5 Ways to Stay Sane with a Newborn

My sweet, sweet baby turned six months old on Monday. What??!? Guess that means my husband and I survived the infamous “newborn phase.” (Yes, she is six months old and we just consciously realized we’re out of the newborn phase) I have to say though, we have a most easy-going baby, but there was still a challenge with a brand new little one in the house. There are times when you’re sleeping in 20 minute increments, you have to adjust your ears to a brand new decibel of sound, and then you are, of course, recovering from bringing an actual human being into the world. It gets exhausting QUICK and it’s the perfect recipe for a total meltdown. Thinking back over those early months though, I feel that I kept my sanity (most of the time, at least). Here are 5 things that helped keep me sane:

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(1) Get ready everyday, makeup and all, well at least some of it (i.e. some days this was just foundation for me) Also, yoga pants count as an outfit if you put on shoes or earrings, bonus points for both.

(2) Put the throw pillows back, if that makes you feel like you have your life together, do it. During the day the throw pillows in our living room would get disheveled. Every. single. night. before I would go to bed I would put them back in place. It took like 7 seconds, but made me feel like the living room looked neat and tidy again (even when there were 83 other things that were out of place)

(3) Do what works FOR YOU! Reassure yourself and reassure yourself and reassure yourself that you’re doing the right thing. Why? Because you are! You were made to do this, you have all the innate maternal instincts you need. Stop worrying about what your friends are going to think or what your mom is going to say. As long as your baby is happy and healthy, keep doing what works for you and your family.

(4) Seriously, sleep when the baby sleeps. So many moms tell me that this is an impossible thing to do, almost a cruel suggestion. My daughter is six months old and I still do this some days. Given, I am a stay-at-home mom, but a lot of mothers that are still claim that this is impossible to do. If I am deliriously sleepy there is no amount of dishes or laundry that’s going to keep me from getting at least a 20 minute cat nap.

(5) Smile. Especially when they’re crying. (Or you are!) It changes your mindset. Those babies aren’t trying to drive you insane; they need something and know you’ll be able to provide it. They trust you and don’t even really know what that feeling means just yet. So smile. And remember, they aren’t going to need you forever. Not to this extent at least. These moments of need are fleeting, try your best to appreciate them.

 

Good luck mamas, you’ve got this!

Are you navigating the newborn waters right now and have something to add?  Or are you reading this as a seasoned veteran and know that there is definitely something I need to add to list?  I’d love to hear what you have to add!

 

 

Soaking It In

I want to cherish this moment forever. I don’t want to forget a thing.

I just finished nursing you, it’s what we do before you take your morning nap. You are still in your pajamas because instead of getting ready for the day this morning we cooked breakfast for everyone. Your pajamas are pink with white polka dots. I can hear the dogs next door barking, hoping they don’t startle you. Someone is on the phone in the next room and I can hear Onyx’s claws on the hardwood floors downstairs. It is in the 60’s today. The sun is shining and barely sneaking in your closed blinds, making your room so peaceful. Your sound machine is playing the sound of waves crashing, making the room even calmer.

When you finished nursing, you woke up, but I wasn’t ready for the whirlwind of the day to begin. I sat with you in the chair longer, honestly not expecting it to last. Then you did the sweetest thing, you laid your head on my chest. Your right hand rested on my shoulder, ever so slightly clutching my shirt. The warmth of your body on mine made my eyes heavy with relaxation. I thought you must be sleeping, but stealing a glance at your face your eyes were open, you were honestly just cuddling with me.

It’s hard to believe you’ll ever be so big that you won’t fit in my arms anymore. I can’t believe how quickly these last six months have gone. I am so excited to see the girl you are becoming, but so deeply wish some days that you could stay just the way you are. I steal a glance again and you’ve dozed off to sleep. I notice that your hair is filling in and I can see tiny veins on your eyelids. There’s a prominent vein that shows on your nose as well. I wonder if it will stay and hope if it does that you won’t resent it. It’s a beautiful little feature, unique to you. I stare at your eyelashes, almost wanting to count each and every one. Your flawless lips are open just a tiny bit and an occasional grunt comes out of them as you soundly sleep.

I want to stay here forever, but know you’ll soon wake. Our day will officially begin, we can’t put it off much longer. There are things to be done and when you nap I normally lay you in your crib, but right now I just can’t.

