Renly Mae | 3 Months

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Our sweet Renly-

It is crazy to think that you are three months old. You are such a blessing to our family and constantly shower us with smiles upon smiles. I love your small baby cuddles and am actually sad you aren’t a newborn anymore. Now I feel like I actually need to crack down on how much I hold you to go to sleep. Where as a newborn they say you can’t spoil. I took full advantage of that :).

Eating:

You eat every 2-3 hours during the day and at around 4:00am in the night. You do great both breastfeeding and taking a bottle when I am gone. It is pretty nice. Eating has been smooth sailing with you, and for that I am very thankful.

Sleeping:

You haven’t been the greatest at napping. You would nap about 30 min and wake up and not go back to sleep. Sometimes you were happy, sometimes you were grumpy. I normally feed you soon after you wake up and found you would fall asleep while eating. I started waiting a bit after you woke up to feed you and if you still fell asleep I would make you sit up awhile then try to feed you again. After I cracked down on you sleeping when nursing your naps started going better. I also stopped rocking you to sleep. Instead I now sing you one song and tell you it’s time for a nappy. I then lay you down and give you you paci. Sometimes you would fall asleep and sometimes you would cry for a bit before I give you your paci again. So far that seems to be working. You now take about an hour nap each time. At night you normally eat around 4 but sleep pretty much from 8-7 or 8:30. You will randomly have nights you wake up around 2 and need us to give you your paci. I think tonight we are going to try and move you to your own room. We will see how that goes!

Development:

You love talking and smiling. I think you got even louder this month if that is possible! You are constantly putting your hands in your mouth and like chomping on things. You love talking to people and love watching your sister. You are trying to hard to roll over but haven’t made it yet. You love sitting up. You will sit up on our lap, or propped in the boppy pillow with a another pillow behind it. You just love checking everything out!

A few things you love:

-Your changing pad and being naked!

-Your bath

-Sitting up, even when you are sitting up on our lap, you try and sit up straighter by holding onto our hands.

-Smiling

-Holding our hand

-Chomping on your hands

A few things you don’t like:

-Being out of the loop, you love being with everyone and get annoyed when left alone somewhere in the room.

You are such a smiley happy girl and we love you to pieces!

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Why Motherhood Matters {A Book Review}

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Since having Renly I have been reading books left and right. Spending so much time on the couch nursing requires lots of reading ;). I am not complaining. Actually now that she is nursing quicker I am a little sad I don’t have as much time to read!

Along with having Renly, I have also felt very inadequate at this mother thing. Balancing two kiddo’s needs has been a bit of a challenge for me. Having two kids has been a much easier transition than having the first one, but with that being said, I am so worried I am not doing good enough for them. This fear leads me to wonder what the point is in motherhood. Maybe it would be easier to send them somewhere else and work full time…It is a thought that has occurred to me when I am feeling overwhelmed and worried I am ruining them. Or when my dreams of doing something big, and following my entrepreneurial heart overtake me desires. It is in these moments I wonder if being a stay at home mom matters. I begin to believe the lie that there is bigger things for me to do, or that I am not good enough as a mom so someone else should watch my kids while I work.

When I saw the Why Motherhood Matters book by September McCarthy I knew I needed to read it. It was very good and I would highly recommend it to all moms. Each page is laced in grace and instruction to be the best mom you can be. She beautifully writes about our purpose as mothers and encourages us to keep going through the hard stuff. The book is broken into four parts:

Part one: Why you are not alone

Part two: Why we cannot live motherhood by the seat of our pants

Part three:Why you will lead them in ways they should go

Part four: Why giving your children a reason to change makes all the difference

She talks about topics like why you don’t have to be overwhelmed, loving your children uniquely, yelling, mom guilt, praying for our children, teaching our children to serve, teaching responsibility, and of course why motherhood matters and finding your vision and purpose.

