Four.

Oh my goodness!  Such a BIG day around here.

First of all, my inbox was flooded yesterday with pictures of families who have/are in the process of adopting and it MADE MY DAY!  Every email I clicked on was another sweet family created through adoption.  It was just a big blessing to me.

Second of all, today, sweet Ashby London is having procedure #8…so, we are most likely at the hospital as you read this and most definitely covet your prayers.  Andrew returned home safely from South Africa yesterday afternoon, so we’re tag teaming kiddos and taking care of that sweet Ashby.  I just know in my heart that God is using and will continue to use that mighty girl in BIG ways.

And third…today, I’m talking about life with four kids which is perfectly timed with my sweet friend Erika’s BIG announcement today on her blog.  You MUST check it out!

Okay…hopefully, you’re back now after reading Erika’s post.

INSERT HAPPY DANCE HERE!!!!!

Last February, I did a post called WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER where everyone weighed in on what number of kiddo(s) was the hardest for you to adjust.  Was it when you added that second child?  The third? Maybe the fourth?  Or if you were like Andrew and me, it was when we added…

Kensington

…one.

Going from none to one about killed us. God bless Kensington, but she was not an easy baby (something I didn’t realize until after I had subsequent babies!).  Our number was ONE…but then for a hot minute at the end of September last year, I thought it was going to be FOUR…but no, I still feel like it was one (seriously, she cried all the time, it was an adjustment! ). But, needless to say, I thought it was time to update my number post, let you weigh in again, and share my thoughts on the big FOUR.

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That quote could not be funnier OR MORE TRUE!

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September 11…my first pic with all four kiddos.

I love, love, LOVE having four, but I must admit…there was a learning involved!

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 Smith was easily added to our family and we didn’t miss a beat with the third, but four was just different.  Four made me tired.  You know that game “whack a mole”?  Four felt like that for a while.  I felt like I was constantly hitting a mole just as another popped up.

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Some days, it’s like herding cats.

I know I blogged this last fall, but there was this moment one Tuesday afternoon when I was so hot and tired after lugging my kids from school to speech in a complete frenzy that I took off my shoes, socks and unzipped my pants in the hallway at speech just for air.  I SERIOUSLY contemplated removing my pants altogether.

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I would say that four was getting the best of me for about the first 8 weeks and then it kind of clicked and now, I would say that four is my jam.

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First, I had to start giving myself an extra 10 minutes for EVERYTHING.  I am always on time.  My dad taught us that you weren’t late, you were three minutes early…so being late totally goes against my personality…but at first, four made me late everywhere I went.  It just took longer to get four kids dressed, four kids breakfast, four kids in the car, four kids buckled, four kids to agree on a radio station…four, four, four was a workout!  So, I know what you’re thinking…but it didn’t dawn on me until after about 8 weeks…

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…first, I needed to just give myself more time and second, I NEEDED TO STOP DOING SO MUCH FOR THE OLDER ONES.

And all the mamas of older kids said amen.

I had a “come to Jesus” moment with my big two (and even Ashby), and we all realized that they needed to start doing some of this getting ready, getting something to eat, getting buckled, blah, blah, blah like big kids instead of mom doing it for them.  Out of habit,  I was still doing the same things for them that I had done since they were babies…but let’s face it…they were old enough to do a lot of it themselves!

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I also had to change my perspective/expectations.

I grew up in a house with just two kids (one boy, one girl) and for a while there, I kept trying to function the same way that I was raised.  Then it dawned on me one day…I can’t raise my kids the same way my parents did because I have TWICE as many kids as my parents.  My house will never be as tidy as my mom’s, as quiet/calm/peaceful as my mom’s, I will always have more activities than my mom did (shuffling kids around with sports, speech, school, etc.), it will always be a bit more like a circus at my house than at my mom’s house…and that’s okay.  Andrew and I are both from two kid households…but we’re not raising kids in a two kid household, so we have to figure out how to raise them in a four kid household, and it looks a little different…and that’s okay.

And that’s when things started to click and my “number” moved back from FOUR to ONE (sorry Kensington, you were still the hardest! 😉 ).

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Wait for it…now, I kind of feel like four is easier than three.

