Life as six

We’re almost eight weeks into life as a family of six and it’s crazy how quickly it can seem like a new baby has always been part of your life. Noelle is such a wonderful addition to a chaotic household – she’s been a pretty chill little baby so far and it’s a full time job for me to help save her from the overwhelming love of her sisters (Jonathan is able to be gentle). The kids ask to hold her and feed her and she has never had to tummy time alone even once yet.

We’ve had to adjust our rhythm a few times now and each time brings a new set of tweaks to the existing balance. When we got home from the hospital, we had tons of help. Both of my parents were staying with us, so all 4 kids had plenty of attention. Stephen had almost a month off work, so when our houseguests left and Jonathan returned to school from break, we still had extra dad time. Then, we had to adjust to Stephen being back at work.

All that to say, at this moment, we have a system that is working for us right now. I very specifically said two things that indicate that we know this will change – “at this moment” and “right now.” If there’s one thing parents all over the world know, it’s that as soon as you think you’re getting the hang of something, your kids will have new needs due to constant development changes. I know it’s coming, but I’m going to live in the balance while I can. We have at least two more big changes on the horizon – my return to work and Jonathan’s summer break – so we will continue to adapt.

During this time where I feel like I’ve got some things together, I’ve really been enjoying doing a few things that I don’t normally feel like I have the bandwidth to do.

  • I’ve been “meal prepping” some healthy breakfasts for myself. Just a weekly batch of egg muffins, but grabbing something with protein first thing is helping to start my days off with some energy. Plus, it’s probably wise to have something other than just coffee before lunch while breastfeeding a baby and trying to get in workouts.
  • That’s the second thing – workouts. I’ve been using our Peloton for almost 3 weeks now postpartum. I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned it on the blog, but we got it as an anniversary gift last April and by the time it was delivered in May we had found out I was pregnant. It’s been fun to see how different I feel using it not being pregnant and hitting PRs is happening pretty often considering I’m competing with a pregnant lady – haha! Right now I’m able to get up at 6:00-6:15 in the morning to fit in a workout while Noelle is asleep and Stephen is still home before work to get the older kids going (they wake up between 6:30-7 most days)/listen for Noelle in case she wakes up while I’m going. I keep things as streamlined as possible to make it happen – I sleep in my workout clothes, my airpods are on my bedside table, and all I have to do is stumble the 12 or so feet down the upstairs hallway to the office/home gym/future nursery. I just started the Beginner Strength training program this week to incorporate more than just the cycling into my routine and so far I’ve really enjoyed both. It’s nice to start the day out with the only alone time I have with 4 kids and then come downstairs to the mayhem + coffee afterward.
  • Actually keeping up with the dishes/laundry. I know this one isn’t that much fun or exciting, but I’m a big procrastinator with housework because when I’m working and momming full-time that’s what gets pushed. I’m currently trying to do laundry every other day or so to avoid the marathon sessions every weekend. Having less quantity seems to be helping me to actually get it out of the dryer and put away in a timely manner (so far) so I’ll take what successes I can get.
  • Random fun things like dropping by and seeing Joanna and the girls in the middle of the day (my girls live for cousin time, Abigail asks if we are going to see them every single day), dropping by the office for a special event and lunch with Stephen, and listening to some books on Audible/trying to read actual books. Leaving the house with four kids is a lot, so while I have fewer restrictions on my time I’m enjoying the little things that seem less overwhelming when I’m not trying to fit it in between so many other things.

I wanted to touch on something I already mentioned: workouts. Right now, I’m just doing them and enjoying them for what they are. I’m not putting any pressure on myself to be part of the “snap back” culture that attacks every woman who bears a child. I think it’s super unfair the way women are expected to return to a specific look the moment they give birth and I truly believe we should never think about snapping back, but instead snapping forward – propelling yourself forward to the new, different version of your healthy self. A body that has made a baby (or four in my case) will be different forever and women need to be given grace both by the world and themselves to start where they are now and keep the priority on feeling good and working towards health. Every kind of health – physical, sure, but also mental health and emotional health. Knowing that I’m done being pregnant forever this time, I’m focused on how I want my body to feel and look long term. I won’t be undergoing any more planned massive body changes, so I can take my time to find my new normal and the healthy processes by which I want to get there.

I’m planning to take Jonathan’s 8 year old photos, Hannah’s 2 year old photos, and Noelle’s 2 month photos soon, and at that time I’ll do my first Rabon Fab Four update with all the fun things that the kids are up to. Abigail is a total ham so she won’t mind getting a non-milestone photo taken for the post – in fact I’m pretty sure she will ask for them.

For now, here are a few pictures from the last few weeks because honestly, that’s what we’re all here for 🙂

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