accidentally got crescent rolls this time, so we learned both will work great! 😀
  • 6 tbsp. Countryside Creamery Butter, melted
  • 1 apple of your choice. We used delicious organic Fiji apples from ALDI!! Peel, core & finely chop those bad boys!
  • 4 tbsp. Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp.Baker’s Corner Granulated Sugar
  • 4 tbsp. Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk- Friendly Farms Organic Whole Milk. We use Almond sometimes as well when making the glaze.
  • Extra Cinnamon & Sugar incase your dough needs a little more love

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 8×3” round cake pan with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Tear, or let your toddlers tear the biscuits, or cut each biscuit into little 1-inch pieces.  Dunk the little pieces in the melted butter then toss them in cinnamon-sugar until evenly coated. Lay your lovely biscuit babies in an even layer in your pan.  Sometimes we’ll add more cinnamon and sugar if it looks like some of the biscuits are too naked.
  3. Toss apples with brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Scatter as much or as little of them apples on top of the biscuit babies.
  4. Drizzle the rest of the melted butter over the biscuits and apples.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, until the biscuits are a deep golden and the apple mixture is bubbling. Cook a bit longer if the dough in the center is still too gooey. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make that magic morning glaze! Whisk together powdered sugar and milk until nice and smooth.  You could substitute this step with a butter & brown sugar glaze or honey, but we chose this scrummy glaze this time!

Remove from oven, allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then drizzle that glaze on top of the bread. Spoon out generous servings & serve warm.

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There are lots of ways you can mix this recipe up, but we hope you make this and enjoy this on a beautiful Fall morning! And, if you’ve never been to your local ALDI go check it out!  You’re in for a treat!

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It has truly been a pleasure to partner with ALDI to share some of our favorite items and a recipe containing ingredients that can all be purchased from ALDI. Check out https://www.aldi.us/ to see your local weekly specials and gain some mealtime inspiration!

 

(Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by ALDI, but all opinions expressed here are my own, personal and honest opinions.)

An Interview with Vitruvi

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With three little girls in tow and a fourth on the way, Amanda Pahls recognizes that spare time is becoming an increasingly rare commodity in her home. To make sure that she and her little ones stay happy and healthy, she’s chosen to simplify her daily routines by incorporating natural products into everything from bathtime to bedtime. Below, we chatted with Amanda about the challenges of motherhood, which are well worth it when she watches her daughters show kindness and love to others. She also shared her go-to dinner with us, and, based on the sounds of her perfected-over-7-years guac, you’d be lucky to snag a seat at Amanda’s dining room table any night of the week.


What are the daily rituals that keep you grounded when things get chaotic?
My most special ritual: coffee, but for real, it’s spending time with our daughters, watching them play with one another, and spending the evenings with my husband—these are the little things that keep me sane. I enjoy wearing and diffusing essential oils in our home throughout the day and using them to help with everything from needing a little grounding to an energy boost.

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I actually love both! I enjoy homemade iced americanos most days, but my husband makes THE BEST honey and earl grey tea lattes!!

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How has becoming a mom changed your outlook on the products you use for your children, your home and yourself?
Before I had children, I didn’t really think about the quality of the products I used. I got whatever was cheap and easy, but after getting pregnant with our first daughter, I became a lot more conscious about what I was putting on my body. This lead to not only wanting to use products that were better for me physically, but I started wanting to use products that supported companies I could really stand behind as well. We have 3 daughters under the age of 5 and are expecting our 4th daughter any day now. That being said, spare time is becoming much less spare :)️ I want to use products that are high quality, crafted with care, convenient and not very time-consuming.

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Go-to dinner?
Homemade street tacos are basically a love language in our home! Grilled veggies, slow cooked high quality meats, vegetable slaws, my husband’s delicious homemade tortilla chips and a guacamole that I’ve spent the last 7 years perfecting! Our family loves this meal and it’s one of the best ways to get our daughters to consume lots of delicious vegetables and spices!

