10 More Tips for Soon-to-Be Moms

On the heels of my first post of 10 tips for all of you soon-to-be moms, I’ve written a second list of tips! I hope these are super helpful, but remember: what worked for me doesn’t always work for everyone, and you should do whatever works best for you, your baby, and your family! These are just suggestions!

Yes. That is my bump, as of right now!

1. Don’t buy maternity underwear. I say this not necessarily because it’s a waste of money. It probably isn’t. But you’d wear it for a few months, and then just pack it away or trash it, right? A better idea is to just stretch out your regular underwear, and then after the baby is born, hit up Vicky’s semi-annual sale and treat yo’self to some brand new undies you won’t have to let go of in a few months. The options are cuter in regular sizes, anyway.

2. When getting nursing attire, you may need two sizes. For the first two months or so, my breasts were huge, and needed to be available all the time. After that, I started to shrink down a little (it was NOT sad) and could start wearing things that weren’t nursing friendly every once in a while because they were nursing more predictably and not as often. I got all my nursing tank tops and nursing bras at Target, and there are several brands and styles I liked just fine.

3. When offered help, have it continue through (at least) the first two months. It seems like you’d get a rhythm and not need as much help after the first couple of weeks, right? Ha! Well, you do. But your adrenaline wears off, the lack of sleep builds up, and you’re dragging even more than you were when you said you’d never been so tired. So if you’ve got a friend setting up a meal calendar, have it continue through two months, even if that means it starts a little later. If you’ve got someone asking if you need a break to take a shower or a nap, say yes, and ash them if they’d like to do it again. It feels silly to take them up on things like that, but hey – they offered!

4. Use the lactation consultant at the hospital! When you’re there after delivery for however many hours, and that consultant comes by, let her take a good look at what’s going on, let her get in your (and the baby’s) business, and ask her ALL THE QUESTIONS. It’s awkward. It feels weird to have your boobs out and her squeezing and whatever, but just do it. You learn tricks, and you can even get her number for a follow-up phone call later. It’s the best!

5. Have Daddy help out. I don’t mean just with cooking and cleaning and yada yada. I mean with the baby. He needs to bond, too, so have him help out at night if possible (if he’s not working the next morning) or have him take the early morning shift, so you can catch some more z’s before your day really gets going. It’ll be really special time between Daddy and baby, and it’ll be heaven for you.

6. Try not to get too worked up. I know this sounds ridiculous, but if you’re in the middle of a crying jag, or a nursing strike, or just plain isn’t happy with anything, it’s tempting to get really stressed and freak out. I’ve been there tons of times, when you just feel useless. I got a great piece of advice. Put the baby in the crib, walk away, and tag out with Daddy, or just give yourself a minute. If what you were trying wasn’t helping, getting stressed isn’t either. Your baby can sense that you’re stressed, and that doesn’t help them calm down. However you can get a minute to calm down, that’s the best way to calm the baby.

7. Be flexible with sleeping arrangements. Something different that you thought might be what works for you. When I had EK, I had planned on keeping her in the room in a bassinet until she started sleeping better, just so I wouldn’t have to walk around the house in the middle of the night. Turns out, Hubby and I couldn’t sleep because we were listening to every tiny squeak and each little squirm, wondering if she was waking up, if she was hungry, if she needed something. I couldn’t ever get to sleep! We spent two nights like that, and moved her to her own room, because we couldn’t get any rest. Unless everyone’s getting sleep with whatever arrangement you are trying, you might try something different.

8. Create a bedtime routine. I went into depth about our bedtime routine in a recent post here, but having a few things that are the same every night will help baby know when bedtime is, and go down a little easier. For instance, clean diaper (bath when they’re ready for a daily bath), clean jammies/sleep sack, swaddled (if you’re swaddling), read a book, sing a song, feed her, and lay her down before she’s all the way asleep.

9. Go ahead and choose your pediatrician. The hospital will ask you just after your baby is born who you will be working with (what office, anyway) so go ahead and visit a few before you have the baby. The pediatrician on call will do a visit in the hospital for the both of you, so meet a few of the doctors if you can, and you might see a familiar face! Most offices do tours and meet-and-greets, so call a few and ask around! For us, we love the option of a Saturday clinic, the option of lots of different doctors, but being able to see our favorite nine times out of ten, and the fact that they all treat our kids like royalty. What can I say? They love us.