At the end of each chapter is a section for taking the steps (taking action on what we just learned), my parenting principle (a paragraph on the principle we learned from the chapter), and a prayer at the very end that covers the chapters topic. I loved this set up as we not only learned in the chapter, but were able to apply it as well!

My biggest takeaway was at the end of the book. I pretty much highlighted all of the last few pages. A few of my favorite quotes:

“Small moments are where the hidden gifts are waiting. You will need to focus on discovering why God gave you your gifts, your calling, your future before your children can understand  their own foundation.”

“When we let God have our lives, He gives us a focus for every moment. Our future becomes a story in the making–one that we could not have directed or planned so well if we had tried. I realized that my focus would become my children’s future. Though the stripping away of my own selfish desires was painful and growing out of my childish ways was a process, I can see how those very ordinary days have turned into my legacy.”

“If there were only one thing I could leave them as a legacy, it would be a focus on eternity and the value of living a life fully surrendered to God.”

And one final favorite quote:

“Surrender is giving back what we’ve been given. The pull of the world can be stronger than the decision to allow our efforts to bee unseen for a time. Motherhood’s return has a kingdom value, and the rewards are your children’s focus and future.”

This book helped take me from the head knowledge that raising kids is very important and bigger than any dream of mine, to my heart where as Proverbs  4:23 tells us that everything flows from. This book helped give me the feelings in my heart and strength to know that all the little mundane things of motherhood are so very important. It gave me the focus to be patient and Christ-like each day because I want to point my children to eternity. I am raising girls and my desire and hope for them is to follow Jesus and do God’s will. Taking the time to be patient and lead them well is pointing them on that path. Taking the time to teach my kiddo’s something instead of worrying about the house being cleaned is important. I often feel like teaching my children and spending time with them is unproductive. It feels that way because we can’t see the immediate results, but it is so important. My kids are watching my every move, I want them to see Jesus in me. That is the purpose of motherhood and that is why it matters so much.

If you are feeling like you are in need of a little comfort and purpose in motherhood, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Why Motherhood Matters. You won’t be sorry!

Letter to Kina- 3 Years

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My sweet girl, you are three years old today. Three years ago you made me a mommy. You changed my heart and made me a better person. You bring joy to my heart everyday. So much joy I worry I am not a good enough mom to nurture your sweet heart. As I watch you grow, I think I couldn’t love you anymore, yet each day I do. You have such a sweet, kind compassionate heart and truly care for others around you. You have a quite spirit and each day you light up our world with your joyful outlook on life. You are also very strong willed and like to push your limits. At the same time, you know when to give up and know mom and dad are standing their ground. You hold your feelings inside and struggle talking about them with us. I know, I know, you are only three, but you avoid talking about if you feel sad, etc, by saying things like, oh there is a butter fly. I wouldn’t think much about it, except your daddy is pretty much the same way ;). I started telling you when you get sad or frustrated, you come to mommy. Which normally you refuse to do because you want to be independent. So I tell you then you need to ask Jesus for help to calm your feelings and give you peace. The other night you were just having a rough one. You kept crying and whining and I finally sat you in time out for awhile. Daddy got home and you ran to him. He talked to you a bit and you told him, I need Jesus daddy. ❤ Moments like that, despite all the previous whining and crying, make my mama’s heart soar. You are a total daddy’s girl and love him to pieces. I love seeing how excited you get when he comes home in the evenings. You love being like mommy and try to copy me in many things I am doing. I truly believe that more is caught than taught!

Sleeping:

No naps for you. You started fighting them at 2 and were completely done with them by 2  1/2. You go to bed at 7 and sleep from anywhere between 6-8 in the morning. Since having a baby sister, you have been waking up in the middle of the night randomly and crying for us. It’s mostly things like “shut my closet door”, etc. We do do quiet time for about 1 hour each day.

Development: You learned all your ABC’s shortly after you turned two. You have always been so interested in letters, it was something you initiated and we figured we better teach you if you want to learn. After you learned your ABC’s you began asking us to spell things for you. You knew how to spell your name around July, and if we wrote out your name, mommy, and daddy, you could read them. We have been working on what letters say and what words start with what letter. And you obsessively want me to spell many different things.