What object/space in your home is most special to you?
Our dining room table is probably my most-loved object in our home. We spend so much of our time in our dining room. Baking with my daughters, making essential oil play dohs, making arts and crafts, home-education, eating meals with dear friends and as a family, coffee and great conversation with my husband…all of these things take place sitting at our dining room table. These moments I will truly cherish forever.

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Hardest part of being a mom?
Man, the challenges of motherhood continue to surprise me. The emotional challenges are probably more difficult than the physical demands of motherhood for me. Mom-guilt, fear, feeling unqualified…these are a few things I battle constantly as a mother. Sometimes I stay up at night going over our day and thinking of all of the better ways I could have reacted to my daughters and different situations or more productive ways I could have spent my time with them and taking care of our home. Then I remember how much I love our daughters and how much they love me and I tell myself I will do better then next day. And some days I do, and some days I don’t. You need a lot of grace and forgiveness as a mother, but it is truly the most wonderful thing I have ever known.

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Best part of being a mom?
So many things I truly cherish about motherhood. Watching our daughters learn something new, seeing them show kindness to others, hearing them say, “I love you”, and knowing they’re learning these things from my husband and I. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. Sometimes I just watch them play and wonder how I got so lucky to get to mother these sweet little ladies!

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Favourite essential oil and why?
Do I have to choose just one?! I love so many for so many reasons! If I could only have one oil it would probably be lavender for its versatility. However, I love citrus oils, peppermint, bergamot, cedarwood, and so many delicious blends made up of these oils!

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How do you weave essential oil products into your day?
We’ve started using essential oils from morning to night. Frankincense in my facial moisturizers, diffusing oils throughout our home, using them in homemade play dohs, using them on myself and our daughters for energizing, calming and grounding purposes. I use essential oils in our baths, as perfume, in specialized rollerballs, in homemade cleaners, homemade toothpaste, homemade hair and beard oils, chapsticks, body balms and other homemade things my husband and I make and use in our home.

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Favorite quote?
It’s not a famous quote, but more of a philosophy or a conviction a friend shared with me: ending our ‘to do’ lists with “and do these things with a happy heart.” So often we do things because we have to with a frustrated or ungrateful attitude. I’m trying to remember, from laundry and dishes to errands and deadlines, to accomplish the tasks I have before me with a happy and grateful heart. I don’t always succeed at this, but I’m trying to be much more intentional about it as we go about our days. I want to model gratefulness and joy to our daughters, and reminding myself to do the little things with a happy heart is a way to model just that.

 

Learn more about Vitruvi and check out other interviews here: http://basenotes.vitruvi.com/.

Real Moms, Real Talk: Interview with Bundles of Health

Looking back on the pregnancy and birth of your first child, was there anything about the postpartum period that you thought would be different?

I had no idea the range of emotions I was going to experience after welcoming our first daughter. I had imagined joy and happiness but along with that came an insane fear, so many tears, and many emotions I didn’t even know existed. Everything I ever wanted or had worked towards at the point in my life, changed in a matter of seconds. I never imagined that happening. I also grieved the birth I had wanted and planned for. I cried every day for months over having medical choices made for me during our birth that I begged not to have. As strange as it may sound, I felt violated and robbed of an experience I had been anticipating so much. While this was definitely overshadowed by the excitement and love I had towards our daughter, it was very unexpected and took some time to process.

When you prepared for your second and third children, did you do anything different from preparing for the first?

We did A LOT differently. We went a holistic route with our last 3 pregnancies, had a much stricter diet, saw a midwife and had and will have home water births. We researched and educated ourselves much better and our pregnancies and birth experiences have been incredible! Going this route gave us everything we wanted and so much more. With our second birth, my husband and I became advocates for things we didn’t even know existed with our first birth!  We have incredible relationships with our midwife and her family, felt so much love, support and empowerment and had birth experiences that involved almost no pain, recovery periods and experienced so much joy! My body responded so much better physically and emotionally to going a holistic route!

What was your biggest challenge as a first time mom?