10. Get some sleep before the baby comes. I got all sorts of advice about I should do before EK got here: go on vacation, get my nails done, get my hair cut, have a girls’ night, have a massage, have sex with my husband (how do you think we got pregnant?), prepare the nursery, wash the baby clothes, go to the movies, and a thousand more things. The best piece was to get sleep. I took naps, slept as much as possible all day and night, and I felt super rested when the baby came. It was the best possible scenario.

What else would you add to this list? How have you prepared for a baby?

Never Do That Again: A Pondering on Threenagers

Never is a big word, friends. I try not to use it. Its permanence and irretrievable negativity make me nervous. But the one time I do use it, I’m okay with: Never do that again.

 When I’m talking to my daughter, and she does something that scares me, hurts me or someone else, or is just plain offensive, I tell her to never do it again. And then I explain why.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, we were meeting some friends for lunch at our favorite bagel place. I had parked and gotten the kids out before our friends had, so we patiently waited for them to get out of their car, cross the aisle, and meet us. Well, I was patient. EK suddenly pulled way from me, and ran across the parking lot aisle to be with her friends. AND THERE WAS A CAR COMING. Thank God the mother in the Suburban was closely watching and didn’t hit my kid (maybe because she had had a kid who ran out in the road in the past) but I was frantic. I was angry (about as angry as I’ve ever been) and scared and angry some more. I was obviously glad she was fine, but that almost took a backseat to the fear she made me feel when she pulled her hand from mine and took off.

When I had crossed to her, I knelt down, took her face in mine, and made her look at me. I told her how she should never do that again, because it was dangerous, she could’ve gotten hurt, she scared me, she scared our friends, etc. She knew I was serious, I thought. She didn’t cry, but I could tell by her face she was listening and at least partially comprehending. My heart slowed down a little, and we went and had a nice lunch.

Coming out of the restaurant, we were hugging and high-fiving on the sidewalk with our friends, making plans for the next time we’d see them. We had almost gotten to our car when EK decided to make a second round of running around the parking lot. I ALMOST LOST IT. This time, there was no car, and anger was much more than fear. I finally got to her, pulled her over to the car, and made her stand right there while I put J in his car seat. Then, I made some sort of country threat (straight to my roots in a moment of primal fear) like “I’m gonna tear your butt up if you do that again!” in a way that totally lost its “oomph”. I thought about spanking her right then and there, but settled (wisely) for pinning her down in her car seat, closing the door, and taking a deep breath.

Where had I gone wrong to make her think she could do that? How had I not taught her better? I’m a broken record with the “We always hold hands in the parking lot.” (Note to the mom: Always is a concept much like never. If she doesn’t get one, she probably won’t get the other.) I’ve warned that streets and parking lots are dangerous places and told her repeatedly to be careful. I mean, I’ve literally held J like a football to prevent him from getting to the ground for takeoff. But there was obviously a fail somewhere along the way.

I guess she didn’t understand the concept of “never”. It’s a hard one, to be sure. But she didn’t understand. I was just her mom, telling her what to do, just like 25 other times already that day. Why should “Always hold my hand.” and “Never run from me like that.” be any different? Giant light bulb for me: my threenager doesn’t understand obscure concepts. Duh.

How do I make my threenager understand the difference between something serious and something that doesn’t matter as much? Between something dangerous and something I’d just rather her not do? Tacking “never” on to the front of the sentence obviously won’t do it. It doesn’t hold the weight for my daughter that it holds for me. Why? Because she’s three. I can’t remember that and repeat those words to myself enough. She’s three. She’s only three. It’s because she’s three.

Maybe she’s just three, and I’m just trying to be a good mama.

Currently

I’m a little late on my Currently this week, but here it is! I’m linking up as usual with Becky over at Choose Happy! Join us and let us know what you’re up to currently!

