You Are More

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bringing Home Your Second Baby

When bringing home your second baby worrying about the way your first born is going to handle the transition is a very valid concern. Trying to figure out how life with two is going to look makes the top three list of worries for a new mom of two. Am I go to love them as much as my first? Am I going to be able to balance this life with two babies? Is my firstborn going to fall into this role of big sibling naturally or are they going to struggle with extreme jealousy? It's natural that a mom is going to worry that much about one of the most important little beings in her life.

Obviously the biggest transition when having your second baby is the day you bring that baby home. Depending on the age of your first born, it can be a very big surprise to have mommy and daddy come home with this new little one who demands a lot of their attention. It can be a transition that causes a lot of uncertainty and confusion in your now big sibling.

When we brought my baby girl home, my son was 21 months old. I had no idea how he was going to respond. When I expressed my concerns before having Elyse I was always told, "Oh! He's going to love her!" So many people told me that Jase was going to do just great and it really set me up for false expectations. I am not entirely sure what I expected to happen, but I wasn't prepared for what did happen.

I have talked to a handful of mothers who brought their second baby home when their first born was between the ages of two and three to see how their transitions truly went. I have come to realize there are usually three ways it can go, and because I felt drastically unprepared for this transition, I wanted to share with you.

The first way big sibling may tend to react is with complete disinterest. This is how Jase responded. Jase wanted nothing to do with Elyse. In turn that meant he wanted nothing to do with me. I brought this baby into the house. Every time she cried, it was me who had to soothe her by feeding her or whatever else it might be. This little baby was attached to me and Jase wasn't sure about her at all, so he kept his distance. Jase immediately, like flip of the switch immediately, became a total daddy's boy. He stuck to his daddy like glue and observed his sister from a distance. When she cried he looked at her. When she slept he looked at her. He didn't care to touch her. He didn't care to have her touch him. He didn't care to hold her. He was perfectly fine having nothing to do with her.

For a couple weeks this broke my heart. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I thought he hated her. Wasn't he supposed to love and adore her? Wasn't he supposed to want to be all over her, holding her and smothering her? Wasn't he supposed to be excited? I would get glimpses of hope as people would drop off meals and he would run next to her pointing in excitement, "Look! Sissy!" But then she would get to close to him and he would flip out. He wouldn't let me hold him for a couple days and it broke me. I thought he was mad at me. He didn't seem jealous of her, he just didn't want to be around her. But in my postpartum emotional state, I thought he was going to hate her forever. But in reality he just wasn't sure about her. He needed to take time to get used to her, to warm up to her. After a couple weeks he didn't have to have a distance from her, but he still didn't pay much attention to her. He acknowledged her every morning and every time she woke up from naps, but outside of that he just didn't really care to pay much attention to her.

Another way big sibling tends to respond is smothering. This is like having a second parent around who thinks they know what's best for your baby. Shoving the pacifier in their mouth, covering them in blankets, sharing their cheerios, and much more. This reaction usually puts mom on what I have come to call 24/7 homicide watch because big sibling likes to be a big helper! They want to hold the baby, and pick up the baby, and rock the baby, and feed the baby, and do everything that you do with the baby. Your little helpers. But even this can be quite stressful on mama when you feel like you can't leave the toddler alone with the baby for even one second.

And the last reaction that tends to happen is jealousy. This one can play out a lot like the first one, but could be very demanding of mom and dad's attention. This is where big sibling might try to push the baby right off your lap so they can sit there instead! They used to be the only one mom and dad had to worry about, and now there is someone taking all their attention. Of course it makes sense to have a little jealousy in there!

Bringing home your second baby is a big transition for everyone. It takes time for you to learn to juggle two, it takes time for you to heal, and it takes time for your first baby to get used to having a new baby around.

So the biggest thing to remember in bringing home your second baby is it takes time. Your first baby will absolutely adore your second baby, but it might not happen right away. They may want nothing to do with them. They may want to smother them. They may be extremely jealous of them. Over time you will see more and more of the beauty that their relationship will blossom into, but it won't always happen over night. Sometimes it's something that grows as the days pass, and that's okay. You can go in being prepared for it to go either way and know that when adjusting to having a little sibling anything can be considered normal. It won't be that way forever. Soon you'll be sitting back watching them play together and those first few days will only be a memory.