Probably processing through my emotions and separating myself from my daughter. I had absolutely no desire to ever put her down. I held her, wore her in various baby wraps, slept with her…  I just didn’t know how to put her down. I was a full time graduate student and also went back to work part time after Norah was 3 months old and I remember how painful it was to separate myself from her for even a few hours…  I didn’t experience any postpartum depression with our first daughter, but very surprisingly did with our second. I had a full year where I felt a bit foggish and in a funk and it wasn’t until I was coming out of it a year later that I realized what I was experiencing. Although mine was not as intense as some mothers experience, it was a strange challenge that I was not expecting…

What is your biggest challenge to a mom of 3 going on 4?

This was so unexpected. We planned for one baby and are about to welcome our fourth! So unexpected, but so amazing!!  Probably my biggest challenge is battling the thought of going back to work. I finished my masters in counseling and love being a therapist but now motherhood has consumed so much more of me than I have ever imagined. If I didn’t have student loans to pay back, I probably would not go back to work, for a long time, as I love being at home with my daughters so much. We’re educating them at home and I guess my biggest challenge is the thought and fear of not having this time with them but also understanding we have a heavy financial burden to take care of now. When I started grad school we didn’t have any babies… by the time I finished, we had 3 and my heart had changed so much. So if you know of anyone looking to pay off someone’s loans, send them our way please😂😂😂 The emotions that come with wanting to be with your children and fearing not being able to has been very challenging for me.

0-18How did you overcome those challenges?

I’m working through them right now. My husband is amazing and supports us so well in so many areas but I feel I will have to work eventually. We’ve gotten creative with side jobs, providing some child care, collaborating with various companies and trying to make a little income through our passions while we are in this transitional period. I’m really hopeful that somehow we will make a way where I won’t have to work for some time but also a realist in the sense that I understand this is something I may have to do and will do so with a grateful heart because I’m supporting my family.

How did your self care routine change over time?

I have always been pretty laid back and never really had much of a self care routine aside from the normal wake up, shower, brush your teeth go about your day and repeat before bed… but now, some days all of those things feel like a luxury😂 I’m a big believer in dry shampoo, easy make up and long showers these days! I think I’m lucky in the sense that I’m pretty low maintenance but it still is a challenge to make sure I’m taking care of myself even in the little things. Self care really is so important! I try to get out with friends for coffee, good conversation and a little thrifting as this refreshes me big time. My husband and I also try to spend every evening together and that is so awesome to have that to look forward to and to help us unwind! Netflix and chilling involves a lot more Netflix and chilling than it once did before almost 4 babes!

What did your family and friends do to support you after having a baby?

We are blessed with some awesome friends! My best friend and I attend each others home births and are very like minded and she’s been so helpful and supportive the last 3 years! She understands the physical and emotional aspects of child birth and parenting and sometimes just having that person who understands what you are feeling and is open to listening and sharing can be so helpful in the time after welcoming a baby. Definitely helps me feel less lonely.  People bringing meals, encouraging us through kind words & listening to us… oh, and surprising us with coffee are always some of the ways we feel most loved and taken care of most after welcoming a baby!

What have been some of the most memorable ways that they have shown their support?

I mentioned my best friend Olivia. She was there for the birth of our third daughter, will be at my next birth and I was blessed to be at her two previous home births. Having her there to hold my hand, speak affirming things to me and just love me meant so much to me. I’ve never had a friend like this. Having friends stop by with an unexpected lattes makes me feel so loved and cared about! Honestly, people letting us share our birth experience helps me, especially, process through the experience and is therapeutic for me. Really, as cliche as it sounds, our friends & family just assuring us that they are here for us after having a baby helps us so much. Even if we don’t ever take them up on their offers, knowing that we have a community around us who loves us and wants to help us extremely helpful to us.

What is one piece of advice you would give to other moms who are expecting?

First, remember to enjoy your pregnancy. Pregnancy can come with difficult emotions, physical pain and discomforts but we are truly lucky to experience it. I have friends who struggle with infertility and it’s so painful to watch the way they long for pregnancy and a child. Whenever I’m finding myself thinking negatively during pregnancy, I remind myself how blessed I am. You won’t be pregnant forever no matter how much it feels that way… Second, research the birth choices you have… Research the choices you will be making for your baby when they’re born. If you have a partner/spouse, research these things together and discuss these things while you’re pregnant so that you are in confident agreement about the choices you will be making together before and after your child arrives! And be kind to yourself. Your body changes, your heart changes, your desires and priorities change and all of those things are ok. Don’t try to compare yourself to other moms or to what you imagined you would be like pregnant or as a mother but just embrace the new you and try to be the healthiest person and mother to that baby or babies as you can be. And if you find you’re struggling emotionally in ways you weren’t expecting, seek out and talk to somebody you can trust to help you walk through it all!!