It’s because now, everyone has a “friend” and rarely is someone left out.  I didn’t realize at first, but back when there were only three, someone was often upset that they were left out, but honestly, now, I feel like everyone pairs off and there is way more peace around my house.  They pair off differently depending on what they’re doing and such, but the other day, Smith wasn’t home and about an hour into it, I realized that I was hearing so much bickering because someone kept getting left out.  The minute Smith got home, that kind of stopped.  I’m in to this even number thing now 😉 .

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Life with four has been crazy loud, silly, funny, exhausting, expensive, delightful, peaceful, chaotic, harmonious, disastrous at times and the BEST decision Andrew and I have ever made.

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I can’t imagine not having four.

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Four isn’t always easy…but four is my FAVORITE number!

Okay…what’s your number?  I’m still a ONE!  I know it’s awfully encouraging to read comments from other mamas who are having a hard time at their number.  If you missed my original post, click HERE.  If you have four and want to offer me any tips and/or advice, I covet them!

Four is a beautiful number in our house.

xo

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  • Leslie Z. May 3, 2017 at 4:48 am

    It’s so funny that one was your hardest! That just shows that you were meant to be a mama of many! So unbelievably happy for Erika! You totally predicted that I immediately jumped over to her blog before coming back to yours. Such WONDERFUL news!!! :))

    http://Www.withlovefromgablog.blogspot.com

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog May 3, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Four kids must be crazy. I was an only child and I drove my parents crazy!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Erika Slaughter May 3, 2017 at 5:01 am

    ONE was my number too -but I probably shouldn’t speak at this exact moment-four could rock my world! 🙂

  • Brooke Richardson May 3, 2017 at 5:10 am

    Well I know this may be hard to believe, lol but my number is 2. Cooper use to cry all the time as well. Bless his heart. Even though I’ve been drowning lately with 4, it’s not the 4 that is so hard. Anyways, I loved this post!!! I love 4 as well, looking forward to getting in a groove.

  • Kaylee May 3, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Yay for Erika and her family!!! And prayers for you and Ashby!
    I would say two. Learning to juggle schedules and expectations was a stretching process for me. I have four under five right now and mostly it is just busier and I am more tired but I’d still say two. Right now my youngest is five months so I still have that uneven number with playing and there is some fighting at times which I hate, but my three oldest often play well together too. But your post helped some things click in my mind and put some of my feelings into words. I don’t look forward to the fall when my oldest starts kindergarten and I have to leave my house twice a day with all four kids. Blah. I hate loading up and unloading. Ok, I hate car seats. The worst, but the best ;).
    Good luck today!!!

  • Blair May 3, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I love your thoughts that your home and life won’t look like yours when growing up. That really speaks to me. I was an only child and now I have a 2 year old and a 7 month old and I’m constantly feeling like a failure because everything is in disarray! I won’t live up to my memories of a clean home because I have twice the kids my parents did! Genius! Thanks for the insights!

  • Beth May 3, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Such a happy post today! Erika’s post made me want to squeal with delight! How great to have 3 best girl friends all from China! I’m sure Ashby and Madeley will be so happy for Baby Girl Slaughter’s return! Praying for sweet Ashby and her mighty strength!

    • jamie May 3, 2017 at 6:31 am

      YES! i love that: praying for sweet ashby and her mighty strength!

  • Dana Powell May 3, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Our hardest was 2! I remember my husband and I walking into Old Navy with the toddler in the cart and the baby in the car seat taking up the rest of it and thinking, ‘where will we put anything we want to buy?!’. I have learned lots of things since then (like using an Ergo with a baby!), but I still often think that having 2 little ones is harder than 6 of various ages! Those little children stages are precious and fun, but also a ton of work. Of course, 6 has not exactly been a walk in the park either, but that’s where we realize how much we need the Lord, right? 😉

  • Bonnie May 3, 2017 at 5:48 am

    1 was also my hardest baby but not a hard adjustment for me. 3 was probably the biggest adjustment for me as I could no longer hold on to each in one hand and it suddenly felt like a big family. We couldn’t fit in one hotel room, we couldn’t fit in 1 taxi, everything in life was made for a family of 4. Then #4 came. She was a preemie so feeding her was a long process and I was exhausted. Once I got past that though 4 has been better than 3. They do pair off nicely and I have embraced lowering my expectations.