Right now I am just soaking it all in.

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The Things I Found in My Vacuum Today

You should know you’re in for an interesting read just because of the fact that I’m able to write an entire post about vacuuming and the interesting contents I collected after doing so. Gosh that’s a sad sentence. Now before you get to the list though, let me preface it with the fact that I am no housewife. I mean I technically am a housewife, but I totally suck at it. My husband was obviously not trying to find a trophy wife when he settled for me. I can not cook. If I do make something worth eating it was because there was a very detailed recipe, and even then it will take me twice as long as the recipe says. The kitchen will also be a disaster of momentous proportions approximately 8 minutes into the process. Like pasta sauce on the ceiling type mess.

I also do not clean. Not in a snotty way, it’s just that it always falls to the bottom of my to-do list, which let’s be honest, no one ever gets to. I don’t dust because I’m normally holding the baby and gross. I don’t vacuum because I’m normally holding the baby and the vacuum is heavy. I don’t sweep because I’m normally holding the baby and that’s pretty much impossible to do with one hand. So, obviously it’s the baby’s fault, but who’s going to blame her? With her recent her however, I have decided that of all chores, I just can not skip vacuuming anymore. We have two dogs and I shouldn’t be cringing when I lay her on the carpet to play. (I mean I lay her on a blanket but what mobile baby stays nicely in one spot on a perfectly clean blanket)

So today I plopped her in her Moby carrier and got to vacuuming (Shhhhh, I conveniently left out the fact that I have a carrier with all those reasons I couldn’t clean). Oh boy, the discoveries I made after vacuuming! Apparently I don’t vacuum quite frequently enough (at all!) because when I finished and was dumping out the contents I found:

Dog hair

The pieces of 3-5 seashells

Confetti (Yup, still cleaning up confetti!)

Dust and dirt

Dog hair

Red string

$100 (Yea right, I wish!)

Black string

My sanity (Couldn’t believe it; a little of it came back just knowing the carpet was so clean!)

Plastic (Like the super thin, static electricity ridden, never all gets in the trashcan type)

Dog hair

An entire adult sized sock (You can’t make this up!)

And a little more dog hair

 

I know I can’t be the only less than mediocre housewife out there. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever found when vacuuming/cleaning?

The Difference a Year Makes

IMG_9983A couple days ago marked one year from when my husband and I announced our pregnancy.  It was such an exciting time as this was our first child. I went overboard, of course, scheduling a professional photographer, pinning a zillion ideas, and planning a perfect photo shoot. Other than the fact that we were excited, it just made the pregnancy so much more real to share it with the world. I sat here the other night looking at pictures from that photo shoot and realizing just how much has happened (and changed!) in the past year. It has been an absolute whirlwind, but so very incredible. It is truly amazing what can happen in one year’s time.

This past year I have experienced the last six months of pregnancy, labored and birthed my first child, a daughter, and watched that new daughter, completely dependent on me, grow into a free-willed little lady just shy of her half birthday. And I have loved every. single. moment.

This past year I have felt sheer happiness and complete fear in a single breath, more times than I can recall.

I have felt empowered and helpless. A lot. Thought those feelings would be over once childbirth was, but I quickly learned that that’s always how you feel as a parent.

This past year I have grown an extra set of ears, another backbone, and had my heart triple in size.

I have cried more tears of happiness than in my entire life combined.

This past year I have pulled strength from places in my soul I didn’t even know existed.

I have slept less, smiled more, and contemplated my sanity a time or two (or three).

This past year I learned the true meaning of bliss.

This past year I have grown closer to God than I knew was humanly possible.

This past year I have been given the role of “Mother” and will never be able to make a long enough list of how truly amazing that title is.

Although all these things happened to me in the past year, reading back over it, I think many of them happened the second I laid eyes on my daughter. Nothing compares to the sight of that perfect little person that you so anxiously wanted to meet, yet so truly and deeply knew all along.

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I loved being pregnant, but having her here is just amazing. To watch a person grow and develop day in and day out doesn’t compare to many other things you’ll witness in your life. Below are pictures from our pregnancy announcement last year (done by the incredible Cynthia Tenney) and photos I shot the other day at the park (hallelujah for a 70 degree day in the winter, even though it was the worst time of day for photos!) I can’t help but smile thinking of how much we talked about what she’d be like to only be so very wrong; she’s so, so much more incredible than we ever could have imagined.

