Thank you all so much for your wonderful questions for today’s Q & A! I’m so excited about this series. It’s a long one so grab a cup of coffee, switch from your phone to your laptop and settle in.
How do you organically incorporate the Word into raising your kids, especially at such a young age?
This is such a great question and one I get really excited about because while teaching our kids the gospel can seem intimidating, it’s wired in us. I think every moment of the day is an opportunity to incorporate the Word. In those first newborn days we pray over them, play worship music and sing to them. Before they could talk, we’d pray with them at every meal, ask them if they wanted prayer for things like boo boos and fears, repeated scripture and read the bible with them every day. Incorporating catechism questions, quick bible verses to memorize and biblical principles of obedience, honesty, asking forgiveness, having faith and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
More than any routine or “thing,” loving our kids and each other the way Christ exemplified will make the largest impact-I firmly believe that. I bend down, look them in the eyes and ask for forgiveness when I’ve been impatient or too angry. It’s not easy and I fail more often than not, but when I tap into the way God loves me and do my best to love them the same way, I know I’m walking this thing out the way God called me to.
For practical tips, you can read my favorite Biblical resources for our kids here!
How do you structure your days?
Our schedule has changed a little bit since the move and we’re definitely still settling in, but our daily routine here is still pretty much accurate! The biggest change to the structure of the day is my early mornings. I workout with my sisters at 6am three mornings a week and O works out with my brothers and brothers in law the other mornings in the week which has been so fulfilling and satisfying.
The fall will bring a slew of changes with homeschooling, Oshiolema’s soccer practice, Keogena’s gymnastics and a new work schedule for O so I’ll definitely update that ‘Day in the Life’ when the time comes!
How do you encourage the bond between siblings?
I’m the third oldest of 7 kids and my parents were so adamant about us being close. We had a family mission statement that included a commitment to valuing and respecting one another. When we would argue, my dad would make us hold hands for hours. We’d be 9 and 7 walking through Disney World holding hands. We’d be seething with anger, both trying to secretly drag the other and squeeze a little too tight until at some point, our anger turned to a laughing fit. (Usually when one of us had to go to the bathroom.) My goodness was it frustrating, but here we are all these years later. 7 kids, best friends.
All of that to say, the endless hours of effort my parents put into emphasizing the importance of our sibling bond shaped me. I found out I was pregnant with Keogena a week before Oshiolema’s first birthday. My first thought was pure excitement, my second thought was sadness. Was it too early? Would Oshiolema feel overlooked? Was it too early to introduce a new sibling? Did we have enough one on one time? Thankfully, Oshiolema was made to be a big brother. When we told him he’d be a big brother, our sweet almost one year old came up to my belly and kissed it. “Bee bee!!” I still have no idea where he learned that, but I do know it was God reminding me He was in control. Keogena wasn’t a surprise to him.
It definitely takes effort when the baby turns into a toddler that wants to play with his toys and knock down his lego towers and color on his things. We are big on teaching apologizing and forgiveness. Treating each other the way they want to be treated. Playing together alone without us. Doing activities that take teamwork. It’s a daily effort and I know they’re only 1 and 3 but I’m committed to this work for the rest of my life!
In the mean time, the book I am a Big Brother, What Brothers Do Best and God Gave Us Two were such a help to Oshiolema and became fast favorites during my pregnancy and in the months after he became a big brother. We still read them every now and then and both kids can’t get enough.
What are your favorite pregnancy products to use?
Pregnancy is so different for every woman and every baby! Both mine were similar in the fact that weeks 6-13 were misery. My nausea was so bad and exhaustion so real I felt like a worthless blob. In fact, that’s how I knew something was wrong in my last pregnancy. In week 9 I felt like myself…that’s not how my body grows a baby. Few things bring comfort or relief-but these are first trimester tried and trues:
These preggie pop drops were able to assess a little bit of nausea when ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger chews or good ol’ mints couldn’t do the trick. My purse ALWAYS has to have at least two of those items in the first trimester. I also loved this tank as my body grew. I devoured books my first trimester, my favorites being this one that made me laugh so hard while also teaching me a ton, the one that was recommended by every celebrity and friend alike that left me with a new perspective on motherhood and this book which O and I read together. It ended up being our guide to two natural labors.
Halfway through week 14 the magic hit. That sweet, sweet second trimester always treated me so well! I didn’t need much in this trimester aside from cute clothes that were comfortable and flattering. After trying everything, this $10 t-shirt was my most worn item. I don’t think splurging on items you’ll wear months at a time is wise, but one place I refuse to skimp is on maternity jeans. I’ve tried SO many. Jeans upon jeans. My favorite pairs have been investment pairs but they’re worth their weight in gold! This pair served me so well, along with this one.
I loved Bio Oil and slathered myself in it all day long but still ended up with millions of stretch marks so sorry ladies, I’m going with genetics on this one.
Also, we used the Bradley Method to prepare us for unmedicated labor and I can’t recommend it enough. You can read my birth stories and other fun baby things here.
What’s your favorite stroller for two kids?
I’ve gotten this question so often that I literally have a note saved in my phone to copy+paste. In the past couple months, two friends have bought one of these strollers because they were fed up with theirs! Here it is. The Bugaboo will always and forever be my favorite stroller. It is so functional and has so many options, plus it’s just the easiest thing to fold up and store. I also love traveling with it because the traveling case pretty much acts as an extra suitcase for us! This is our exact Bugaboo Cameleon 3, but this special edition version and this one as well are currently part of the Nordstrom Sale for a couple more weeks so if you’ve had your eyes on it, now.is.the.time!
I use this canopy in the spring and summer since it’s so much breezier but still keeps bugs out, this kickstand (which I get questions about every single time I use the stroller) and this travel bag to keep the stroller in perfect condition with all the traveling we do. So many of my friends have gone to pick up their stroller after a flight to find a wheel broken off or giant scratches. Ours still looks brand new after nearly 4 years!
When Keogena was a newborn and Oshiolema was still a baby himself, not quite able to sit on that kickstand, I switched to the famous baby jogger. I did SO much research. Endless research. And I couldn’t be happier with this choice! The amount of configurations it allows is so impressive and we’ve probably taken advantage of every single one over the past 1.5 years. See this stroller in action on our trip to Italy here! I’m so happy with both these strollers. The Bugaboo is perfect for one child or two toddlers and the baby jogger is my favorite for two babies!
This is longer than I expected so thanks for sticking around! I have a few more questions to address so I’ll circle back to them. If you have any more questions, leave them in the comments and I’d love to add them to another post!