What was it like when you brought your second baby home? If you're getting ready to, what are your biggest concerns?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Live In Him

As a mom it's hard to find any time to yourself. You are consumed entirely with taking care of another little human and from the start this tiny person cannot do anything for themselves. So naturally, you get set on the back burner. You shower, if you have time. You change clothes maybe once every few days. You brush your teeth, only when you remember. You eat, only the scraps your toddler leaves behind. Every where you go there is a little person toddling behind you or attached to your hip. It's just the way the life of a mom can be sometimes and we learn to be okay with it.

The biggest guilt trip comes though when you realize how little time you now have to sit and read your Bible and pray to the very One who blessed you with those little humans. When you see your Bible sitting on the book shelf and realize you don't remember the last time you opened it and actually sat down to read it. The memories of the person you once were when you could spend hours, just you, your Bible and journal, and the presence of God come flooding to your mind. You find yourself longing for the closeness that you felt to the Lord then, and guilty of how far away you feel today. Running through all the reasons in your mind that leave you feeling defeated and down you think about how to manage your time better, how to prioritize better, how to get up earlier or stay up later. The list of the things the perfect mom does to spend even just thirty minutes in the presence of the Lord begins to scroll through your mind. If I could just do this...if I could just be better at this....if I could just catch five minutes...and the list goes on.

Hear His sweet whisper of grace today.

Live in Him.

It's not about that hour, those thirty minutes, or even those five minutes that you find to curl up and read the Bible and pray. It's about living in Him throughout your day. It's about learning to live in His presence. It's about seeking Him in all you do. It's about seeking him in your mothering. This mothering thing, it's hard. There isn't much time to rest, there isn't much time alone, there isn't much time to breathe. But God isn't confined to those times of rest, or that time you find alone. God is everywhere. God walks with you through the thick of motherhood and strengthens you when you're weak. He's the joy in the laughter that feels your home, the peace that keeps you, and the love that fills you.

Mama, live in Him.

Let him permeate your entire being. Walk with Him throughout your entire day basking in His presence. Find Him in the laughter of your children. Find Him in the peace of your child sleeping in your arms. Find Him in the strength of your child's tantrums. Find Him in the love overflowing out of your heart.

It's not about that time set aside, it's about truly living in Him and walking in His presence. It's then that we truly experience Him in every part of our lives. Find His grace and Live in Him today.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Elyse 5&6 Months

Life was a bit crazy the month of August with moving and a whole lot of other things, so the blog had to take the back burner so I didn't go crazy. So I missed Elyse's five month post and am going to combine it into this one today.

Elyse is a total mama's girl and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know it won't be this way for long. She is the happiest baby I have ever seen, but for some reason does not like the church nursery on Wednesday nights. The night hours she usually just wants to be close to her mama, so I think it has something to do with that. She is always smiling and squealing her joy is so radiant throughout her entire being.

She is a very flexible baby and often has to wait on her brother but she does so well. She absolutely adores her big brother. Whenever she hears him she immediately starts looking for him and wants to watch and observe everything he does. The two of them are starting to interact so much more on a playful level. It brings my heart so much joy to watch the two of them together and I can only imagine how that relationship will grow.

Elyse started some pureed foods at exactly five months. She was starting to reach for our food on a consistent basis and I could tell she was hungry for more. Her favorite foods are peaches and sweet potatoes, and her least favorite is squash. She eats her veggies like a pro! She is now nursing every four hours since starting purees and eats three times a day.

Little miss is also rolling back to tummy, tummy to back, scooting around on her belly, and sitting on her own with someone there just in case she gets distracted and starts to tumble (as of six months). She mostly sleeps through the night, but is a lot more inconsistent then her brother. We have nights where she wakes randomly, but she is a pro napper. No teeth yet, which her brother still didn't have any for another month so maybe she will follow in those foot steps. My mama says she looks just like me when she was a baby besides the bright beautiful blue and sometimes green eyes (yes they change!). Her personality seems to be a happy medium between her daddy and I. While she doesn't have to be the center of attention, she enjoys being in on the action. Isn't very open to new people and new places, but enjoys the comfort of what she knows. But she definitely likes to talk and be a part of what is going on.