You have such an imagination and absolutely love mermaids and fairy’s right now. One evening you asked daddy are you Prince Eric? Because I am a mermaid. Oh the things you say that totally melt our hearts. One time as I was doing my morning prayers, you told me “Mommy, you are praying to God. And we will go to heaven one day and play with Jesus and we will be fairies.” You love playing with your Barbies and polly pockets. You recently got a stereo in your room and love listening to your music and singing.

You have been potty trained since shortly after your second birthday, but right before baby sister, and randomly after you have had accidents. You tell me they are on purpose, {sigh}. We also took away your paci the beginning of May. I thought it would be a big fight, but it actually wasn’t that bad. Of course when you saw baby sister with one, you decided you needed yours back. No such luck ;).

You are such a beautiful girl and your heart is made of gold. We couldn’t love you more and we are thankful each and everyday for you my dear. My prayer is you will always keep your tender loving heart and always love Jesus.

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Things I don’t want to forget {the circus}

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People have been asking me how it has been going with two kids. I can genuinely say it has been going really good. I think having one kid was more of an adjustment for me that having two. With that being said, does life pretty much turn into a circus with the addition of a kiddo for everyone else or just us? It’s kind of funny, people start noticing you more when you are lugging a car seat on one arm and holding the hand of an urgently dancing toddler that has to pee with the other. They offer to watch your baby. While I am not comfortable leaving my baby in the hands of a stranger, its flattering.  Everyday I do this whole two kid thing and it can be crazy but it is doable! We also get more comments from older people as well like “I enjoyed watching your family.” Translation, I enjoyed watching your circus ;).

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This weekend was an eventful weekend. Saturday I was trying to get some sewing done, and Loren was making salsa. Kina was very nicely playing in her room. I brought up some more toys for her that were stored in her old potty box. She saw the picture on the box and got it in her head that she needed her little potty back again. I told her no, you are big and don’t need the little potty anymore. After many times of telling her no proceeded by much whining, she finally got quiet again. I figured she was back playing again. A little later in the day I walked by the bathroom to find her little potty sitting in there. I asked Loren, did you go get her potty for her? No. Hmmm, well she apparently took it upon herself to go get the potty out of storage herself. There was toilet paper stuffed in there but I didn’t think much about it. Later I went to wash my hands and as I was reaching for the hand towel I noticed a brown streak on the towel. Hmm, looks a lot like poop to me. I eyed the little potty. Sure enough, as I dumped out the toilet paper out fell some poop as well. Not only did she retrieve her potty she pooped in it and attempted to wipe herself which was an utter fail. I called oh Kina come here….I made her clean it all up and put the potty away while explaining with a very disappointed demeanor why we don’t disobey mommy and do whatever we want. As she was downstairs putting it away Loren and I laughed and said, oh my we can either get mad or laugh because one day we will look back at this and think is is completely hilarious.

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After Saturday’s shenanigans, I decided we should all go shoe shopping and out to eat. Kina is in need of some winter boots, so I thought it would be fun to go as a family. Any other mom’s out there laughing at this brilliant idea?! After I fed Renly we were off. Kina was in no mood to shop which is odd for her so we zoomed in and out of stores. Then we arrived at the restaurant. Not long after getting there Renly filled her pants and of course it was a blow out that got all over her clothes and car seat. I got her all changed and settled and our food came. Of course Renly was hungry so I got out my cover and tried to feed her. It wasn’t working out too well so I downed my food and headed to the van. Apparently when we were getting Renly’s stuff together Kina managed to take off her shirt and proceed to cram corn bread in her mouth like a savage. Loren turns around to find her shirtless in public. Win #1. After awhile Kina decided she needed to sit in the high chair Renly’s seat was sitting on. She proceeded to get stuck and have a major meltdown while Loren tried to free her. People were staring and the waiter came running. Yes win #2. There is never a dull moment with kiddo’s is there?