3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

You know how sometimes you just have those days where you’re emotional and grateful and looking at your family and wondering how you got to where you are in life?  My Grammy texted me this morning just to share that she was proud of Chris and I and I just wanted to cry because this is the life that I prayed I could have one day but genuinely didn’t think I could have… I don’t deserve it, but I grow more and more thankful for it. Even when I’m tired or stressed or as I listen to our 3 & 4 year arguing over the ideal spot to have their picnic right now… I am just so grateful. The word Redeemed rings in my ears often and when I look at Chris and our daughters, the ring feels more like a shout!

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I’m just feeling extra grateful for that shout today…

My friend Robyn was so kind to do a little extra shoot and capture something we love just as much as baking around this house! Bed Jumping!!! I just had to share these sweet images! Thank you so much Robyn! These are truly the moments I know I will think back on, smile and cry about when they are grown. I hope they will be mothers who will love their children fiercely, that kindness will flow from their hearts and homes and that they will be filled with the joy that comes from watching their babes jump on the bed…and maybe jumping with them when they’re a little less pregnant:D

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Products Featured:

Pajamas: G. Nancy from Baby Donkie 

Momma’s Top: LoveWinnieJames

Photography by RobynBunch

Baking with my babes!

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Hey friends! So, if you have been following me for awhile, you know one of our absolute favorite things to do as a family, is bake together!  When we homeschooled last year, every week we baked/cooked something that coordinated with the letter we were learning that week. It was so fun and it’s so amazing getting to teach them baking skills and introducing them to new foods and such a fun way to incorporate learning into our week!  Some things we made were healthy, some not so much, but all so fun to make together! Cooking as a family is my favorite!  When Dad gets involved I love it that much more!  Chris is an insane cook and these girls don’t know yet just how lucky they are to have a Dad with such amazing culinary skills! #happywife!

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Having a house full of daughters is kind of like a dream come true!  I don’t know that I necessarily ever imagined this, but it is truly incredible!  We joke that we’re going to need to remodel our kitchen soon because our house is full of people who love to cook, including my husband who is the best of the best!  But, we probably really will have to… So, if you want to come help remodel our space, let me know:D

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It is so wonderful watching each of our daughters’ personalities develop, and you can see it so much when we bake.  Norah takes baking pretty seriously and wants to get the recipe right.  Charlie pretty much spends the whole time taste testing anything that falls onto the table and Ada just likes to bang spoons and make messes!

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It’s so fun watching them pick out their aprons, their whisk of choice, choosing which ingredients who gets to put in first and probably most of our recipes get extra eggs because egg cracking is their favorite part, next to dough tasting of course!

When my sweet friend Robyn told me she was flying into town from Phoenix and asked if we would want to do some photos, I knew right away that I wanted her to capture us doing one of our favorite things and do a little baking session! Guys, if you live in the Phoenix area, hit her up for photos!  She does it all and her work is so good! But seriously, she does such a great job at simply capturing what’s happening and makes you feel totally comfortable. So, please check her out if you’re in her neck of the woods! I maybe ugly face cried when looking at these because she did such an amazing job capturing the girls’ personalities and the little moments that make up our time spent baking with one another!

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We usually only get family photos done when we have a baby, so like once a year:D But, seriously, this was such a blessing!  Robyn did a little home session for us after we welcomed Ada and I cherish those moments so much! I knew I wanted to do something to remember this special season with these 3 little ladies before their 4th sister arrives, and this was absolutely perfect!  I am so excited to have those moments as our family of 6 beginning, but this was so very special!