Miss Elyse, it warms my heart knowing how much you love your mama. You have such a special place in my heart as my baby girl. Oh the treasure it is having a daughter. I love your joy, I love your sweet personality, and I love watching you adore your big brother. You are getting more and more interactive and I can't wait to see how you continue to grow. I love you my baby girl...until next month.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It Could Have Been A Disaster

It seems like forever since I sat down to write in this space. This season of life just got a little crazy and I had to give myself freedom to step back. I had to let go of a few things for a little bit and I know it was the right thing to do. I planned on jumping back in the first full week of October, but I had such an awesome story to tell I couldn't wait any longer. And let's be honest, I couldn't stay away too much longer anyways!

Wednesday nights I am leading a fourth and fifth grade girls class in our Children's Ministry. I don't know what it is about that age, but it is one of my absolute favorites. It's been awhile since I have actually taught a class because I am usually helping on the administration and leadership side of the service making sure everything runs smoothly. This semester I really wanted to jump in and be with the kids during service as much as I could.

This last Wednesday night our devotional with the girls was on worry. We spent time talking about how easy it is to worry and how most of the time it's our natural tendency to respond with worry in various situations. The kids really opened up about things that cause them to worry and how it effects their thinking. We talked about all the times we have found ourselves worrying about things that never happen and how much time we waste with all that worry. Our devotion reminded us that God is above all time. God is yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He knows what we need right now, and He knows how to take care of us tomorrow. He is in complete control and nothing is a surprise to Him. He wants us to experience life overflowing in abundance by placing our trust in Him.

Wednesday night, or should I say Thursday morning my husband and I were woken up at one in the morning. Our son's monitor started to lose reception and since the sound of his white noise machine comes through the monitor we started hearing it go in and out which woke us both. My husband, not very happy when he is woken, goes to turn it off and move it across the room. When he turns it off we immediately heard something that wasn't right. I jumped up in bed and turned the lamp on and asked if he heard that. In my sleepy state I had yet to register that the noise was running water, and my mom adrenaline kicked in thinking someone was in my house and I wanted to make sure my babies were okay. Thankfully a few more seconds and the sound of running water clicked in my mind. My husband starts looking around and notices that our master bathroom is covered in water. He shuts off the water to the toilet and runs down to the basement while I start cleaning up the mess upstairs. Long story short, a piece connecting the hose into the toilet broke in the middle of the night and started pouring water out all over the bathroom floor. The water also drained into the unfinished portion of the basement through the piping and floor vent on the bathroom floor.

It was definitely not fun to wake up to, but all I could think about was how thankful I was that we woke up because it could have been much worse. I laid in bed after we cleaned the mess up and thought about the entire situation. I one hundred percent believe that God woke my husband and I up before the situation got any worse. I was incredibly thankful.

The next morning I woke up and was thinking about the situation a little more and God reminded me of the lesson I taught the girls the previous night. God knows our yesterday, our today, and He knows our tomorrow. He desires for us not to waste time worrying about what could or could not happen and trust that He will take care of us no matter what. When my husband and I ventured out into buying our own home the fears of the responsibility of the big costs of things breaking or being damaged could have held us back. We knew God was opening doors and directing us to our home so we trusted Him and took the steps of faith. I could have spent so much time worrying about what could happen when we moved in, but I trusted that the Lord would take care of us. Then, in the middle of the night, something did happen. Something that could have caused a lot of damage if we did not catch it in time. And you know what God did? He took care of us. God woke us up and brought to our attention that something was not right. What an incredible way for God to bring the lesson to life right before my eyes.

God is yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He knows what we need right now, and He knows what we need tomorrow. He desires for us to place our trust in Him, not because He desires to control us, but because He desires for us to live life abundantly. He desires for us to live life free of worry. He wants us to know that if we trust in Him, He will take care of us. He will take care of the little things and the big things and everything that falls in between. Even a plumbing leak is important enough to Him to make sure we are taken care of, and it doesn't stop there. It's in our trusting in Him that we experience life filled to overflowing.

