Baby Arnold

"Being a mother is truly such a blessing I treasure so dearly.  I have quickly realized that as mothers, our road to motherhood is unique and different for each of us. For some, the road is a smooth sail.  For others, its a road of loss, unanswered questions, and restored hope.  As a mother, I treasure each and every step of each and every day, even the really tough days because what an honor it is that God chose me to be these littles' mother.  If I'm being really honest though, being a mama is hard. Just like our roads to motherhood are different, so is our version of hard.  For me, raising a child makes me press into God even more.  Leaning on him for wisdom, strength, and at my knees sometimes for not knowing what to do.  I have realized that not knowing what to do is okay. It allows room within ourselves to be vulnerable and trust ourselves to go further then we think we can. Being a mama strengthens my marriage because we are a team. We work at this parenting thing together. We pick each other up when the other has had a long day in the muck of dirty diapers and a teething child (or those crazy pregnancy hormones).

When I was expecting with Harlow, I had new-mom-to-be written all over my face.  The anxious heart of what is to come in being a mother. The never ending registry because you have no idea what you might need. Trying to prepare my heart to love a little girl that before she was born was a love I had never known before.  No one can prepare your heart for being a mother. So with this second pregnancy, I feel like I have been more relaxed and really taking in each moment. Taking in each day that I get to carry our baby all while chasing a toddler on the playground or splashing in the water at bath time.  My favorite part of the day is rocking Harlow to sleep because in that moment I'm holding both of them and I know those days are limited.  I don't get near the naps I got with the first pregnancy and every little detail of the nursery isn't thought out, and I have learned that it is okay. As much as I long to know the gender of our baby and hold him or her in my arms, God is teaching me to wait in this moment and treasure each step of the journey.  

I often get asked if I hope for one gender over the other and honestly I don't. Growing up with having a sisterly bond and a brotherly bond was the best of both worlds. The sister that kept all the secrets and the brother that watched over me. The anticipation of knowing the bond and memories that will be made for Harlow and the sweet little one in the days ahead excites me beyond measure.  For Harlow, I cannot wait to see the big sister she will become.  She is such a good listener and helper... and a little bossy at times too (I think she gets that from her daddy). Every age has been my favorite with Harlow, so watching her flourish into being a big sister gives me all sorts of butterflies. 

Lastly, one thing I most defiantly didn't prepare my heart for with pregnancy was the new love and thankfulness for mine and Jamie's parents. Becoming a parent showed a whole new love that our parents had for us.  I always knew how much our mothers sacrificed for us, but it wasn't until I became a mother I truly realized all the love, hard work, and late nights they both sacrificed to help us be the best versions of ourselves.  Being a mama is the hardest, yet most heart fulfilling joy that God has blessed me with. The love I already have for these two babies pales in comparison of the love God has for us.  What a blessing we have." Courntey, mama of Harlow and Baby Arnold

Baby Santiago

"I had no idea I could love a second child as much as I love my first, Veda. My love has grown for these kids. I never thought I would be a mother of two. My husband and I feel very lucky for all our unique opportunities in life. From travel experiences, friends, starting our own business and now the kids. 

My hope for Veda and Santiago is that they love each other. That they are there for each other. It makes me smile to think about it. Veda is already protective of Santi. She mothers him so well. I am in awe when I see her nurture him and I don't want it to end. Please be best friends! 

I love my children. I love my husband. I feel blessed in this life. The only thing I yearn for? Waking up to ocean waves and a sandy beach. I just can't get away from that island dream." Bri, mama of Veda and Santi

Stephanie

"Where to begin? I have been overwhelmed with joy and emotion since the day I found out I was pregnant. After struggling with infertility for nearly three years, and then finding out my husband and I were expecting twins - I could not believe this was actually my life. 

TWINS. 

My pregnancy, and pregnancy in general is the most beautiful, and definitely the hardest thing I have ever endured. I had no idea what to expect, and carrying my two boys exceeded my expectations. It is incredible to see what our bodies are capable of. Every kick, every ache and pain, every glimpse in the mirror at my growing belly is something I will never forget. It’s easy to rush pregnancy, and wish for your beautiful blessings to arrive. But now that my pregnant belly is gone, I look back at my maternity photos and wish I could get it back. Isn’t it crazy? I wouldn’t change a thing though. I am currently staring at my two gorgeous boys, who decided to arrive 7 weeks early, and cannot believe that they made me a Mom. I feel blessed beyond belief! 

And the best part? I get to experience all of this with my best friend. Seeing Chris become a Dad has been so emotional for me. The way he looks at them; when he tells me I did a good job, that I am an incredible Mom. When he thanks me for blessing him with two miracles - what more could I ask for? He has been so hands on, and I am so thankful for that! Bringing twins into this world has been a whirlwind, and having such an incredible husband by my side is more than I could ever ask for. I worried for years that I would not be able to give Chris the baby or babies he longed for. Knowing now that we have our two boys here, I feel complete. And I think he does too. 

This has been such an exciting (and tiring!) time in our life. I cannot wait to watch my boys grow up, and to teach them all of the great things about life. I hope that they grow up to see beauty in all of the small things. I hope they love hard, laugh hard and live hard. At the end of the day, I hope Chris and I give them the best life they could ask for. Quality time and lots of love - that is what I look forward to the most. " Stephanie, mama of Knox and Liam

Landri Gayle

"Before Landri was born, I didn’t think there was a way that I could love another person as much as I love Charlie.  Now that she is here, it’s as if God just opened up my heart to love so much more than I could ever imagined.

I sit here and stare at my two precious girls and couldn’t be happier. I reflect over the past few days and how much our lives have changed. Being a parent is a very humbling experience.  You learn quickly how much you do not know or as with the second child, how much you’ve forgotten.  Time has flown by and it seems like yesterday I was holding Charlie as a newborn and now here she is helping me with Landri and calling her “my baby.”  Charlie’s love for Landri melts my heart and I hope they are always best friends.

My doctor let Jared deliver Landri, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. To say I’m lucky to have him is an understatement.  He has seen me at my best and my worst and still loves me and thinks I’m beautiful (even if I’m sporting these awesome mesh panties from the hospital a week later).  I just love the way he loves us. 

My heart is so full, and I’m so blessed that God has chosen me to be the mother of these two girls. As I stare at Landri and think about how long we prayed for this child, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and how much we need him throughout this entire parenthood process." Lacey, mama of Charlie and Landri

Neva + Shep

"I've never felt so elegant and graceful, and absent-minded and exhausted. He is calm and joyful, with hints of rebellion emerging. I am grateful for his health. I am thankful for the hands around him who love and care for him: my husbands, his grandmothers and grandfather, friends. These people help me be a better mother by not only giving him the opportunity see how others love him, but they embolden me as a mother by allowing me to re-experience a little bit of independence every now and again. This allows me to recharge and be fully present with him.

Motherhood has been one of the most humbling experiences. Each day I am reminded that I have nothing figured out, and I never will. There is endless beauty in this release of control and power, albeit a daily release, but the ultimate acknowledgement that we are not in control, but also not alone - it takes true reliance and resting in faith, along with our "village" and fellow mothers that God has provided, to sustain a job like this. The support for each other, that the women I know have shown me, and that I try to show others has stood out show much in this season. I am so thankful to Sara for drawing this out: the beauty and power of women in their femininity as individuals and mothers. 

I've been on this generously supported journey for a year today and it is the proudest, hardest and most mesmerizing adventure I've experienced on this Earth. Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy!" Neva, mama of Shep