Thank you for building this life with me—one filled with chaos + happiness

It's kind of nice to pause the day-to-day shuffle and name our feelings every once in a while.

Thank you for building this life with me—one filled with chaos + happiness

To my love,

I'm so happy. With you, with our children—with our lives. I wanted to take a second out of the busyness of everything and acknowledge that. Things aren't "perfect"—but they never will be someone else's definition of perfect, will they? Maybe "perfection" isn't what we're chasing anyway.

Maybe it's happiness. Pure, uninhibited, imperfect happiness. Our happiness.

Remember when we first fell in love? I couldn't even contain how happy I was. I was so head over heels I was honestly probably definitely annoying to be around. I would talk to anyone I could about you. We would find each other at a party, and when we'd lock eyes across the room, my heart would freak out.

We were happy then.

Remember when we found our first apartment together? We were recently engaged and it felt like it was all happening: Life had begun. We scrounged up hand-me-down furniture and dishes from everyone we knew, we bought a TV (our first big purchase together), we merged both of our most adult-like decorations from college and tried to make it our own.

We were happy then.

Remember our wedding day? All our friends and family came to celebrate with us—to celebrate this love we found. It was overwhelming in every sense of the word. I was overwhelmed with people caring enough to take the time to come, I was overwhelmed with love for you, I was overwhelmed with having the BEST time dancing the night away looking around at the smiles on people's faces—on your face.

We were happy then.

Remember when I told you I was pregnant? I was a little scared, definitely nervous. I didn't know what you'd say. Getting pregnant wasn't really in "the plans" yet… but how could I have doubted you? You were surprised, that's for sure! (😂) and you were also really happy. You helped me soak in the excitement rather than the fears. And that shared happiness of knowing we created life together? Well that feeling was pretty wild, wasn't it?

We were happy then.

Remember when we bought our house? We were so proud of ourselves. I still am. Our house isn't flashy, and isn't very big—but it's our place, our safe space. We may have painted the walls and fixed some things here and there to make it more aesthetically pleasing, but that's nothing compared to the other work we've done. We've poured our hearts and souls into these walls—with each baby we've brought home, with each meltdown turned heart-to-heart (sometimes with the kids, sometimes with each other), with each parenting win and fail—we have made this house a home.

We were happy then.

And now, here we are today with a million things to do, a thousand projects to work on, a hundred dreams to catch, about fifty loads of laundry, at least five diapers to change (today), three children, two jobs, one mortgage, and an endless amount of love.

We are happy now.

So I wanted to stop for a second. Because today you woke up before the sun and headed off to work. Because my day will fly by with the gazillion things I need to do between work and the kids. Because you'll come home exhausted, to me, your exhausted wife and we'll just want to crash on the couch and then we'll peel our exhausted selves off the couch and force ourselves to get into bed. Because we'll try for a conversation but will need to tend to a crying child who woke up.

Because life is happening. All the time.

So I wanted to stop and tell you how happy I am. We'll never have "perfect", but I don't care. I don't need that. I need you. Our lives and our love won't look like anyone else's, and I don't care about that either. What I care about is you. What I care about is our family. What I care about is being happy.

It's too easy to get sucked into the worries, the fears, the chaos. It's too easy to complain and fret and rush. Motherhood is completely overwhelming.

But I don't want to forget how happy I am. How happy we are.

It's kind of nice to pause the day-to-day shuffle and name our feelings every once in a while. Right now my mind is running wild (and so are our kids). My heart is full (and so is the laundry pile). And my spirit is energetic (but that might be the coffee…)

And my soul is happy. (Really, truly happy.)

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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