Natalie at 1 week old + her birth announcement

If we went back in time to 26 years ago you’d most definitely find me with my two favorite dolls tucked under each arm. I loved my dolls (loved them!) and wanted nothing more than to be a mommy when I was older. I was also really into painting rocks with my nail polish, collecting Lip Smacker’s, and riding around the neighborhood with a radio bungee-corded to my bicycle, but those are stories for another time ;) What’s important about these memories is the things I enjoyed as a child are still things I enjoy as an adult: spending time on creative projects and lovin’ on my babies. How awesome to be able to experience this.

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Since our little pumpkin, Natalie Rose, was born I’ve definitely got my arms busy with our two babies. Max was just 19 months old when she was born, and although he’s very smart (with a great personality) he’s definitely very young. Each day is a blessed day because I’m spending it with my little loves.

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One of my favorite ways to capture the joy my babies bring me is to keep a baby book for each child. When Natalie was just one week old we gathered all our soft blankets and a Moses basket and snapped some photos of our daughter. She was so fresh from my womb and her legs wanted nothing more than to stay curled up, all cozy and compact in the basket. I love that we captured that in these photos.

natalie rose maggie whitley

One of our longtime sponsors, Pear Tree Greetings, helped us create her birth announcements to share with our family and friends. I know the years when our children are young will go by fast (…let’s not talk about that) so I’m glad to be preserving these years with something tangible for their baby books.

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pear tree greetings maggie whitley

And I need to totally brag about something: this time I ordered our address pre-printed on the back of the envelopes, along with a few extra envelopes for mistakes. Because new moms are often foggy. And sometimes their penmanship is funny looking. Speaking from experience, of course.

And just for fun, here’s Maxwell’s birth announcement from March 2013:

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Do you keep a baby book for your children? Project Life? How do you preserve the dozens of photos you take every day?

(Thanks to Pear Tree Greetings for sponsoring this post. All opinions and stories are uniquely mine.)

Our first three days…

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I’ve finished three days of this whole “mama to two babes 21-months-old and younger” and all I have to say is, “this is so hard.” Like, haaaard. Monday was one for the books, Tuesday was 50% easier, and Wednesday was something I hadn’t experienced yet. We’re all running on limited sleep with missed naps and off-schedules. Max is probably wondering who’s coming to visit next, and Natalie is still figuring things on this side of my tummy ;) Some hours are a piece of cake where as others leave me totally unsure how to do this parenthood thing. But! I know this is what I’ve been called to do. The younger version of me has always loved being a mama, but sometimes no matter how much “play” is had the only way to figure it out is to experience it first hand. Right? So that’s where I’m at. I spent some time re-arranging the nursery on Monday and it’s definitely been a good change for our family. But, I think what our family is lacking is some consistency — it’s been almost six weeks of inconsistent consistency. Today, all I have planned is a morning play date. And I have dreams of a nice, long afternoon nap.

Do you have kids close in age? I’d love so much for you to share with me how you make it all work.

These kiddos, they sure fill my heart to the brim.

Hitting the jackpot.

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One of my favorite things about becoming a mama is the blurry photos that come along with it. Children are filled with wonder and love and a need for closeness. They are fast and intense and pure joy. And when I capture that, even through a blurry photo, my heart grows. Sometimes it’s impossible to be quick enough to catch it all “perfectly”, but imperfect can be perfect, too. I can’t imagine a better gift on this side of heaven than to be blessed with children, especially because I adore my husband so much :) Something I’ve been reflecting on, with all of the down time I have now that I’ve got another nursing newborn, is how quickly time passes by — it really does. I remember so clear the day we brought Maxwell home from the hospital, and now Natalie has been brought home. In a flash they’re two weeks old, six months old, one year old. And in a time where everything “must be documented and shared online for the world to see” I’m finding the greatest comfort knowing my heart holds so much more than any URL ever could. Children are gifts, our dreams are gifts (careers, families, faith) — and when we say yes to pursing these things first is when we’ve hit the jackpot.

May all our photos be blurry, and may we all feel rich, always…

Natalie Rose: our first week at home.

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Natalie turned one week old on Friday and I am in awe over how easy the transition has been for our family. Of course it’s been a whirlwind since we came home from the hospital, but Max is doing super well with his baby sister and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the love he has for her. I can’t put my finger on it specifically — maybe it’s the family we have visiting, how we’ve been talking about “the baby” to Maxwell since he was 11 months old, that we’ve tried our best to keep to Maxwell’s schedule, but the transition has been really beautiful.

When we came home from the hospital, Zack’s parents had decorated our apartment with pink balloons and flowers. And I love that they used a halloween bucket as a vase! It was such a sweet thing to come home to.

Natalie is such a sleepy, cuddly baby. I can’t stop kissing her head as she squishes into my neck. Having her on this side of my tummy with Max by my side feels like home. She’s had a couple of baths and is nursing so well. And maybe it’s become this is our second baby, but oddly I feel less tired. That’s totally normal, right? Haha.

Maxwell calls Natalie either “nana” or “no-ni”, aaaaaaand it’s adorable. You can feel the love he has for her — it shines from his little heart, and I’m so proud of him. I know it’s not always going to be this easy, but we’re taking it day-by-day, acknowledging all of the joys along with the difficulties. I think it’s important to do that, too — recognize both sets of emotions. Because there definitely are a lot ;)

And speaking of emotions: seeing Zack with our children has been just the most amazing thing. I knew he’d be a great daddy from the very beginning. Zack is super encouraging and helpful with all the postpartum “stuff”, I feel so spoiled.

I’ve had a fever since Saturday night and it’s totally put me in bed ever since. Whoooo, it’s time for this bug to go away! I’m ready for a fresh week with my family :) By the way, all of the cute hats and headbands and outfits for baby girls — they are way too precious and fun! We are enjoying shopping for Nat ;)