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As we were leaving I told Loren sorry for the utter fail of an outing attempt. But in all reality it was pretty funny. We looked at each other and said it’s part of parenting and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure it is hard to lug two kiddos around and not create a scene, and sometimes I wonder why bother at all. Maybe it is to give some older couples a chuckle, or maybe it is to give ourselves a chuckle. Either way, we can choose to get annoyed at the kids and vow to never try again, or we can laugh at it and cherish these small years because one day we will be the older couple watching the younger couple with a circus of their own. As hard as parenting is, I don’t want that day to come as soon as they say it does. So I will choose to laugh and cherish these hard but funny moments.

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Is it always easy? Not at all. There are many days I wake up and I am mad that the baby won’t let me sleep all night. I am mad that the toddler is whining. I am just mad and impatient. I try to overcome it with gratitude. I tell myself I am so thankful and BLESSED to be able to nurture these two tiny hearts. God picked me for these beautiful kiddos. Many times it does lighten my mood, but there are the days I fail and yell and mess up. But God gives us moms grace and strength to make it through. He forgives us and I need to forgive and extend grace to my kiddos. When I mess up I remind myself, I am trying so hard and working toward being a better mom. We will never arrive at perfection, but if we keep moving forward everyday, our mistakes won’t hold us back. Parenting is so hard, but so beautiful all at once. My dear friends who are in the thick of it, keep your chin up, you are doing great!

Renly 2 Months

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Sweet Renly-

Two months. How has that happened, while at the same time it’s only been two months?! I am not a huge fan of the first three months of newborns, but you have been so content and happy it really hasn’t been that bad. I feel like with you, the two month mark has felt a lot more normal than all the way to the three month mark. We are still not in a normal routine, but I feel like survival mode is wearing off and a little normalcy is returning. You are so smiley and happy, we love every minute with you.

Eating and sleeping:

You breastfeed like a champ and I am so so thankful for that as it was a major fight with Kina. You take a bottle great as well so I have some freedom whoo hoo! You eat every 2-3 hours during the day. Sometimes I do wake you from your nap at around 3 1/2 hours if you are super tired. At night you stared sleeping until close to 5 in the morning at the beginning of August. It was amazing but Kina was sick during that time so she was up and we didn’t get to enjoy the long sleep. Then when Kina got better you back tracked and woke up twice one night. Now we are at the point where you sleep until about 1 and then we give you your paci off and on until about 3 or four. You don’t really want to eat before that, you are just restless. Not sure how to get past the restless chunk of time but other than that I am very excited about the once a night. You eat pretty fast then fall asleep. You sleep until usually 7:30 or 8 then. You have been sleeping less and less during the day. About 40min to 1 hour naps after each feeding usually. In the evenings however its a few cat naps in our arms off and on.

Development:

You are very alert and look around and study everything. You love laying on your changing matt and talk to us by cooing and smiling. You are so content when you are awake and rarely cry unless you need something. You can almost roll over from your back to your tummy but your shoulder gets in the way.

We love you like crazy little girl. Your big sister loves helping taking care of you. She likes to bring you your blanket, burp rags, paci etc. I love holding you and have held you and snuggled you like crazy. This time around I decided I was going to go with my gut and not listen to every single opinion out there. My instincts have said to snuggle you lots and I am loving it. You lay down for your naps now which makes me sad but you are growing up and I need the time to get things done. You are very content when awake and like sitting in your bouncer or lay on the ground with big sister. You also like laying under your play matt with hanging animals. We are blessed to have you and love you very much little one.

Clothes:

Newborn, but I may be slowly transferring to 0-3 month soon.

Things you are loving:

-Watching your sister talk to you or play.

-Watching mommy and daddy talk to you.

-Laying on your changing matt.

-Smiling and Cooing.

-Your mommy, I can say you are for sure a mommy’s girl and Im not complaining :).