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I imagine what life will be like when they’re in their teens and I get so excited! People make lots of negative comments about how terrible it will be, and I just smile because I know it doesn’t have to be!  I am so thankful to get to mother these ladies and when I imagine those years I imagine more coffee dates, more movie nights, more conversations in our kitchen… I know there will be rough moments, but I know none of those will compare to how wonderful the good ones will be!

A little alliteration for you!  Cooking Chocolate Chip Cookies wearing Comfy Clogs with the Cutest Crew!  See, education, education, education! IMG_6269

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Robyn, Thank you so much for the gift of these photos!  We are truly so grateful!  Check Robyn out at RobynRena.comInstagram and Facebook!

Featured Items

Norah’s Dress: RemieGirl

Charlie’s Dress, which she basically lives in: RyleeandCru

Charlie’s Hair Bows: TheLittleDesignCo

Ada’s Romper: ShopTheRabbitandFern

Momma’s top: LoveWinnieJames

Momma’s Clogs: SandgrenClogs

Some thoughts about Father’s Day & an Interview with my Love On Fatherhood

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Recently, BabyMori reached out to my super hunk of a husband, Chris, and asked him the question, What does Fatherhood mean to you?”  I was excited to read what he wrote because I am constantly amazed at what an incredible Father he is.  We talked in our dating days about wanting two daughters, and now that we’re about to have four daughters, I would have 100 more babies with this man!  On that note, want to have at least 5 more, husband? Just saying… think about it:D

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Father’s Day is one of those days that is bittersweet to me.  This will be the 8th Father’s Day that I mourn the loss of my Father and sister.  While I miss my dad tremendously, I can only imagine how much joy it would bring him to see the way my husband loves me and the way he fathers our daughters.  I know this is what he prayed for me when he first held me.  I imagine him rocking me to sleep and praying for me to have a husband who would love me and our children the way he loved my mother and me. I know that when he dreamt of having grandchildren, he dreamt of them being fathered by a man like Chris.  While I mourn the fact that my dad didn’t get to walk me down the aisle and give me away to Chris and mourn that he did not live to meet his grandchildren (he is about to have 9 now!) or embrace us as we welcomed our daughters and became parents, I know that the things he prayed over me were answered, and in more ways than I think he ever imagined.

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I miss my dad so much, especially on this day… But the joy that I feel when I see the smiles on the girls’ faces when they model a new dress for their father, or the way the girls soak up the way Chris teaches them how to play a new game or the way they hide and jump out to surprise him when Chris gets home for work… That joy and thankfulness trumps the pain that comes with not seeing my father today.  Chris preached at Church today, so he got there before we did.  When we walked into the sanctuary, the first thing they did was look around for their dad and then took off running for him as soon as they found him in the crowd.  That love they have for one another, that excitement they have as they run to their father and then watching the way he picks them up and embraces them, feeling that same excitement… It’s just so rich!

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So, with that, here is an interview with Chris on what Fatherhood means to him.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you Father’s out there, and for all of you may be mourning any kind of loss of a Father, a spouse or a child, I pray you feel more joy than pain today and that you are overwhelmed with love and peace each and every day you mourn those losses.

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An Interview with BabyMori- What does Fatherhood mean to you?

“Fatherhood is, to me, a gift, a responsibility and a blessing all rolled into one. I get to experience what it is like to have my hands involved in molding and shaping a life, but am also being molded and shaped by my daughters. My eyes are constantly opened to new things around me, in my daughters and in myself.  Fatherhood has shown and is showing me just how compassionate I can be, but at the same time, has shown me and shows me just how truly selfish I am and can be all at the same time. Fatherhood is one of the most fun things I have ever done while also exhausting and frustrating. I think Fatherhood is amazing, but also a weighty responsibility that I want to continue to grow in and handle correctly.  My understanding of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of my Creator has been broadened beyond what I ever thought it would be.

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On a related note, as a father to daughters, I will say that fatherhood has made me keenly aware of the way we, often unintentionally, belittle our female population. As we enter into the last stretch of pregnancy with our 4thdaughter, I am met with many comments about my lack of sons that are increasingly frustrating to me.  Many times the conversation goes this way:

Person – “Wow, your 4th child.  Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?”

