Bringing Home Baby: Preparing a Big Sibling


After being an only child for nearly 2 years, bringing a sibling into the mix is a LOT to take in! It definitely shocks a little tot's routine. Liam will be two next week, so at 23 months he didn't grasp that there was really a baby in my belly. Once in a while he would lift up my shirt to see my belly, and even give it a little kiss, but the whole baby idea was definitely not clicking with him. That being said, there were a few things that helped a ton to make the transition as easy as possible for our sweet boy!

1. Have Daddy hold the new baby at the hospital when the toddler arrives. Momma's arms will be free for hugging her first baby. For Liam, it was super important that he could see his Mommy first without the jealousy of having another baby in her arms. I tried my best to talk directly to him as an individual first before showing him the baby. When it came time to met his new sister he sat on Daddy's lap with the baby. We asked him to show us little things "do you see your baby's little toes?" and he would happily point. He lost interest in her quickly, but it was definitely an easy going meeting. We tried not to pressure him when it came to the baby, and he was definitely more interested in unplugging all the important plugs at the hospital. Ha!

2. Have gifts ready from the baby to the new sibling. When we arrived back home after having the baby, we brought a brand new Buzz Lightyear talking doll and Mickey Mouse figurines for Liam from his new sister. He was super excited, and it helped distract him from all the crazy. The toys don't have to be expensive! Just get something that would be an exciting little treat.

3. Have someone (if possible!) at the house to spend time with the new sibling or holding the baby so they have one-on-one time. For us, this was my mom. Liam LOVES his grandparents so having my momma there to spend time on him (or hold the baby so Joe or I could) was invaluable. It helped the adjustment immensely.

4. Read lots of books prior to the new little one's arrival. We found a couple Big Brother books on amazon that were great for our little guy. We read them for months before her arrival and always made it a point to call him the BIG brother. One of our favorite was I Am a Big Brother. This was the one Liam always came back to and loved to read again. When she arrived, I saw him doing the things he remembered from the book. He brought me diapers, he helped say "shhhhh" while she slept. It was a great book for young toddlers to grasp.

5. Go at your child's own pace. We didn't force Liam to do anything he wasn't ready to do. We didn't make him hold the baby for pictures (even though I totally wanted to!) and we didn't force him to interact with her. After a couple days he was begging to hold her and would even give her kisses! He LOVES his baby now.

6. It's an extremely easy time to lose your temper, so keep a close eye on your own attitude during this time. I know my toddler became SUPER sensitive during these first few weeks, so I had to be super aware of my tone of voice and reactions to misbehavior.

7. Most importantly, give grace. Give grace to your toddler, and give grace to yourself. Emily Ley has an incredible quote that I absolutely love: I will hold myself to a standard of GRACE not perfection. These first few weeks can be tough. It's an adjustment for everyone in the house. Toddlers wear their emotions on their sleeves. They may show this in acting out or becoming incredibly emotional. Give grace in these times. Don't beat yourself up in your less-than-pretty moments. You'll have lots of them, and lots of crazy postpartum hormones are not going to help. Do your best, and forgive yourself when things don't go so well.

As a parent, don't let it bring you down if your child isn't as excited as you would have hoped! They will adjust, and time is the best fix. Just keep an encouraging attitude and try to be positive with them. It's a huge change to bring a new baby in your home. Give yourself some slack, and enjoy these moments. Chances are you are doing a lot better job than you give yourself credit for.

Kate's Birth Story


Basketball season is a terrible time to be pregnant as a coaches wife. Every time he left on the bus for an away game (some over 2-3 hours away!) I had a sinking feeling I was going to go into labor. I remember Joe telling me about one game he HAD to go to, so I was not allowed to go into labor that day. Ha! Sure enough, while he was nearly two hours away from home, I felt contractions starting. They weren't regular, and they weren't super intense. They were just enough to make me wonder. Taking care of a toddler during labor, btw... no easy feat!

Joe was supposed to be on his way home from the game, but naturally it was the ONE time they decided to stop and eat. I called him asking where he was at and asked him to come home as soon as he could. I still wasn't convinced I was in labor, so decided to wait it out. I texted my mom asking her to keep her phone on that night. She lives an hour and a half away and we needed her to watch our almost 2 year old. The contractions started getting more intense, so around 1AM I did what any sane, in labor woman would do... my hair and make up. What? I'm pretty sure I did the same while in labor with my son. Pain makes me do really weird things.

At 2am I called my momma and asked her to come. "I don't know if this is for sure labor, but can you come just in case?" She hopped in the car and drove through freezing rain to get to us. I love that woman! Once she arrived she helped me pack and helped push on my back to relieve the pain. I was so thankful to have her there. It was the first time Liam has EVER been left overnight with anyone, and probably the 3rd time in his life we've even left him with anyone more than an hour. Having her there was so comforting. I had a harder time with the idea of leaving him than I did with labor!

Joe and I drove to the hospital around 4AM. Labor compared to Liam's was already seeming like a cake walk. The pain was there, but not the insane back labor I had with my son. I walked into the hospital with my husband from the parking garage and even helped carry stuff in. I kept thinking that they were going to send me home! We got up to labor and delivery and they put us in a great triage room. They checked me and sure enough I was having regular contractions and dilated to nearly a 6. Then came probably the worst part of the whole thing. I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy (more on that in a future post!) and had to get blood taken during labor. That finger prick... man! She took an insane amount of blood for a finger prick. Then she went to insert my hand IV. Holy macaroni. I felt like I was going to pass out. (If you get woozy you may want to skip this!) She somehow hit a weird vein and blood was going everywhere! Literally the floor was soaked in blood. They had to change the sheets, and my poor husband was as white as a ghost. My hand was in pain the entire labor. Even after, I kept begging to get that thing out. Ouch! They put me in a wheelchair to head to my new room. When I arrived I had yet ANOTHER blood draw. By that point I was ready to get this thing over with. Get the needles away. It was time for the shift change and my nurse came in. This woman was an absolute angel. She was like a friend by the end of labor! She made it such an incredible experience and was so attentive to me! I have never had a doula, but I honestly think that's what this woman would compare to. She kept me calm, brought me an endless supply of popsicles, and even rubbed my shoulders. She cheered me on during the hard parts and was so encouraging. Best. Nurse. Ever.