What is it that you need to relinquish control of and trust God today? Where can you see Him showing you that even the little things matter? Let's look for those things today. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

We Bought a House!

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." 

If you follow along with me via Instagram, you will have already discovered that we bought a house! This adventure has been one of the most exciting, overwhelming, stressful, and incredible things I have ever experienced. Everything has been such a whirlwind that it is almost so surreal that this is happening. I have been waiting for closing before sharing this journey and how God put this all together and I am so excited to officially say that this beautiful home is ours. 

We all love a good story, don't we? So let me tell you how this baby came to be...

We have been completely and totally blessed to have "kind-of" free housing while living in the church parsonage. When we accepted our ministry job in Saint Louis, the move was so quick, we had just had our first baby, and there was no way we could have looked for a home in that short amount of time with where we were currently at. The church offered the parsonage to us and it has been a complete and total blessing, but we knew it wasn't our forever home. We didn't always want to be in the parsonage, but we had no idea how we would ever be able to own a home of our own. I remember telling Chad at times it seemed so impossible to ever dream of being home owners.

Fast forward two years of living in the parsonage and we came across some programs that could help us to buy our first home. We started moving in that direction, with a plan in mind, and door after door kept slamming in our face. It didn't seem like it was going to work out at all. So we just decided to wait a year and maybe we would be more ready then. Literally a month later everything changed. The church came to us with a proposition of moving out of the Parsonage so that they could move in some new hires, and if we still were interested in moving they would bring it to the finance board and see what they could do. So we said yes, and I started looking at the market again and day after day kept getting so discouraged. There was nothing. When we looked a month ago there were options, but all of those options were not under contract. I was really stressed out by this point about even finding a home. Two weeks pass by and this house pops up on the market a little further south then the town we were originally looking in, but in the same town as my in-laws. I completely fell in love. I called the realtor immediately and since it was late Tuesday night, and we had Church Wednesday, we set up a time to see it on Thursday. Well the church came to us on Wednesday saying everything was approved and I just couldn't shake the feeling that we needed to go see that house that day. So I called the realtor and we decided to go during Chad's lunch break.

Can I just say when we saw the house it was even more beautiful than the photos? We were absolutely in LOVE. My husband is a processor, he wanted to bring his parents back the next day, take time to think about it, and make sure he knew what he was doing. So that's what we left the house thinking...until we were home not even thirty minutes and were told that if we didn't place an offer by 5pm we would lose the house because there were already two offers put in! So we scrambled around for the next three hours, made some phone calls, and took the leap and put in an offer. It was the craziest most stressful three hours of my life. I was running around like a crazy lady thanking the Lord it was nap time for the kids. 

Offer was in and we were told we would know by 8pm or sooner. At 7pm I got a phone call from the realtor saying that we were in a bidding war. We couldn't go any higher than we already put in for, so she suggested that we write a letter to the sellers thanking them for the opportunity to see their home and talk about how we could see ourselves in it. When she said that I knew exactly what to write. When we went to the house that afternoon Jase was running around the newly fenced back yard and as I was watching him my eyes filled with tears and I thought, "this is what I want. This is what we have been looking for." I couldn't get over how happy he was to have a yard to run and play in. So I shared my heart with the sellers, submitted the letter, and waited.

At exactly 8pm I got a text from my realtor asking if we were ready. After minutes...which felt like hours...staring at her little dots typing she exclaimed we got the house! But the God thing is that we weren't the highest bid! The sellers chose us all over our letter. They wanted us to be the ones to purchase the home that they so well loved, that made us feel incredibly special!

God's hand was in this entirely! We would have lost the house if we would have waited one more day to see it. The house was on the market less than 24 hours before the offers were put in. We didn't offer the highest bid and the sellers chose us. I am just so an awe of how God works things out. I never thought this dream was possible, and it's so crazy how God had it play out. Originally we had our own plan of how we were going to work it out, but that wasn't the way God had things planned. So He closed the doors until we were on the same page and then they began flying open. How the Lord's ways are mysterious, but far better than we could imagine. 

I am so excited for this new journey with my family and the chance to make this house a home!

Do you have an awesome story to share from buying your first home? Are you dreaming of the day you do? Tell me all about it in the comments!