Me – “It’s my 4th girl”

Person – “Wow, I’m sorry” or “You must have more patience than me” or “Still don’t have that boy yet?” or “Will try until you get a boy?”

IMG_7078Now, I understand where the line of questioning comes from, but this is often in front of or within earshot of my daughters.  I would love to take this opportunity to say that I absolutely love raising these little girls and in no way feel as though I was left out of something simply because I do not have a son, or that in some crazy way, these girls are of less value to me than having a son. I thank God for these 4 precious girls that I have been entrusted with and cherish the fact that I’m able to be part of their lives, and they a part of mine.  Sure, the novelty of raising a little boy is alluring and I enjoy entertaining the thought of having a little mini-me running around.  That novelty, however, pales in comparison to the blessing of this house that is filled with estrogen.  I want to see the gifts set before me and be diligent to raise strong, productive, useful, and joy filled women. I am planning a small bunker for myself for the future, though, and will be practicing my most intimidating facial expressions and death threats for the boys that will be knocking on my door.” -Chris Pahls.

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To read more inspiring stories about Fatherhood, head over BabyMori and read more in their Journal Series.

Photos By Robyn Bunch, Courtney Unruh & Stephanie Pollock

 

International Family Day: An Interview With BabyMori – Inspiring Lives 14: The Importance of Family, Kindness and Accepting Loss


  • How did you and your husband, Chris, first meet? 

Chris and I will never stop laughing about how we met!  I’ll try and set up the scene. It’s 2004, we’re college freshman, I’m maybe hung over (because #college and I was into poor choices at this stage in my life:D) and I was dressed in what we will call ‘not my best look’. We were in our University Cafeteria, and I’m standing in front of a TV & and literally shoveling ranch dressing smothered cottage cheese into my mouth using a chicken strip as my utensil of choice when my friend came over and introduced Chris and I 😀 I knew him after that as Hot Art Student Chris and he knew me as That Weird Chicken Strip Girl 😀 We didn’t begin dating until two years later, and have been inseparable since, but to this day Chris will joke, “I can’t believe I married the chicken strip girl”. So, maybe not a love at first sight story but it makes for a good story and we will never stop laughing about it. Oh, and I’ve been working on my table manners and Hot Art Chris has only continued to get hotter and hotter:D

  • Life isn’t always kind to everyone. How do you both approach life with such positivity and love?

Chris and I both understand that you can’t take life too seriously.  We have learned to really value the good moments, as we understand it is these moments that will help get us through the more difficult times.  We both value kindness and try to remember that the person honking their horn at us maybe just found out they have cancer, or the mean lady in line at the coffee shop is maybe grieving the loss of her best friend.  We understand that people are hurting all around us and believe we are called to be kind and loving to all people at all times. We both share the belief that everybody has a story to tell, everyone’s story is very valuable and sometimes these stories really just need to be shared and listened to. 2016-04-20 09.17.39.jpg

  • You’ve both lost family in the past, something that can be so difficult to cope with. How has family helped you to find the light at the end of the tunnel?

Chris and I were dating when my father and 17-year-old sister were killed in a tragic car accident.  I kind of lost myself for a while.  I hurt in a way I didn’t know was possible and I was hurting even more deeply for my family, watching them grieve.  I know watching my family and I hurt the way we did was difficult for Chris. I remember Chris not really giving me advice when I was really hurting, but just trying to be there and listen to me when I needed it. He still tries to do this. Please do this for your friends experiencing loss. Just be there for them. Just listen to them. Just cry with them…

Chris lost both his grandparents in the same week and my water actually broke with our first daughter the morning of their funeral so we were unable to attend.  As strange as this sounds, we gained such interesting perspective through this.  Although we will all experience extreme sorrow on this earth, there is still immeasurable joy that happens alongside this sorrow as well. However, sometimes you have to choose which thing you’re going to give more attention to, the sorrow or the joy.