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Enjoying || a day at the lake! Hubby’s parents have a place on Lake Norman, which is about an hour from us. So last Thursday, we packed up and went down for the day to enjoy the sunshine! We are super excited to be going back this Thursday, also! 

          Writing || about pregnancy, delivery, and newborns. Some of these posts have already gone up (like this one on delivery), and some are coming soon! It’s been on my mind a lot, for obvious reasons, and writing about it for y’all helps me prepare myself, too! Since it’s my third time doing this, I’m not terrified or anything, but the more comfortable I am with the process of having, bringing home, and nurturing a newborn, the easier it will be in addition to keeping my older kiddos happy. It’s going to be a huge life shift (as it always is) to add another person to our family, so I’m preparing myself mentally and emotionally to make it happen!

Eating || the three meals from our free week of Blue Apron! My friend Lauren and her husband have been subscribing to the service for a few weeks, and had a free week to give away, so Hubby and I just finished our first round! For $59, you are sent every single thing you need to prepare three separate meals for two people each (or two meals for four people) and directions, etc to make it happen. They’re fairly quick (20-40 minutes prep and cooking time) and all three have been totally delicious! Our favorite thing about them was that we’d never have fixed those dishes or used some of those ingredients (I’m looking at you, ramps. What even are you, anyway?) except that they were given to us. We totally recommend it! 

    Thankful for || beautiful weather and kids who love to play outside! J runs toward the door every time it opens, hoping to catch a few minutes in the grass. When we pull in the driveway, he doesn’t want to go in the house… he just wants to stay outside! It’s great because they usually wear themselves out and nap really well – and who doesn’t love that?! 

      Well, that’s what we’re doing Currently in our family! What have you been up to?

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a great Memorial Day yesterday! Ours was very low-key, but still lovely. I have several hilarious treats for you today in this post… Enjoy!



Hubby and I have a Asian meal we love to eat when the weather’s warm, and he just calls it cold noodles. Basically, it’s chilled noodles in several Asian sauces/oils, with egg, ham, cucumber and bean sprouts. We gave EK her first bowl of the summer (she had eaten it before), and she took one bite, then whined: Mommy, warm up my food! (Face palm.)26

While cutting fingernails and toenails…
EK: Look, Mom!
Me, looking at a crescent-shaped fingernail clipping: What about it?
EK: It’s like a little crown! For Elsa!
Me: Hmm…
EK, pointing at a hang nail: Can you get this out?
Me: Sure! (Clipping it.)
EK: (gasps) You saved me!! (throws her arms around my neck) Could you also take my toenails off?
(This is code for toenail polish. When she wants it off her fingernails or toenails, she asks me to take the nails off. Yikes.)

When preparing one night to watch a little TV, EK: I wanna watch Docka Duffus!


She was trying to say Doc McStuffins, and she pronounced it duh-fuss instead of doo-fuss but it still literally made me cackle out loud, so she kept saying it and giggling, even though I don’t think she knew why it was making me laugh.

What happens when your threenager hears that your car’s in the shop…
EK: Yor car’s broken, Mom?
Me: Yeah. It’s broken right now. (Aka a currently unidentifiable reason.)
EK: You gotta get a fresh one!
Hilarious on so many levels.

After picking EK up from preschool, she taught me about a new cough remedy…
Me: You’ve got some snack left on your face! What did you have?
EK: Just yogurt. It made my cough go away!
(She didn’t have a cough, and I’m not sure why yogurt would’ve helped.)

What’s your toddler/preschooler/threenager been jabbering about this week?!

My Kids Are Basically My Best Friends

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

I came to the realization the other day that my relationship with my kids is similar to that of best friends. Our level of closeness rivals that of Bert and Ernie or Thelma and Louise. I’ll tell you why. 

  
I talk to them more often than anyone else. When I’m constantly answering, “What’s that, mama?” and asking, “Are you ready for lunch?” I easily exceed one million words a day that’s we’ve exchanged. We literally talk about everything: foods we dislike, places we’ve left things, how bad our poops smell, and why we have to wear shoes to go to the playground.
I hold their hands a lot. We just love physical contact. Every time we’re in a parking lot, on a sidewalk, in a store, or crossing a street, we hold hands. We just can’t keep our hands apart.

