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    Dear Eisley (four months)

    Dear Eisley,

    When you were just three days old, we took you to church. It was Easter Sunday, and although my body was achy and exhausted and my milk was coming in, I wanted nothing more than to worship God for the new life we have in Christ while holding you – precious new life in my arms. During the service, still riding high on the lingering adrenaline of labor and delivery and completely enamored by your little newborn self , I thought, “We must have another baby. We need four babies for sure.”

    Over the next two months that feeling changed. Your older sisters starting showing some angst over having a new sibling around, we moved to a new house, you went through the normal newborn stage where you have to be held at all times. The 3am feedings wore me down. There were many tears in our house. I would joke that someone was always crying… sometimes you, sometimes your sisters, sometimes me. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure I could handle more kids. You were a good baby – actually eating and sleeping fairly well – but the sheer weight of having three kids under age four felt too heavy to bear.

    Things smoothed out in month three. We got settled in our new house, traveled a bit as a family, you were consistently sleeping through the night, and taking a bottle easily (after a short strike the months prior). Micah and I began having the conversation again — do we want a 4th child? “Eisley is sooooo sweet,” we’d exclaim as we stared at you sleeping in your crib. “She’s just the best little baby,” we’d whisper over you as you nursed in our bed. Of course, we want another baby just like you.

    Now we are in month four, and our conversation has shifted again. Maybe you should be our last baby, for exactly the same reasons we would entertain having another. You are so sweet. Smiley all day, sleepy all night. You laugh at our antics, endure the aggressive hugs of your sisters, and have adapted just fine to having a nanny and taking a bottle on the days mom has to go to work. You love to be held by dad and fed by mom. You are living up to your name, which means “cheerful.” Maybe we should stop on a good note. The best note really. Everyone says you have to have one hard baby. One that throws you for a loop. You are proving them wrong, sweet girl. You are happy and easy, just like your sisters. Why not stop now and show the world that having a difficult baby may be the norm, but there are beautiful exceptions to that rule.

    It takes a darling little baby to make us waffle like we do. On the one hand, the thought of having a fourth child as happy and chubby as you sounds like a dream. On the other hand, why don’t we just soak in your sweet baby days and then move on to the next stage of running, talking, potty-trained, school-aged children and experience the adventures that lie ahead for our quiver-full of little ladies? Only time will tell, and until it does, we will enjoy this season our baby Eisley-girl. You teach us to savor and yearn, which is what this life is all about anyway — savoring the moment with gratitude and joy while yearning for a Kingdom yet to come.

    All my love,

    Mama

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    New Morning Mercies

    I’m fine.

    Like perfectly fine.

    I have consulted with medical professionals. I don’t have postpartum depression. The hormones have settled. I smile most of the time. I get a decent amount of sleep at night (if you consider six or more consecutive hours decent, which I do).

    Although my kids still cry and whine hourly, I now only cry once or twice a month.

    We get out of the house daily. I exercise at least three times a week. I am back at work and loving my job, as usual.

    Yet, my day-to-day life feels hard. The cooking, feeding, and cleaning feel endless. Whatever structure I had created for rest and alone time with one or two kids is now demolished. The tasks of everyday life feel all-consuming, and they drain every last drop of my patience, strength, and energy.

    For a while I was asking myself, “Why does this feel so hard?” but I think I’ve figured out the answer.

    I’ve never done this before.

    I’ve never been a working mom with three kids.

    I’ve never cleaned a house with three kids in it.

    I’ve never done laundry for three kids or fed three kids or gotten three kids dressed every day.

    I’ve never disciplined a three year-old while trying to teach a two year-old her ABCs while ensuring the four month-old gets adequate tummy time.

    It’s a new level of complexity I have not yet mastered.

    I have never done anything like this.

    And when I think of it like that, I’m actually kind of proud of myself. Because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway. It’s really hard, but it’s getting easier day by day. I wake up each morning and pursue the day with all the joy and strength I can muster. I know I will be spent by nightfall, but I rely heavily on those new-morning-mercies.

    Three kids under four years of age. It often feels like a burden on my back, but instead I choose to wear it as a badge of honor.

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    All the Labor Day clothing deals…

    Lately, when I look in my closet, I realize I’ve been pregnant and/or nursing for nearly five years, and it’s starting to show in my apparel. I don’t have the energy to keep up with the latest trends, and I don’t have the time or strength to go shopping. So over the holiday weekend, I spent way too much time scouring Labor Day sales online, and I bought way too many clothes (many of which I’ll return after I try them on my postpartum body from the comfort of my own home). I want you to enjoy the fruits of my hard work. Stores have crazy sales this weekend (30, 40, 50% off), so I am sharing some of the best items I found. Now you can snatch them up before the discounts end tonight.

    * Side note: All of the stores listed work with eBates, offering between 1-9% cash back on all purchases. I made at least $10 this weekend, simply by clicking one extra button when shopping online.

    A flutter v-neck tunic

    Some fun embroidered shorts

    Trying out some bell sleeves for fall

    A casual peplum tank

    If your man needs dress shirts, these ones are a great fit and quality for a reasonable price…

    Laser-cut sandals on clearance…

    And cute black sandals on super clearance…

    Couldn’t resist these little Mary Jane crocs for the girls…

    And these little jellies were a must for sweet Talitha…

    I have a thing for pretty sweatshirts

    I’m hoping these are the most comfortable dressy pants ever…

    Always looking for feminine tanks to wear to work when it’s hot outside…

    A striped tank that can be dressed up or down…

    And a few more stripes

    I bought this adorable embroidered skirt entirely with rebate money from Ibotta. If you aren’t getting cash back on your groceries, you need to sign up ASAP!

     
    And for those of you who are waiting, I’ll be doing a huge shop-my-closet sale soon on my Instagram account @thecuratedcloest. The postpartum closet purge is real, y’all!

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