-Being propped up in the boppy pillow.

Things you don’t love so much:

-Being left in a room by yourself.

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Because I Don’t Want to Forget….{Style}

To Kina, my styling lady-

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I love this little blog because it makes me remember. These little years can be so hard at times, but at the same time I never want them to end. In the everyday mundane tasks it is easy to overlook things I never want to forget. So I record them on this little blog so I can look back and smile when my kiddo’s are grown and gone…or tomorrow when I want to hide from all the small hands that are constantly reaching for me and I need reminded how much I love this stage ;).

Kina started going through a stage where she wants to dress herself. Not only the physical act of adorning clothes, but also the mental act of picking out the outfit. All by myself she says. And I sigh because well lets just say, her style isn’t quite what mine is. I act very excited about an outfit I happen to like and she refuses. She decides to instead pull the same outfit she wore yesterday…and the day before….and the day before. You may say she has her favorites. You can guess this is a little hard on this girly at heart mama who adores dressing her little girly…and sewing for her. Sigh she has so many clothes that are so adorable. Yet she won’t wear them. I decided early on however, I need to let her have freedom in this area. It gives her a sense of dignity and independence that I don’t want to squelch.

Before I had Renly, I limited Kina’s outfit selections to the one she chose in the morning. She was constantly wanting to change but I told her no, you picked that outfit you stay in it. After Renly I realized you pick your battles even more now with two kiddos. I decided to let her dress herself as much as she wanted during the day. I would just throw the barely worn clothes in a pile and eventual cycle them back into her drawer for another day. I think the record of outfit changes in one day was 9. It’s these things that really are meaningless and shouldn’t be stressed about, yet at the same time can cause stress, but when you think about it, it is funny all at the same time. I am convinced raising kids is one giant paradox!

Anyway, through the seemingly mundane normal outfit changes I wanted to record it. Because it isn’t mundane and boring. It’s funny and I want to remember all the traits of this crazy girl’s big personality that I love so much. Here are a few pictures of my girls style that will hopefully bring a smile to my face when I look back on them, and a smile to your face today 🙂

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Let’s start with the fact that she used to run around either pant-less or only in her underwear for a couple months.

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One day I was telling Loren, I made her pretty clothes and she won’t wear them! He suggested I let her pick out the fabric the next time I make something. So I gave her the option of about 6 different fabrics that matched the bottom of this dress. She chose the floral. I guess letting her pick the fabric is a win because she refused to wear any other dress to church for probably about 6 Sunday’s. I finally hid the dress for awhile ;).

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I think this outfit may have been worn on the record setting day she changed 9 times. And many times like this shirt, her clothes are backwards.

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There are just some things I put my foot down on. Like making her wear these Sperry shoes. Or some of my favorite clothes. Or another church dress I made her that I absolutely love. I also give her outfit choices when we go out in public since I want her to at least match then ;).

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These pajamas are obviously too little and a bit crazy, but when she started this phase I thought maybe by giving her a dress up tote she would be more apt to let me dress her. Nope, she still wanted to dress herself from her real clothes. She decided she liked these pajamas so they began to get worn around. Loren asked me kindly to hide them from her as well.

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She insisted on wearing bottoms with her one piece on this day.

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I am not really sure there are even any words for this picture ;). Let it speak for itself.

thumb_IMG_8991_1024And last but not least she always is wanting to do what mama does. Some days it seems annoying to take the extra time to let her “be like me” but I have to remind myself I will look back on these moments and regret not taking the time. Every single moment is a holy moment. A moment given to us from God. Am I using it by shining Christ’s light to my daughters or am I rushing through this life and overlooking the seemingly mundane parts of motherhood? I pray everyday I can have a patient, gentle, kind heart to my girls and find the joy in everything and share that joy with my girls.