  • Jennna May 3, 2017 at 5:51 am

    I needed to read this today. Our number 4 is arriving about 2.5 months and I have to admit, I’m a little nervous.

  • Goodbye Bread and Cheese May 3, 2017 at 5:55 am

    One was harder than two for us too, and my first was a pretty easy baby! It’s funny because I always wanted three kids who were fairly close together in age, but God had other plans for us and I love having my two with the five year age gap. My oldest is so incredibly sweet with his baby sister. It just melts my heart.

  • Sheaffer Sims May 3, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Just fyi. You know me. So I feel confident that you know this is true when I say it. If I had 4, I’m pretty sure I would never wear pants again.

  • Stacy May 3, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I only have one – and my one seemed very easy as a baby compared to what I heard from my other friends but one still rocked our world a bit in adjusting especially until he could sleep through the night — I so value sleep!!!! Somedays I’m thinking I can not possibly add one more to my one and then I read post like this and think maybe I can add even more than one !!!! If you could reccomended one book or informational site about opening your heart to adoption what would it be??

    • Mix and Match Mama May 3, 2017 at 8:00 am

      My favorite book on adoption is Mary Ostyn’s Forever Mom 🙂 .

  • Sharon May 3, 2017 at 5:59 am

    One was the hardest for us as well! I have two and adding my son was nothing at all. There almost was no two 🙁 My daughter was a hard baby who slept well but otherwise was just really high maintenance …. she had to be held ALL THE TIME and had major separation anxiety from the time she was 3 months old until she was two. I could not leave her or leave the room she was in. It was exhausting! Love her to death and she is much more chill as a 12 year old!

  • Narci Dreffs May 3, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Watching your family grow has been such a blessing! I love all of those precious kids of yours! Our number was one, too! 😉

  • Sarah May 3, 2017 at 6:05 am

    I love this post!!! My hardest was from one to two, by far!!! BOTH my first two were extremely hard babies (I now can verify that because my third is a breeze! Though, she seems to be getting tougher as she gets older lol!). My first two are also 16 months apart so that didn’t help, haha.

    I’m seriously contemplating four. Like you, I love the thought of an even number of kids haha! We have three girls right now – and it would be wonderful to have a son. But I also would love another girl!! We’ll see 🙂 I will say that right now I feel at max capacity bc my youngest is only 6 months, but you never know what the future holds!!

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Carly M May 3, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Four seems like the best!! All the happy tears for Erika! God bless them as they travel and bring back a new friend for your four. Thanks for always sharing and inspiring both of you. Have a great day!

  • Brittany Hensley May 3, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Love this post! Super honest & super sweet. Happy Wednesday

  • Nikki - Speak at Home Tonight May 3, 2017 at 6:19 am

    SUCH exciting news for the Slaughter’s!! I’m so happy to see what a joy your four bring you and your family every day. I am also one of those “always on time” people (aka early!) so I can imagine what an adjustment it’s been for you. It’s SO nice for everyone to have a friend though (everyone has someone to ride a roller coaster with!)

    http://www.speakathometonight.com/blog

  • Kim Clark May 3, 2017 at 6:19 am

    My number is 4, because three and four were twins!!! My mom used to say, “Your house is so LOUD!” Now they’re all in middle and high school, and they’re so much fun!!

  • Laura Fredlund May 3, 2017 at 6:22 am

    TWO. My first was 3 when my second was born, and he was super hard to manage (turns out he had autism).. baby #3 was easy bc the other two were off to school. Now we are working on having a fourth 🙂 Life is always busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! My family brings me so much joy!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams May 3, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Prayers for Ashby! How exciting for Erika & her family! I like being part of 3, but I definitely understand how 4 might be better because everyone can pair off.
    xo
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Bailey May 3, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I just love waking up to read these happy blogs each morning! Beats the stink in’ news any day. I *think* our number could be one but we only have one at the moment. Ha! But I mean, one takes you from sleeping, eating, driving, everything you used to do one way to doing it a whole other way. So any numbers to follow will just be a walk in the park because we are now accustomed to our new normal.

