Part of what gets us out of bed in the am (besides coffee!), is discovering amazing and talented mamas and great products we think you might like! Although this series is sponsored by Fisher-Price, the Jonathan Adler Crafted By Fisher-Price Collection totally knocked us out with it’s incredible design and quality so we were thrilled to collaborate with them and the authentic women in these posts.
Someone that knows good aesthetics to the T is Anna Liesmeyer of In Honor of Design. If you’ve ever flipped through the pages of her blog or scrolled down her Instagram feed, you know what we’re talking about. This stylish mama just welcomed her fifth babe into the family. You read that correctly, FIVE! Seemingly a pro after so many kids, we needed to ask some key questions. Like what are the baby items we actually need! Can you make our baby-shower registry?! Read Anna’s interview below to find out how to keep a stunning household with five kids, how she manages her bedtime routine and if parenthood gets easier with every kid.
We love the adorable video you posted of your 4 “big” kids meeting Azelie. What was that moment like for you to see them all together for the first time?
My children talked about this baby for months, and kept asking when she would be coming. I knew they would love her from the start, but you are never quite prepared for the emotions that come with those first days. It wasn’t as calm as it appeared (cue the three year old trying to eat the hospital jello), but I was overwhelmed to see the reactions they had for her….even my 13 month old. I had a moment of feeling, “Is this really my life?” I have FIVE children? And each with delicious cheeks? I am so grateful for their bond, because it has made the transition easier.
With five kids you must be a pro on getting ready for a new baby! How were things different when getting ready to welcome Azelie than when you had your first? You must have a whole different list of concerns and so many things you were anxious about the first time around that don’t stress you out anymore!
To be honest, I was completely unprepared! She came a whole month early, so my hospital bag wasn’t packed, no freezer meals were made, and my house was a mess. The anxiety set in when contractions started, since my others were due-date babies. However, the newborn phase is so much more familiar now that I knew exactly what I would and wouldn’t need. I had all of my favorites on hand and ready to be put to use!
They say that after 3 kids it just gets easier.. Would you say that to be true? Do you find that your older kids are starting to look after the younger ones a little bit?
It actually IS true, although I think personalities and ages have a good deal to do with that. Three was the hardest for me, but then your motherhood and it’s instincts become a welcome familiarity. You learn to let go of the expectations you have of motherhood and start to experience it as your own. Motherhood demands all of my time and energy right now, but I have never been more confident in my role.
Your friends must always come to you for suggestions on baby gifts and gear. What are some must-have items you would tell your newly pregnant super stylish friend she needs to add to her registry? What’s on your go-to gift list to buy for your friends?
Oh so many faves! Let’s see…. the Solly Baby and My Wild Bird are my favorite baby wraps, the Jonathan Adler Crafted By Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock n’ Play Sleeper is Azelie’s favorite dwelling place after her mama’s arms, Loved Baby outfits fit premies and newborns so well and are super soft, and Lily-Jade diaper bags (super stylish but functional!) to name a few!
Early days with a new baby can be pretty hectic. What do you do when you’re home alone and need to have a quick shower? Where do you feel safe leaving Azelie for a few minutes?
Azelie loves her Deluxe Rock n’ Play Sleeper which automatically rocks and plays music, so it buys me a good chunk of time when she needs to sleep. It allows me the time to get ready for the day or take a much needed nap!
Finding out a baby’s sex can be one of the most exciting and emotional things in life. You’ve done both with your squad. What did you decide to do with Azelie and why did you decide to go that route?
Since Azelie was a big surprise for us, we decided to find out this time in order to have time to mentally prepare for the new dynamic shift in our family, and also prepare Veronica in case we were having another boy, ha! She had her heart set on a new sister. Lucky for her, it worked out in her favor! I have loved both experiences though. Finding out early or waiting until delivery are each special in their own way.
Sleep is always the most elusive and sought after thing in the early days with bebe. Any tricks you found to help get your little ones to sleep? What’s her napping routine been like? Where does Azelie like to nap?
She has been sleeping so well, thankfully! She eats every three hours which feels like a breeze compared to my boys. The challenge has been getting nap times to co-ordinate among my other little ones. We use noise machines, black out curtains, and lavender sheet spray to create a good nap time environment. We keep it time consistent, so they know it’s a normal part of their day to rest. It always ends up being beneficial for all of us!
What’s your bedtime ritual like with the kids? Do they all go to bed at the same time? Any fave books you like to read?
Yes, everyone goes down at the same time! They love their routine because it’s our designated time to read as a family and have quality time with them. They each get to pick out a book, we read, have family prayer time, and then Gabe and I split up and and rotate saying goodnights and tucking in. It’s something we often don’t feel up for, but it always proves to be worth the time we dedicate to it since it fills their love tanks 😉
Were you always planning to have a fifth baby or was Azelie a surprise? What was your reaction when you found out she was on the way?
We knew we wanted a larger family since I came from one, and love the role brothers and sisters have had in my life. However, Azelie came as a complete surprise. I was still adjusting to having a fourth baby. I cried many tears. It was hard news, not because I don’t love babies, but because I didn’t feel humanly capable at the time. Thankfully it takes 9 months (or in her case, 8 months;)) to grow a baby, and during that time I was able to process all of the good and the hard emotions with my husband. I knew that once she was here, I would come to understand why. Now, I am convinced it was all providential. I look at her face and know she was always meant to be. She has brought an incredible peace along with her, and I get to witness the overabundant love my children have for her. Is it hard? Absolutely. Worth it? A hundred times fold.
With such a full house what are their sleeping arrangements like? Where does baby Azelie sleep? What was it like making room in your house for her?
I always keep the new baby right next to my bed for the first few months. Right now, we are finishing a room for the boys, and the girls will share a room as well. (Veronica’s dream come true!). I always loved having a roommate growing up, and so do my little ones. It seems to help them learn how to be more compassionate to each other, and aware of how to work out problems they have with one another. It also gives them a little room to secretly party after we put them to bed!
Five kids must have a lot of gear 🙂 How do you keep your home looking so organized and clutter-free? Do they help you clean up and keep their own things put away or do you have some great organizational systems that we need to know about?
Well, I only buy baby gear that is totable or collapsible! I love how her rock n’ play sleeper collapses, Rocco’s Fisher-Price Deluxe High Chair converts to a booster seat, and their toys all go inside boxes or bins. It makes for easy clean up or shifting around when we have company. Our older ones know that they have designated pick-up time before any screen time is allowed, so that they get into the habit of cleaning up after themselves!
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being the mama of a big family?
The challenge is accepting your time is not your own, that you have 5 little ones who need you in different ways, and that the state of your heart ultimately affects everyone in the home. Some days that is terribly daunting. I have learned to carve out time for me here and there to stay balanced physically, mentally, and spiritually and that helps me tremendously in being a healthy mother. The most rewarding part is that in pouring your heart and soul into the people who matter to you most, you find the key to life….happiness. I receive more hugs, kisses, and words of affirmation in a day than I ever thought I deserved. These little ones love freely and unconditionally. I am so thankful to learn from them and to have them as my greatest work in life.