All of us will experience loss and difficulty but we also all get to choose how we respond and react to these difficult times and painful emotions.  After the loss of my dad and sister, I reacted in many ways. Some reactions were good, some were damaging, but in the end, with Chris’ love and support, I went back to school and became a therapist so I could walk alongside people who were going through their most difficult times and be a part of their healing process.  We have learned, though, that you don’t need any kind of special degree to walk alongside people and help; we can all do this every day.

We can take the time to visit with the person checking us out at our your local grocers, we can be kind and buy someone’s coffee behind us in line at the local coffee shop or simply compliment and encourage that sleep deprived mother trying to convince her toddlers why they don’t need that candy that they’re letting the world know they need… You’ll be amazed at the connections and relationships that will form around you if you take the time to do these simple things daily.  Listening to people’s stories and sharing ours can have so much power and impact on the world around us. Chris and I believe we were made for connection and community and these are ways we have learned to join together as a family and connect with others around us no matter what season of life we may be in.

  • Moments are so rare because they come and go so quickly. For you, what family moments will you always hold close?

When it pertains to loss, I will never forget the moment I held my father’s hands or touched my sister’s beautiful face and said goodbye to them for the last time as they laid in their caskets. I can’t help but cry and breathing sometimes becomes difficult when I think of this moment, knowing I wouldn’t see them or touch them in this life again.

However, when I think of this moment, I also begin to think of the many unforgettable memories that made saying goodbye to them so difficult.  I remember the first time I held Bethany in the hospital when she was born and being so excited to have another little sister.  She was such a spunky, compassionate and genuinely unforgettable person. I remember my dad sharing with me, shortly before he passed, the regrets he had as a father and asking me for his forgiveness while expressing his deep love for me as his first-born daughter. My mind is flooded with memories of family game nights, road trips across the country and so many of my dad’s corny jokes that I will forever be grateful for!

I have learned so much from my family and so much more in having to say goodbye to them. Their loss made me realize I will say goodbye to other loved ones before I’m ready to, so I am trying to be more aware of this and hold tightly to the happy moments, especially as a wife and mother.

When it pertains to my family, there are so many memories that will stay with me.  The moment Chris asked me to be his wife, the moment we promised to love one another even through the hardest of times, the moment we became parents and every moment we met each one of our daughters for the first time. Every time we welcome a baby, I look at him and feel the deepest emotion that I don’t even know how to describe.  It’s like, WE did this! You did this! I did this! This is our baby, this is our family.  I think about this feeling and treasure it deeply.

IMG_6767.jpgThere are so many moments, which might be considered mundane, that have become so precious and almost sacred to me because I have learned that forever is a lot shorter than it sounds. Making pancakes in the morning, singing songs in the bathtub, the girls crawling into our bed after they’ve peed in theirs:D  I know these moments are fleeting and I want to hold onto them as long as I can!

  • What does family mean to you and how do you enjoy the little moments?

To me, family is a gift.  I don’t necessarily deserve my family or this life of ours, and yet they have been given to me and I to them… And for that, I am so thankful. There are some days I almost can’t believe how blessed I am! Before we had children, I was such an extrovert.  Now, I’m happiest at home hanging out with our family! I love and look forward to the days where our calendars are empty and all we have to do is to hang out with one another! Movie nights, dance parties, baking and making meals together, playing outside, watching the girls play together… Even cleaning the house is so much more fun as a family! I know my family is a gift and I am so thankful and continue to grow more and more thankful!  I think the best way to embrace family is to understand that it truly is a gift and to try my best to act in a manner that reflects this gratitude.

  • Finally, what does motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood.  So much can be found wrapped up into the word Motherhood. Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  Motherhood is a huge responsibility, a new identity, a constant dance of evolving and adjusting. Motherhood brought with it new insecurities, new challenges, new opinions, new fears, new convictions, new emotions, new abilities, new passions, new hopes and aspirations, new relationships, new priorities… To me, there was almost my life before motherhood and my life after motherhood.  Motherhood is not the only thing that defines me, but it is a confounding element that has completely redefined me.