    http://www.myboymom.blogspot.com

  • jamie May 3, 2017 at 6:27 am

    HAHA what a great read! the part where you unzipped your pants and wanted to take them off? hysterical. and OH GOSH the slaughters??!? my heart is bursting. i have a blog topic request. diving deeper into your friendships. how you manage them. how you all met. the hard moments when you disagree. all the friendship things. honestly, when i read anything about your friendships my heart bursts and longs for what you inspire. kara tippetts had a circle of girlfriends that ran deep as well. you both have inspired me. i’ve been focusing on intentional friendships for the past two years. growing them. nurturing them. seeking them.

    i would just love to know how you manage and nurture beyond what we see here.

    i have a dear sweet friend who just fills my spirit and when we are together we cry, we laugh. we love our time together. i think about our conversations for days. she is not attached to her phone. her family, of course, comes first. and she would go weeks without contacting me or responding to my texts. and i was so confused. and hurt. but god put us in a circumstance where we could talk about that and i cried and simply said “i just don’t feel loved…” it felt selfish to say that. and it was vulnerable and hard. but you know what? that was a turning point in our friendship. it has been so beautiful to see the friendships i’ve focused on…grow.

    • Barbara parnell May 3, 2017 at 8:37 am

      lol..I want friends like the ones who decorated Scheaffer’s house and left a basket of goodies for her birthday!!!

    • Christine May 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      I agree with posting about your friendships, I long to have deep friendships with Christian women. Please share 🙂

  • Christine May 3, 2017 at 6:34 am

    I tear up seeing such a huge impact your having on those babies in china. I’m challenged to step out of my comfort zone and say yes to god even when its scary and doesn’t make sense. Thank you for sharing your journey.
    3 is definitely my number, our 3rd has rocked our world (we only have 3, im afraid to have #4 lol)

  • Erin Y. May 3, 2017 at 6:34 am

    This is SO funny that you’re updating your number! I have been a long time reader of yours and seriously admire the way you handle motherhood! You are my #MomGoals LOL We just welcomed our 2nd baby 2 months ago (our first had turned 1 year old 4 days prior… ?) and about a week into it I thought of your post from last year and was like 2 is definitely my number… dear sweet Jesus! The 2nd one has rock our world something fierce! Mind you, having 2 that are one and under is just difficult in general but goodness has it been an adjustment. I dare to even say that baby #2 might be more laid back than his sister, but it still has been a major shakeup. Thankfully big sister is still a little to young to really be jealous, but she has turned on the tantrums and mama has turned to the chocolate! Haha I figure in a few years though, I’ll appreciate the closeness in age, but until then, I’m clinging to the last bit of sanity I have left! Thank you for sharing your life, tips, etc.

    • Melissa May 3, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Good luck! A mom of twin boys and one more recently told me that having two babies / toddlers at different stages is much harder than having twins on the same schedule. I completely agree. When I had two daughters under age two, it was pure chaos most of the time.

  • Holly May 3, 2017 at 6:37 am

    I have four and I absolutely love having a big family! The big thing I notice about going from 3 to 4 is that now we have to count them ALL the time! I can’t tell you how many times I freak out because I think we’ve left one behind, only to realize they’re just being quiet (?) in the backseat! My kids are 13, 11, 8 and 7 and the activities are endless! I’ve had to realize that in this season of life you will most likely find me at a ball field or court. I am never home! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 3, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Oh my goodness! I meant to include that. YES! I’m constantly counting too! That’s so funny!

  • Lindsay May 3, 2017 at 6:39 am

    I only have 2, 8-1/2 years apart, but having the first one was hands down the hardest adjustment.

  • Brittany Medland May 3, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Okay, I laughed out loud because I obviously instantly clicked over to see Erika’s post-ekk so exciting, can’t wait to hear more!! but when I came back and read your comment “okay hopefully you’re back now after reading Erika’s post”… you know us all too well!
    Happy hump day, sending love and prayers for Ashby today! xo

  • Megan May 3, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I’m an only child getting ready to bring number 4 home from China this fall. To say I’m a bit overwhelmed at the idea would be an understatement. What does an only child know about raising FOUR kids?!?! Ha! I will say that three has been by far the most difficult number for us. Maybe because she is a strong-willed ball of fire? And while I say she is my most difficult to parent, she is going to make a fierce adult one day. Two was definitely the easiest. Even though he was our constant crying baby he is now the easiest of our bunch. Here’s to having four!

    http://www.lettinginthelightblog.com

  • Laura May 3, 2017 at 6:46 am

    My number was 3. I had a baby, got deathly sick, then moved. It was ROUGH. You are so correct about four being easier than three. Even my pediatrician confirmed that families with four or more get through it all easier than the families with three or less.

