Having a newborn always gives me time. . . With every feeding, I must stop what I'm doing and focus my attention on my baby, which gives me time to think, pray, weigh matters of my heart . . .  or just stare at all that cuteness. :)

One thing I noticed about Baby J is the way he has a "total body reaction" to everything.

When the kids scream too loudly, he shakes and startles from head to toe.
Some times he's crying and upset--arms flailing and legs kicking. But when I speak to him sweet, soothing words, his body goes still, he quiets himself, eyes wide, taking in the sound of my voice.
Then when he's hungry and needs to be fed, as soon as he begins to suckle, his face is intent, he clenches his fists, and straightens his legs out, spreading his toes.

He takes it all in and has a total body experience.
Watching him makes think of this:
"Assuredly, I say to you,
whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child
 will by no means enter it."
-Luke 18:17
And then I begin to think, how do I experience God and His Word? Am I merely letting it brush my lips, barely tasting, hardly experiencing? Am I distant, walking away unsatisfied and unfulfilled?
Or do I drink it in, down to the last drop? Am I letting Him wash over me and letting His Word flow through me, head to toe? Am I experiencing Him fully, so I come away completely satisfied, yet waning more?
May I receive the Lord--may I receive His Word, His will, His love, His healing, His correction, His way, His guidance, His protection. May I receive Him fully, allowing Him to cover completely--a total body experience.
Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them;
but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them;
for of such is the kingdom of God.
-Luke 18:15-16

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No Idle Bread

It feels like years since I've done a "Music Mondays" post. But after my quiet time this morning, this is the song the Lord laid upon my heart. Whenever I play this song around the house, everyone quiets to listen and all of us end up singing along at some point. Even the 16mo. old stops all of his busyness to listen. :)

Such a beautiful song to usher you in to worshiping our great and might God!!

Great and Mighty

by on Monday, April 22, 2013
 It feels like years since I've done a "Music Mondays" post. But after my quiet time this morning, this is the song the...

He's 4 weeks old already. We have enjoyed his presence in our family life and are so grateful for Baby J.
Baby J @ 4 weeks old
I've tried to be intentional about reflecting each day over this little one. My blessings, my joys, my sorrows, my struggles, my triumphs--it's all there, even within in such a short amount of time. But of course, the good outweighs the bad. . . .and again, I am grateful to God.

Having a newborn is a great teacher; a new little one tests a Mama's patience and endurance in many ways, shows her how much love she does have to give; reveals how much help she does need. Many lessons I've learned from my other children; and for some, it's taken me 5 children before I really "got it"! Here is what having a newborn has taught me, in no particular order:
  • Sleep does occur again. . . at some point! Don't stress out about it because it WILL happen again. Try not to let broken sleep (or the complete lack thereof) rule your thoughts. Try not to focus on it. Just know that EVERY mother has experienced a period of "not sleeping" at some point in her mothering. You are not alone.
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. That one is as old as dirt, but I didn't always do it. Now, lesson learned! Especially with 5 kiddos! Since I have my husband home with me for a few weeks, I take about 2-3 naps during the day, when the baby is sleeping.

  • If people offer to help you, let them help you!! So what if they don't cook, clean, or sweep like you do?! Let them help. In other words, my husband has been making breakfast while I take a morning nap and yes, DONUTS were on the menu TWICE this week!!! (LOL) My kids are thrilled and fed while I'm inwardly wincing at the idea of no fruit or yogurt.  **I'm still working on this one, Ladies!! Pray for me. :)**
  • Take time to stare at your newborn. . . for at least a good 5 minutes at a time. Those tiny features change so quickly. Enjoy the baby, breathe him/her in!
tiny feet
  •  It's perfectly fine to spend days at a time in PJ's. You're a recovering mama so wear what is comfortable. Depending on your birthing experience, you may not be up to getting dressed every day. Rest and recover comfortably.
  • Drink lots of water, whether you're breastfeeding or not. It helps to flush your system and keep infections at bay during recovery. I have a water bottle that I take around the house with me.
  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamin. . .this has helped me this time around with my energy levels, even if just a little bit. I didn't stay committed to taking it after my other pregnancies, but I'm making an effort to continue with them.
  • Assign older children a few new duties. Having 2 babies about 15 months apart really showed this mama where I could stand to delegate responsibilities to my older children. For example: I watched my girls (who are my oldest children) make lunch while I fed the baby. Their lunch menu: sandwiches, graham crackers and jell-o! :) They are also doing their own laundry (with supervision). Even small things like getting the mail, setting the table, or collecting items to be recycled can help tremendously.
Baby J with one of his big sisters, TM
  • Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him for advice for EVERYTHING. I mean it.  My mom says all the time to "pray in specifics." God knows your specific, unique situation and every thing you need. Ask Him about all the details--the best formula to use, the best breastfeeding technique, co-sleeping, rocking, diaper changes, fussiness, late night feedings, sleep deprivation, bath time, colic, crying, room-sharing. . . whatever may be troubling you, whatever you can't seem to figure out--ask God. He is faithful to His children and that includes a weary mom who wants to do what's best for her new baby.
  • Keep the house noisy. . . kind of! Since my baby is joining 2 parents, 4 siblings, and 2 dogs, there is hardly a silent moment in the house. Baby was used to hearing theses noises in some fashion, from the womb. Trying to keep things absolutely silent all of the time when he is sleeping is a bit unrealistic. So while I encourage the kids to lower their voices during nap times, I do not require total silence. Plus, I've learned that the baby appreciates a bit of background noise when he's sleeping.
  • Mama's attitude STILL sets the tone in the home. In other words, having a newborn isn't an excuse to be nasty because you're sleepy, frustrated or in pain. (Ahem--again, pray for me Ladies. Some of my lessons have to be revisited when I've flunked!) When I'm gentle, when I calmly express my feelings, when I give a soft answer, when I offer a sleepy smile, my family responds so sweetly. But when I lay it on thick, griping and complaining, it just adds stress to the atmosphere. In particular, it stresses my husband, who is already dealing with his own concerns: my wife is in pain because she birthed my child into the world; is she healing well; I'm lost amidst the dishes and laundry and diaper changes; I still have to work and provide and protect and lead; is the baby doing well; are the other children okay; am I doing mom's duties well when I help her. Quite frankly, having a newborn isn't all about the wife. The Husband is effected, too and "extra attitude" from me doesn't help him. Realizing this has helped our days go so much more smoothly. Keep the attitude in check.
  • Change things up a little. Sometimes doing the same things over and over can get dull and dreary, especially when you're tired. Just a little bit of change goes a long way. . .particularly after you've changed the 14th diaper of the day and you're on your 10th feeding. Some of my remedies have been: play outside with my older kids for a few minutes, snapping a photo of my daffodils, putting on earrings (yes, even if I have no place to go!), changing up my hairstyle (like adding a bright colored scarf), going to lunch with the family at a near-by "mom & pop" restaurant that's not too crowded, going on a drive with the family with no particular place to go--just getting out of the house.
my daffodils