 

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Read more inspiring stories @ https://babymori.com/blogs/journal . Thank you for letting me share my heart @BabyMori!
 Photos by StephPollock & RobynBunch

 

 

Sister, Sister, Sister, Sister: Sisterly Love

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Motherhood is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. There are so many aspects that I never knew existed or never even thought about before having our own children.  One of those things I never really thought about when we were dreaming of children, was what it would be like to get to watch their relationships with one another form and change as they grew.  We planned to have one baby, and now, 5 years later, our 4th girl is due in October:D  Watching these little ladies is such a gift! I can think back to when they were so little and just learning how to use words and communicate with one another…And now they’re best friends, most of the time, and doing just about everything they do with one another!

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I am the oldest of 4, with 2 younger sisters and a brother whom I love dearly.  I also gained 2 brothers and an amazing sister-in-law when I married my husband.  Our youngest sister, Bethany went to be with the Lord 8 years ago when she was 17 and I miss her more than I can express.  Losing Bethany strengthened the bond I have with my sister Heather and has taught me so much about how incredible the gift of siblings can be.

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I have a lot of regret as a sibling. I feel like I missed getting to know my siblings or pouring into them the way I should have… mostly because of my own selfishness… One thing I really want my daughters to understand is that they are precious gifts to one another and their job as a sister is to be selfless, compassionate and a best friend to one another…  I want to model that they are to be understanding and gentle with one another; to hold one another accountable yet give one another lots of grace. It’s easy to get frustrated and judgy with the ones you love most.  I am guilty of this and wish I would have shown my love to my siblings better.  I pray that through what I have learned, these daughters will love and protect one another in such a way that when they look back on life, they can smile and know they always were there for one another and that they will never feel alone in the many stages of life they go through.

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When it comes to the girls’ personalities and interests, all of our girls all pretty ‘girly girly’ but some of their favorite interests include learning, reading, baking, playing with dolls & barbies, playing dress up in princess dresses and momma’s clothes, lots and lots of make believe, playing midwives, doing make-up, building forts, dance parties, making & playing with play dough, painting, coloring, playing tag and hide-and-seek, playing outside and really just doing anything together! Norah wants everything Disney Princess Ariel, Charlie wants all things Princess Rapunzel and Ada likes anything she can throw or chew on:D

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It is truly so interesting how different they are from one another…. Chris and I started talking last night about what it might be like welcoming our fourth little lady, and we couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of four daughters but more so, about Ada becoming a big sister! She is so funny and wild and is going to be so in love!

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To describe them each briefly, Norah wakes up in the mornings like Disney Princess happy! Charlie always wakes up a bit grumpy and hungry and Ada always wakes up way too early and ready to wrestle and play.  Whenever Ada sees her two big sisters in the morning, she squeals with joy and instantly tries to wrestle with them!  It’s amazing watching how much she loves them, how much they love her and how much they all just love one another! My heart swoons thinking about the 3, soon to be 4 of them, growing up together and all the memories they will make together! Norah is our social butterfly, Charlie is our super creative artist and Ada kind of acts like she’s been raised by wolves 😀 I’m so excited to see what baby girl #4 will be like?! Also excited to giver her a name!

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Our two oldest have recently entered the ‘fighting’ stage and they are, surprisingly, very good at it.  One minute, they will be playing barbies, the next minute they’re fighting over who said what and then act as if the world is ending.  Chris and I are working on trying to learn what works best for each of them and that’s an interesting process as well. They fight over who gets to wear what outfit and they almost always ask to be “matchy matchy” which just means dress similarly, so I’m getting smarter about getting them “matchy matchy” coordinating outfits

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Even in the more difficult times, I am so grateful to be their mother and feel so blessed to call these daughters ours! Sometimes I just watch them and smile and take 1,000 photos so I never forget how these moments felt… When they hug and tell one another they love each other, or compliment and encourage one another… all the hard stuff seems to melt away…well, most of the time:D Motherhood is simply amazing and I am so grateful for our little girl party!”

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We are very thankful to have partnered with LittleCottonClothes and their Sisterly Love campaign for this piece.  Thank you LittleCottonClothes!

Heidi Skirts and Sidonie Sailor Shirts by LittleCotton Clothes

Knee Socks by RedRoverKids & AtHomeWithAveryGrace