We’re inseparable. I literally have one of my two best friends by my side all day long. We don’t even go to the bathroom alone! The only time they can bear to be separated from me is when they’re sleeping, and that’s only sometimes.

We know everything about each other. We’ve been in some seriously close situations together. Potty breaks, showers, laughing, crying and sleeping: we’ve done it all together.  There are very few things about each other we don’t know. For instance, we can read each others’ moods, get on each others’ nerves, and do the sweetest things for each other, all on purpose.

We love each other a lot, but bicker like an old married couple. We don’t agree on everything, and we’re completely honest about it. I don’t agree when they poop at inconvenient times or refuse to eat their vegetables. They don’t agree when I make them go to bed on time or share their toys. We aren’t afraid to speak our minds. Our family is a safe place, after all.

Having little stooges to share my life with is basically one of the best things I’ve ever decided to do. Now, if they’d just get old enough to swap off driving on our road trips, or pick up the groceries on their way home, we’d be all set.

8 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Delivery

Delivering a baby is the biggest, most important, most intimidating thing you might ever do. If you’re a newbie at it (and even if you’re not) there are a few things you can do to help the day (or night) go more smoothly. And since I’m gearing up to have a third go at it in July, it’s good for me to go back over it. Here are some tips based on my personal experience with my two kiddos.

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After delivery family photo ❤

1. The Hospital Bag. This can be as important as you make it. Here’s my experience: I packed too much for EK. I packed too much for J. I’m considering not packing one this time. Ha! I’m kidding, but a little bit serious. I haven’t ever showered at the hospital (how much nicer is your shower at home, right?) so I haven’t used anything but the toothbrush, chapstick, and my glasses (I typically wear contacts) in the toiletries department. I wore a light robe, nursing tank, and stretchy shorts (think high school basketball shorts) when I got to my room. I used the hospital’s everything for the baby: diapers, wipes, nose sucker (what’s that thing even called, am I right?), blankets (with the exception of a muslin swaddle I brought), and hat. Everything is kinda covered in new baby fluids (read: pee, meconium, spit up, colostrum, etc.) so you don’t truly need an outfit until the “going home outfit” you picked out. Speaking of that outfit… if you’re like me and you have big babies, or if you don’t know what you’ll get because it’s your first, then pick one in newborn size and one in three month size. J couldn’t fit in most of his newborn clothes even though he was just hours old. Because hospital food is “eh” and nursing burns one million calories an hour, I packed a few non-perishable snacks (Luna bars/Larabars, crackers, etc) and bottles of water, my pillow, and my laptop. This is crucial because I want to stream Netflix while I’m not sleeping, am I right? And one last thing: pack an empty bag inside your bag so you can fill it up with hospital freebies like diapers, wipes, maxi pads, nose sucker, etc. They’ll give you more of all of those before you head out.

2. The car seat. I know, this seems like a no-brainer, but go ahead and install it in your car. That way, you don’t have to think about it when your water breaks. It won’t even be on the radar. And you don’t want to be reading the manual to figure out what LATCH is sitting in the hospital parking lot. (Side note: neither does your partner.)

3. Ask for all the drinks and ice you want while you’re in labor. For me, I was excited beyond belief by the perfectly crunchy pellet ice at my hospital, and the fact that I could drink Coca-Cola up until I started pushing. Someone (I’m sorry, dear nurses) would come by to… ahem… empty my bladder whenever I was feeling like I needed to go. And as dry as the hospital is, I was drinking a ton.

4. It’s gonna be messy. For me, it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard it could be, but either way you and whoever else attends the actual birth will probably get sweaty at the very least. The lights are bright, the tension can be high, and at least one of you is working! You’re probably wearing a hospital gown, but bring a change of clothes for Daddy, too, because it could get a little messy. Especially if you’re like I was with your first, and you’re a little nervous to be there by yourself and you’d like him to stay with you.

