Amanda and Chris and we’ve both just entered our 3o’s. Norah just turned 4, Charlotte is almost 3and Ada is 8 months old.
I am happily married to my college sweetheart and we’re raising our 3 little ladies in our first home. We are striving to raise our girls to love people and to understand how blessed we truly are. We want our home to be a place where people can come and experience peace, love, and offer an environment that fosters community and growth. Now, with 3 babes under 4, I can’t say that we always do this or create the atmosphere we want. We do, however, want to bless and love others even if that is with 3 babes crying, an overflowing sink and trashcan, and an all you can eat buffet stuffed underneath our sofa cushions:} We feel so thankful to have what we have, to be where we are and to call this life ours.
Occupation? I just finished my Master’s Degree in Counseling and am preparing to sit for my licensing exam. I get to stay at home and homeschool my little ladies by day and also get to serve as a therapist at a local private practice specializing in working with adolescents, women’s issues, family, couples and grief counseling. I feel very fortunate to get to do this! I also get to serve with my husband mentoring youth in our community, which has become a very important role in our lives.
5 favourite things/items?
If we’re talking material things than probably my iphone, iced coffee, a good robe, tacos, and Netflix:D Essential oils are also becoming some of my favorite things.
What are you most passionate about?
I find that my passions birth new passions these days and that all that I am passionate of really affects everything else I am passionate about, if that makes sense… My passion in regards to my faith impacts the for my passion for my husband. My passion for my husband creates a whole new kind of passion for our daughters that we get to share together, my passion of faith and family stirs my passion to counsel and help others. Since becoming a mother, I have also become really passionate about advocating for natural and home birth, birthing options and many topics that go along with natural birth and parenting.
Do you have any hobbies/things you do in your downtime?
I love community and spending time with others. I always joke that I want to live on a commune and spend my downtime baking bread and washing laundry with other moms, but I seriously love being around people and visiting with others whenever I get a chance.. I also really enjoy thrifting, DIY projects and I love a good documentary!
How would you describe your family?
We’re a big ol’ loving, learning, dance partying, food indulging, snuggling, wrestling, music loving, people loving mess:D We are trying to enjoy life and love others without taking life too seriously. We love having family sleepovers in our living room, we often have people in our home, and really just love getting to do anything together as a family. We want to be a family that serves and love others well together.
How did becoming a mother change you?
Oh wow, this is hard to answer. I don’t think there is an area of my life or a part of me that didn’t change after I became a mother. I view the world differently, see people differently, interact with people differently, enjoy and advocate for things I didn’t even know existed 4 years ago. And the love I have experienced, this love that goes deeper and wider than I can explain is well, indescribable.
What’s the best part about being a mother?
Probably it as is simple as the thankfulness I have that I get to be a mother. I love when I look at my daughters and see my husband, myself, our parents and loved ones play out in their features and mannerisms. I feel so much love and redemption when I look at them and sometimes all I can think is, “I’m their mom?!” It’s truly amazing. Every day is different and every day I am learning something new about myself, my daughters and the role of mother. Sometimes I get emotional just saying the word daughters. There was time when I was told having children might not be a possibility for me and a time in my life where the life I have now didn’t even fit into the realm of possibility. The best part of being a mother is just that. I am a mother. Also, as they are growing, watching them learn new things and live out principals we have worked to instill in them is amazing!
Naming your children is always so difficult (or maybe it was just me!) Was it easy to pick your child’s name and why did choose it?
Chris and I love older names. With Norah, I think we had her name picked out within the first few hours of knowing we were pregnant. Norah Grace was just our daughter. She is so much of what we imagined her being like when we named her. We somehow knew that they were girls. We wanted girls, dreamt of girls and just knew with each pregnancy. With Charlotte, (Charlie) my husband had her named before we were pregnant. My husband wanted a little girl named Charlie but it wasn’t until we overheard a mother calling her adorable daughter Reece at a KC Royal’s baseball game that we had her middle name. Our sweet Ada Lynn was the most difficult. We looked at every name book and website we could find and nothing felt right. Then one day, I just saw the name not looking for it and loved it. I had never heard that name before and when I mentioned it to my husband her loved it as well. Lynn is the middle name of my sister Bethany. Her and my father were killed in a car accident 7 years ago and during the time of my pregnancy with Ada, I missed them more than I had before. Something about that year was very difficult and I wanted to use Lynn as a special way to commemorate my little sister.
Has your personal style changed since becoming mother? If so how?