My daughter took this pic. See the earrings and scarf. . simple right?
I have no where to be, but the change brightens my day!
  • Stay in the Word. Confession: I didn't always do this when my older children were newborns, telling myself that I just didn't have the time. Reality: I should always have "time" for the Lord, since He's the one who has given me time in the first place. While an extensive, intense Bible study probably won't be on the "to-do" list during the newborn phase, God's Word should still be a priority. Even if it's just for a few moments, trust me, it makes a big difference. Ways I've been able to get the Word in: take advantage of the help I have and right before one of my naps, I'll read a bit of my Bible, make use of online Bible websites (www.biblegateway.com), join an online Bible study with Ladies who help keep me accountable, continue Scripture memory with my children which takes just minutes each day, MUSIC--listening to my favorite Gospel and worship songs brings me in His presence.
I'm sure there are other lessons I'm learning but I'm too foggy-brained to remember them now. :) So to the other Mama's out there, what has having a newborn taught you?

What Joy Is Mine

My Joy-Filled Life

Lessons from My Newborn

by on Friday, April 19, 2013
He's 4 weeks old already. We have enjoyed his presence in our family life and are so grateful for Baby J. Baby J @ 4 weeks old I...

Hello Ladies!!! It seems like it's been forever since I've been in my blogging space.

In case you missed it, my baby boy was born on March 21st and we are blessed beyond measure!

Smitten. . .

Father and son
My labor and delivery was such a blessing. After having done this 4 times before, this was by far my most favorite delivery because it was SO quick. My water broke a little before 3:30am--that was the first time my water broke naturally; what a strange feeling!!! I was lying in bed trying to get back to sleep after going to the bathroom. Just as I dozed off, I felt a sudden "gush," sat straight up in bed and said, "Uh-oh!" My husband's response was, "Zzzzzzzz!" LOL! I woke him up, called the doctor, and we got going. Contractions began to come about 10 or 15 minutes later.

We arrived at the hospital between 4:30 and 4:45am; traffic was great (we beat rush hour!). We got a really good parking space which was a blessing because by this time I could barely stand up straight during a contraction. After all the hospital admissions formalities (getting an I.V., question after question, wrist bands and the like), I was in PAIN!!!!--and I was 6cm dilated. This was the most vivid labor pain I'd had since my first child was born (10 years ago!!).

I asked for an epidural and it took some time for the pain to subside. By this time, it was about 7:30am and I was able to catch a snooze. Around 8:15am or so, the nurse checked me and I was 9cm
so, she paged my doctor. By the time the doctor came, it was time to push. After about 10-15 minutes of pushing, my little one was born, at 8:48am.

Baby J
8lbs. 2.5oz

About 5 hours from start to finish!! I am so glad about this. Because it was faster this time, there were certain procedures I didn't need for very long and some not at all. That alone has greatly effected my recovery for the better and I am so grateful.
***I recounted how long I was in labor for all of my children and you'll see what I mean:
TM (8yrs)--23 hours
SJ (10yrs)--21 hours
JR (5yrs)--17.5 hours
JD (15mo)--17.5 hours

This is just a portion of the ways in which God blessed me to deliver my son--the rest I will treasure in my heart. Just know that He is a mighty God, One that pays attention, even to the smallest details that make a big difference in a mama's heart.

I can't believe he is 2 weeks old already!!! On the one hand, time seems to fly. On the other hand, Baby J seems to have been in the family FOREVER. It is amazing how God knits together the hearts of a family. . .we can't imagine life without him. Here are some pictures from the first 2 weeks. . .

6 days. . .finally keeping his eyes open here and there
He likes to be swaddled and sleep in the "boppy" pillow.

1 week old. . .in the new outfit from Grandma (my MIL)

My mom (Abuela as the kids call her) is here with me.
Because of her, we have an extra set of hands for. . . .

This little guy (JD). Don't let that gorgeous smile fool you.
He does things like. . . . 

Check on his baby brother when he thinks we're not looking! :)

Pic at 2 weeks old.
Baby J making one of his MANY funny faces.
He also has complete sound effects to accompany them. Hilarious!
Especially at those middle of the night feedings--he makes me giggle.
Thanks again to those of you who have encouraged me along the way, and have called my name out in prayer before the Father. God is gracious.

My Joy-Filled Life

2 Weeks Old: My Story

by on Saturday, April 06, 2013
  Hello Ladies!!! It seems like it's been forever since I've been in my blogging space. In case you missed it, my baby boy was b...
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