Baby McKinney, now known as our sweet daughter, Adalynn.

Announcing with a handmade Sweethearts® candy; Adalynn’s Sweethearts® candy plush.

Our sweet babe wearing the onesie her daddy and I made.

 

Thank you for taking the time to follow along on our journey. Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’ve spent it with the people you love the most. Xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

What’s My Name?

Life is busy. We all know it. We don’t get together with friends and family as much as we like. We don’t do all the things we enjoy because we are “too busy.” Unfortunately most of us end up caught neck deep in the rat race. We have jobs, chores, errands, and even other lives to care for; the list goes on and on (and on). And THEN we focus on life.

“I have to finish my presentation for work and then we can go out to dinner.”

“We have to run to the post office, bank, and dry cleaner and then we’ll see if we have time to stop by.”

“Let me earn one more vacation day, and then we’ll come see you guys.”

We do all kinds of tasks and then life! Life! Life is the good parts, the memory making, the indescribable moments. Life is the vacations, weddings, and get-togethers with the friends and family we love so much, but don’t see nearly enough. THAT is the idea behind this blog space, And Then Life.

I realize, however, there are things day in and day out that need to be tended to. We can’t pretend there aren’t. Let’s learn to make those mundane tasks enjoyable though, let’s learn how to smile and laugh through them! Those “must-do’s” on our “to-do” lists (I’m not the only one that does that, right??) have to be approached differently. What is actually necessary now and what can wait? We are always, always, always going to have something to do. Take the time to live your LIFE instead.

You are intended to do much more on this Earth than check off a to-do list of pointless tasks. That “life” part is what we all should truly be focusing on.

Welcome

Cue the confetti, we’re finally live!

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Welcome to And Then Life lifestyle blog. I am so glad you stopped by!

I have been working, planning, and praying over this space for almost two years. I am so grateful it has come to fruition. I can’t wait to share LIFE with you as it happens to me and bond over stories of how it happens to you.

I am a new mommy and  happily married wifey with a few years left in my 20’s. My husband and I have been married for three years and have a sweet, sweet baby girl (& a small herd of pets).

I am passionate about my faith, love to travel (but don’t do it nearly enough,) and can’t get through the day without snapping a photo of something that makes me smile.

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Thanks so much for checking in on my new venture. I have fallen in love with this little corner of the world wide web, and hope you will too! Feel free to leave some love in the comments below!

{Side note: I highly suggest having a confetti photo shoot at some point in your life. So fun!  I also highly suggest finding someone else to clean up afterwards. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure I may find glitter in my babe’s diaper tomorrow morning!}

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Much love,
Chelsea

To Blog or Not to Blog, That was Never the Question

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In this day and age of technology and social media, blogging has really taken off. People across the world are sharing their most true selves, in all aspects, with anyone that will take the time to listen. Bloggers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and ages with a plethora of different experiences and opinions. They are pastors, artists, couch surfers, students, and people who are just like me. Yet no matter the differences, I find myself drawn to these blogs. I want to learn more about these different walks of life. I am intrigued by the passions that drive their everydays. Because you see, even when the people who are “just like me” have something to say, it is still going to be different than how I would say it. They will explain things differently, they will approach things differently.  There is a reason there are millions of blogs, yet people still continue to read on. Even if the same topic is discussed, no two people are going to take on the subject matter in the same way. That’s what keeps people coming back for more.

I knew as I sat at my computer, nearly two years ago, reading blog after blog, that it was something I was meant to do. There were times during the planning process that I became discouraged. I would be lying if I said I did not. There are so, so many blogs out there. That’s just it though, blogging isn’t a competition. If writing your blog is something you’re enjoying, you’re already successful.

I knew I wanted to have MY WORDS out there – to be read, enjoyed, dissected, and even argued with. I wanted to be part of this community of people from around the world, sharing their lives, sharing their own little worlds. While my life is not overly interesting, my wit is not overwhelmingly charming, and my writing tends to be rambly at times, it’s time I share my perspective of my little corner of the world.

I hope you’ll join me!