“Before I Formed Thee…”

View More: http://kaseyrothphotography.pass.us/renley

Photo Credit: Kasey Roth Photography

Having kids is such an incredible blessing. Kids bring so much joy and happiness to our lives. I find myself wondering sometimes how in the world did I do life without my beautiful girls? Before we had Renly my parents in Indiana took Kina for a week. One of the first mornings by ourselves I looked at Loren and said “it’s really quiet. I am thankful that we have time to ourselves and I love being with you, but man thinking about being empty nesters seems kind of sad.” Yes I realize that is a long way away, but from what I hear before you know it your kids are gone.

You get the point, I love my kids very much. But at times I can’t help but wonder, is my desire for kids selfish? I have had this thought off and on for many reasons. One being the world seems to be against Christian values and it scares me what our kids will have to face. Two, there are so many sweet kids out there that need to be adopted by loving parents. Why should I be having kids when there are so many kids in need of a family out there?

Last night these thoughts were flooding my mind. Newborn stage is difficult for me. I am enjoying it much more this time, but it still feels hard. In this stage I feel like I have no purpose when all I do is put out toddler fires and nurse an infant. While I know this isn’t the truth my feelings tell me it is. With the thoughts of am I selfish for having my own kids flooding my mind and the feelings of having no purpose currently, I began to drum up some questions for God in my head.

-If there are so many babies in the world in need of a loving family, why should I have my own?

-I want my own kids because I want them. Am I being selfish in this crazy world to bring sweet innocent children into it?

-If the above two worries are true, what is the point or purpose in my motherhood?

I asked my very smart husband in hopes he would calm my thoughts. He said your point in motherhood is to plant seeds in your kids hearts and point them to Jesus.

ME: “Yes but, what if the above questions are true?”

Husband: “I don’t know, I can’t give you a perfect answer.” (Probably thinking crazy hormonal lady just go to sleep. He was kind enough not to say it).

I let it go, but not in my head. As I sat there asking God to give me a comfort or an answer in the midst of my thoughts, he brought this verse to my mind:

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

God planned each one of us. He knew us before we were even conceived. There are no mistakes. Each one of us has a specific purpose God wants us to fulfill. By saying “I wanted to have my own kids” in a way is telling God I am in control, not you. He didn’t have to grant me the privilege to have my own kids. He could have shut my womb, but he didn’t. He knew both of my girls before I even began to think about wanting kids. He is in control and he blessed us with our two kids to raise and point them to him so they can fulfill his purpose for them. In this there is a great purpose in motherhood. When I take away the question of why should I have my own kids when there are so many in need of a home, I begin to see that each one of us is known and planned far before we are conceived. God’s plan is far above ours. It is my job as a mother to direct my kids and guide my kids to find their specific purpose in Him. When I look at is this way, wow what a huge gift and what an amazing purpose motherhood is. Taming the tantrums and nursing all.day.long begin to take on a new light. I view them as part of the process of raising kids to love the savior who died for us, who planned us, who gave us many talents to use.

As for wondering about why there are so many kids in need, maybe my kiddos will grow up and adopt one of them one day. Maybe you are called to adopt. I don’t know, all I know is all the hurt in the world is because God gives us free will. It’s part of this fallen sinful world. He gives us the free will to step away from our kids and choose drugs. He gives us free will to abort the precious babies. He also gives us free will to raise them up to know him. It is our choice, he doesn’t force anything on us. Each baby is created with a plan and purpose. It’s sin that takes it and skews God’s perfect plan. It’s my job to do the best I can with the blessings he has given me. To not look around and worry what my kids will face in this world but to look at them and show them God’s love. To teach them they are fearfully and wonderfully made and they have a high calling. That wherever they go, whatever they do, if they rely  on God’s strength and not their own they can do anything. (Philippians 4:13).

It’s not my job to worry about these things and to wonder why things are the way they are. God blessed Loren and I with these two kids, I was not the one who took charge and created them. His thoughts are far above my thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8) It is simply my job to raise them up to know Him and thank Him each and everyday for the blessings they bestow on me.