  • Heather May 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

    3 was my number! But I should state that the 3 arrived in 26 months!!! So, life was kind of full. 😉 We now have 5! Would love to hear about Andrew’s trips overseas sometime.

  • Jenn May 3, 2017 at 7:16 am

    We are a 4 family and it feels overwhelming most of the time! Not because of the fact that it’s four, we just have a “difficult” child. Everything is hard and everything is stressful. Hoping our phase passes soon. I would love a future post on discipline and child expectations but I know in today’s world, that’s a very hard thing to discuss publicly. Everyone has their opinions and judgments- I just like to know what works for others!

  • heidi May 3, 2017 at 7:19 am

    #1 was overwhelming but only because I was so nervous about doing it wrong lol.. she was an easy baby.
    #2 she nearly killed me # colic 24/7 but it wasn’t until #3 came along that I thought I have more kids than arms. . And I had 3 kids in 4 years.. it was a circus fir awhile there lol

  • Rachel May 3, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Going from zero to one was the hardest one me (I had no idea what I was doing, didn’t know what to expect, had some PPD going on, etc). But with that said, going from one to two was WAY harder on us as a family/marriage unit. Probably because we’re constantly being pulled in different directions and there’s way more interruptions.

  • Amanda Wilson May 3, 2017 at 7:26 am

    I have 5 andI would say that 1,2, 3 were hard in different ways. 1….was HARD learning to adjust to no no sleep at first was hard. 2 was my crier….she was a May baby and all summer neighbours would come over to “help” because they heard her crying through open windows….they always gave up quickly, and 3 logistically was hard….hotels, car seats, hands, seats in double stroller…..but 4 and 5 didn’t miss a beat….maybe I already had let go of stuff a lot of what you are saying about changing your thoughts I did at 3….we could no longer just jump on someone’s vehicle, getting everyone buckled into seats is time consuming….I absolutely love my big family and the sometimes sticky floor that comes with it the huge pile of pjs and feet and snuggles on movie night and the constant noise is music that feeds my soul!!!!!

  • Angela Ellingson May 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

    So excited for Erika and family! Prayers for sweet Ashby today. Hang in there Mama. That has got to be so hard. We have 3 kiddos now (1, 4, 6) but are hoping for #4 soon. I’ve always dreamed of 4. Having a baby this past year I definitely had to adjust my expectations for how much I could get done in a day. I read a tip recently about figuring out how much time it should take to get things done and then doubling it because everything always takes longer. Then you’re not surprised and stressed when it does.

  • Katlin May 3, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I have a different answer my hardest number was twins. I went from one to three overnight and that was such an adjustment because having two babies that need pretty much the exact same thing at the exact same second is hard plus throw a 3 year old in the mix the first 4 months is nothing but a blur of putting out the biggest fire and trying to make sure I had showered at some point in the last week. Now it’s pretty simple. They are just over a year and play pretty good together. Everything is a season and it’s pretty amazing to look back and think I survived.

  • Kristy May 3, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Five? ?

  • Paula May 3, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Mine was 4. But to be fair, I went from two to four. TWINS! Rocked my world & still does 7 years later.

  • Karen Ward May 3, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I’m not sure what my number is. I didn’t have any children when I got married for the second time. I received two bonus children with my marriage but they didn’t live with us. Two was easier because I really didn’t have a routine since I had no children at home so when my boys came, we just went into kid mode. Three years later, add one to the mix. My girl was pretty easy herself but when brothers came, that’s when I felt like everything went off track.

    Oh well, we made it through and now my “babies” are all grown up and one has a baby of his own.

  • Angela Cooper May 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I only have one (grown) child and now one grandchild, but I so enjoy reading your blog Shay! And one is hard! Even though we may be at different stages of life, your blog is SO interesting and entertaining! I applaud you and all your friends that have adopted and pray that many others will adopt if not internationally but locally too!

  • Starla Goldman May 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

    What a beautiful family. Thank you for brightening my day. I have a big smile on my face.