5. Rest. Don’t try to do too much during your hospital stay. Keep to the bed as best you can, especially the first few hours. I know that after having J,  I popped up, my adrenaline kicked in, and I wanted to go, go, go. But if you have an epidural, or if you have some tearing (It’s okay! I tore and I lived through it!) you’ll not want to overestimate yourself. The first three or four times you need to go to the bathroom, use someone (Dad, nurse, anyone!) to help you to and from the toilet. You may be a little lightheaded.

6. Make sure you actually need to go to the hospital in the first place. Always call your doctor before you head to the hospital. I’ve had several friends with “false” labor and “pre” labor who show up at the hospital and get sent home, or sent to the mall to walk, or whatever. Your contractions have to be pretty long and pretty close together before they’ll want to keep you, and even then if you aren’t dilated at all, they might still send you away. That being said, if your water breaks, GO!

7. Get on the same page with Daddy before you start labor. It’s always nice to know what he’s up for and what he isn’t. Some dads don’t want to see it all happen, and in the heat of the moment isn’t a good time to find out. Ask him beforehand whether he’d like to sit by your head and hold your hand, or if he’d like to be a more in-depth part of what’s going on. If he’s gonna hit the floor at the sight of blood, maybe holding your hand (or the waiting room, ha!) is the best place. Hubby and I didn’t talk about it before, but he ended up being a big part of my having a successful labor/delivery with EK, and so he was very involved again the second time. Bless him for not knowing how much of a part until the actual day. Give your Dad the choice and a heads up – just because it’s a nice thing to do.

8. Do those Kegels! It’s never too late. Any amount of Kegels is better than zero. I think it also helps you learn how to push. A cousin of mine told me that during her first child’s delivery, she pushed the wrong way for over an hour. Talk about a lot of effort and pain for no gain. Kegels help you familiarize yourself with the muscles you’ll be using to have the baby, in addition to their normal benefits (getting back to normal more quickly, etc).

Well, there are eight of my most helpful tips for preparing for your delivery! If you’re expecting, good luck with your pregnancy, labor and delivery! If you aren’t, log this for when you are – it might help you out! If you’ve been through it once, or twice, or many times, do you have anything to add?

Lean into the Transition

A few nights ago at our community group (a group of six couples from my church that meet together to have dinner and fellowship every other week) we were talking about seasons of life. Our group is comprised of two (fairly) newly married couples (with no kids), two couples with young kids (ages 0-7) and two couples with older kids (high school-aged or older) so we’re obviously all in different seasons of life.

As I listened to one of the women talk about how she felt like she and her husband were in a period of transition, I realized that she, being five years younger than me, was also almost exactly where I was five years ago: buying their first house in the hopes they’d be there for a long time, not having kids yet, working jobs that may or may not be the ones they stay in forever… I can remember when I was there. The end of my second year teaching, Hubby and I had been married and lived in a rental property for our first year of marriage, and we were looking forward to having a place that was really ours. Not just a place to “squat” for nine months or a year, or a place we’d just move from in a couple of years. We wanted to buy a home to bring kids home to, ya know? And we achieved it, thank goodness.

But I remember well the feeling of moving and moving and moving that you get while you’re in college. Every fall, I moved to NC for the school year. Every summer I moved back to GA for a couple of months. After graduation, I lived with two of my girlfriends for a little less than a year. Then I moved into the little house Hubby and I lived in right when we got married. After that, after six years and back and forth and to and fro, Hubby and I settled. And here we still are, five years later, happy as can be in our wonderful house in our favorite neighborhood.

I’m not jealous of her stage of transition at all.

But we’ve got our own transitions. Our kids are always growing and changing, and we’re adding a new member to our family in July. We haven’t moved, but we just went through several months of a home renovation (and let me tell you, that felt like an eternity of “in limbo”). I stopped teaching and started leading worship, and Hubby started working at a recording studio. These are all transitions… even if they aren’t as big as some other ones.

I am thankful each day for the season of life I’m in. There are days I’m frustrated and exhausted with it, but most days, I’m happy. I get to spend a ton of time with Hubby and our kids, I’m doing a part-time job that I love, living in a home I enjoy, and a circle of wonderful friends and family with whom to share my life. Every transition and change that comes my way might throw me off a little, but instead of turning back and refusing to move forward, I try to lean into the wind.