I decided to try for an epidural even though I wasn't going to before. With Liam's labor, I tried, but it didn't take due to my scoliosis. I had to labor with the epidural inserted but not doing anything. It was the worst experience. I was throwing up and shaking. It was all back labor and the pain was absolutely off the charts. At the end of the labor I was so in shock that I didn't even want to keep the baby to myself. I let everyone in the room hold him until I could regain my composure. This labor... it was like a healing experience. I got an epidural, and it worked! It worked perfectly! They even gave me a magic little button to add more medicine if I started to feel too much pain. I'm usually all for doing things as natural as possible, but I have to admit... getting that epidural was the BEST decision for me.

The labor was actually fun! I was laughing and joking with my husband and the nurses, and was able to enjoy the entire experience. I remember getting teary eyed that I actually was able to sit back and take the whole thing in. My doctor and her resident both checked in on me many times. They were the BEST. I had a different doctor for this labor than I did with my son. I can't say enough good about this woman. She was so bubbly and sweet! She was on my side for every decision and never pressured me to do anything I didn't want to do. My doctor came in to check me and noticed that Kate's head was "right there!" She ran out to change into scrubs and the staff started to flood the room. This part happened so quickly! I still wasn't feeling any pain, and was so shocked it was already time! I pushed for probably under 5 or 6 minutes. After the first push my doctor excitedly told me she saw a full head of hair! On the third contraction I went to push and looked up at my husband and started cracking up laughing. I realized my pushing face looked totally constipated and got hit with a mad case of the giggles. Well, apparently laughter works better than pushing, because baby girl FLEW out. The doctors and nurses were cracking up! I literally laughed a baby out. Now that is something that doesn't happen every day! ;)

They put my perfect little girl on my chest and let me hold her before having to test her blood sugar levels. Her levels were a dangerously low 18, so we had to work fast to bring those up. I breastfed her for a couple hours and they just weren't stabilizing. They wanted to try formula but she would't take the bottle. They let me breastfeed again and we finally got her levels to raise a bit. She also started throwing up amniotic fluid and blood. It was terrifying. Thankfully the nurses reassured me that it was normal. They told me that was probably the reason she was refusing to eat. She wouldn't nurse until 9am the next morning! Nearly 20 hours without feeding...they almost had to give her an IV. Girlfriend definitely gave us a scare. It didn't last long though; after that she was pretty much eating nonstop and regained her birth weight by her one week appointment. They discharged us the day after she was born. It was so quick!

She has been the sweetest baby. She LOVES to be worn in my solly wrap or held. She eats like a little piggy and is very loved by her big brother. I am so thankful for our little Kate Elizabeth!

In the words of her Daddy:
"I considered the name Isaac, because she was literally born in a moment of laughter... But...Kate Elizabeth Williams was laughed into this world at 11:56 am on 1-27-16, weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and 20.5 inches long. Mother and baby are doing great, and eager for Liam to meet his new sister. Looking forward to a house filled with even more joy and laughter- praise God!"

Party Prep: A Look back at Liam's first


Peter Pan Birthday

With less than two weeks to go until my biggest baby's birthday, I found myself looking back at his first birthday party. Two things: 1. How on EARTH has it been an entire year? And 2. The whole theme of the party was Never Grow Up. Clearly he decided not to follow through on that. Stinker.

I knew that this party had to involve Disney. More specifically, I knew this party was going to be based around his nursery theme: Peter Pan. So. Much. FUN. This party was an absolute blast to put together.

I worked with a wonderful etsy designer for my invitations-saralukecreations. I'm incredibly impressed with her work and quick responses to my questions. I first saw this invitation design on a post of a gorgeous party by Jenny Keller. Seriously. This party was absolutely amazing. Look at the details!

I ordered the Peter Pan movie on eBay (stinking movie vault!) to play during the party. Random fact This movie was playing while I was in labor! Like... as I was pushing. Between pushes the doctor would turn around and watch. So, it's pretty fitting that it was playing at the party as well.

I loved these hats by etsy designer princessbooksbyjmh. I was going to attempt to make them myself, but then realized, "Who am I kidding... I'm never going to pull that off." So ordering it was. They are super cute. The adults ended up wanting them more than the kids! 

Instead of party bags full of candy, I decided to go a different route. I gave each child a Disney's Peter Pan Golden Book! They were cheap on amazon, and I really love the idea of giving out sweet little books.

We found cute straws and plates to match our "nautical" look. I also stumbled upon the Peter Pan poster I was looking for printed on wood for $14.99 at Meijer! SO cool! 

Last but certainly not least- We had this onesie made (with Liam's name of course!) by the incredibly talented LivieQ

My favorite part of the party was our makeshift smores bar. They were a HUGE hit with the guests, and we will definitely do it at all future parties! The hot dog boats turned out a lot better than I expected, and added a fun touch. 

Now to plan this years party. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one won't be so well thought out. Perhaps I'm just in denial that he's turning two and am putting off planning as much as possible. ;)

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