I didn’t know dry shampoo existed before motherhood. Probably I bathed and did my make up a lot more before 3 babes, but I’m working on it. I try to stick with a few simple staples. I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 5 years straight so I try to dress comfortable and in clothing that has easy leche access and can be worn with a fluctuating waist line. My wardrobe is made up of skinny jeans, leggings, ankle boots, boyfriend tees, sweaters and cardigans. My make up & hair routine is simple and I try to wear something that can be worked in, played in and spit up on… I would live in a robe if I could though!
Is there anything about motherhood that has surprised you?
Probably the fear and guilt that I have experienced with motherhood. I always imagined the rainbows and butterflies side to motherhood but I never imagined the fear and guilt that I have had to work through so many times when my babes are sick or hurting or I feel like I can be doing better as their mom.
Favourite thing to do as a family?
I can’t help but smile as I answer this. I love getting to spend time as a family more than anything! We enjoy piling up on the couch with blankets and watching a good movie, making and eating meals together, spending time walking downtown and in coffee shops, swinging at the park, having dance parties in our living room, lots and lots of dance parties here. The girls have started to express how much they enjoy eating out and it’s so fun watching their manners and how they interact with people when we go out. Even if we’re just going to the grocery store, it’s so much more enjoyable when we are all together. Our 2 & 4 year old get so excited for just about everything and they always ask, “Can we do it as a tamily?” We really just enjoy getting to be together whether it’s an exciting trip or a mundane drive around town.
What has been the most memorable moment for you in motherhood so far?
A few things stand out. The birth of all three of my daughters and that moment I saw their faces for the first time.. Getting to say their names in their ears for the first time, hearing their first cries, holding their hand and kissing them for the first time… Looking into my husbands eyes for the first time after we welcomed each of them and knowing he too was experiencing the same joy right there with me. Here come the tears… I got to pull Charlie and Ada out myself as I had home water births with them and that was probably the most incredible sensation I’ve ever experienced. I’ll never forget that moment Norah was laid on my chest as it was amazing, but I enjoyed the experiences of labor much more while in my home.
What are some baby essentials every new mother needs?
A good support system. Friends who know what she’s experiencing and can encourage her with all things new that she’s experiencing. Material things that I have found beneficial are a natursutten pacifier and safe clip so you aren’t frantically looking for a pacifier whenever they drop it, a couple nice swaddle blankets, easy access clothing, a good moisturizer for momma and baby. Our midwives helped us out and prepared a little basket full of arnica oil + olive oil as a moisturizer and multi purpose miracle oil, diapers, wipes, nasal aspirator, extra clothes, socks, hats, basically anything baby and I would need so that wherever we went, that basket and necessities were right there with us. This was so helpful!
I have worn all of my babies so a good wrap or sling as well. I have really enjoyed my Solly wrap and Elbebabyaz ring sling.
What are some of your favourite shops/websites for baby wear?
Oh man, I thrift the majority of my daughter’s clothing, but I have a long list of favorite Instagram shops that I would be happy to share. Thelittledesignco, Myrtle&Mac, PetiteCoo, Fin&Vince, Shoptherabbitandfern, Littlecottonwood, lovedbaby, burts bees organics, but there are so many I love! My babes basically live in white onesies and thermal suits because they’re super affordable, comfortable and adorable!
What is the one thing you want to teach your children?
To serve and to love others and to be glad even when life is hard. We recently started watching the remake of Cinderalla over and over and the line that my daughters repeat after watching it is, “Have courage and be kind”. I love that. Be courageous and be kind and there truly is some kind of magic in this. I believe that the way we react to situations has an impact on those around us and that can be positive or negative. I know that my daughters will not be able to avoid difficult seasons in their lives but I want them to be able to react to those seasons in a way that encourages joy and hope in those around them. I want them to choose to see the good even when the bad is really bad. We are teaching them that kindness can often be as simple as if you like someone’s shoes, compliment them. Be sincere in complimenting but kind words and actions can truly change people. My daughters recently commented on how cool they thought my squishy belly was so we’ll work on the propriety of their complimenting more as they mature:D
Have any advice for newly mothers/mothers to be?
Enjoy every second. Enjoy the discomforts that may come with pregnancy, the pain that may come in labor, the cries of your newborn, the diaper changes, the messes, the sleepiness, the lack of bathing, the hot mess that you might be for a while:D Enjoy all of it. Choose to be glad in it. People always told me their kids grew up and life went by so fast and I would chuckle and think, maybe for you it did”. But as I look at my little girls who I know were just babies, I can’t believe how fast the time has passed and I can only say savor every second of even the hardest days. Also, invest in some good coffee, a cozy robe, dry shampoo and remember to love yourself. Motherhood teaches us so much but don’t let any part of it rob you of your joy and the joy that motherhood should be.