  • Gwen H. May 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Prayers for sweet, beautiful Ashby (and you) today before, during and after the procedure. I know you will update us in a future post. I think about her often, and pray that her vascular condition will be able to be treated to the extent that she is able to have free and full use of her arm and hand. If you have mentioned this in the past, I’ve overlooked it — does the condition cause her pain or discomfort on a daily basis? Does she have to take medications for it? I can only imagine that the procedures are uncomfortable at best. I do hope it is not too stressful or painful for your precious girl. Love, hugs and prayers for you all.

  • Jordan May 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Okay, so first, I loved this! You were spot on in every way. Although, my first was my easiest baby. I’m 8 weeks into having four here in my home and I would have to say, in a complicated way, it’s my favorite number but also proven to be my most challenging. I’m exhausted all the time! Granted, as I said, I am 8 weeks into the newborn stage. We are learning our new normal and I also am learning to lose a little control for the sake of my sanity. So I say 4! My favorite, and my hardest! ❤

  • Denise Holthaus May 3, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I know you’re not gonna believe this Shay… but, ONE because Brooke was my first. Lol. She was a hard baby and sounds like Kensington, so it was ONE and I only had two! Now, I have three step-sons and it’s not so hard because I’ve been there done that, but it can been exhausting because I’m in my 50’s. Ha! I know Brooke read this and im sure she can relate now that she has 4! Thanks for sharing your life!! ❤️

  • Jen May 3, 2017 at 8:17 am

    One was fine for me, and there is a 4 year age gap between #1 and #2, so I feel the age difference made it very easy. So that’s why we are stopping at 2…I have a feeling a #3 would do me in!! 🙂

  • Amy Rae DeVito May 3, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I don’t have children, yet, but I still really enjoyed this post. What a very interesting & insightful read. I have an older sister, older brother, and then I’m the “baby’ of the family. They are 13 & 10 years older than me.

    I’m keeping sweet Ashby and you and your family in my thoughts & prayers. I hope her operation and recovery is as pain free as possible! *hugs*

  • Barbara parnell May 3, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I had to smile as I read this. I am the mom of four boys,(one who has autism and is non verbal) and when I had my fourth,my oldest was only seven. The energy level in this house was out of control. I’ve always loved being a mom of four, but let’s face it, it is hard work. My hubby and I always joked about how once you have more kids than parents you are in trouble! I too, had to allow the oldest to become more self sufficient in order to keep my sanity. I also had to learn to give myself some care as well, since I devoted every waking moment to my boys. Now, they are 20,17,15 and 13. Still full of energy, eating me out of house and home(I shop in the big warehouses more biweekly!), and not always that easy to deal with(teens)..but I wouldn’t change our life for anything. More kids,more love…just when you think your heart can’t love anymore, you realize it holds an infinite amount of love. Kids are the best! My advice to all of you with younger children..while you are working hard and tend to get caught up in everyday life, take a moment each day to appreciate allt hat you have. They grow quickly, and you will look back on these days fondly. Treasure these moments…

  • Jen May 3, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I have three boys and yes ONE was the toughest!! It’s easy peasy now 🙂
    I love your blog!! ❤️

  • ginny pantin May 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I am a mother of four wonderful children. I agree that four is easier than three. My third child was my most difficult parenting experience. Number 3 was “a wild card” as I call her. She is completely different the other two. I also struggle to balance my personal expectations with reality. The best thing that every happened to me was “letting go” during my journey with three. I choose my children over a spotless house, and in return I totally rock number #4.

  • Elizabeth May 3, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Such a fun post, loved reading this!
    Xo, Elizabeth
    http://stripesandsolitaires.com/

  • Ashley May 3, 2017 at 8:52 am

    We have 4 kids too! I had twin boys, then a girl, then a girl! I think my kids ages when each child was born made the difference on what was hardest. I would say 3 was probably the hardest. With the twins-it was hard but I didn’t know any different! However, when my 3rd was born, the twins were 2 1/2 and that was just hard. When the 4th was born, the twins were a little older and could do more on their own so it was a little easier! I agree with 4 being an even number-it makes things nice! They are all such blessings-even the hard is totally worth it! ☺️

  • Angela Shields May 3, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Praying for sweet Ashby!? I have six kids. We had four children and then adopted two through Children’s Protective Services. We have three in college, one in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary. There have been seasons where I had to regroup and figure out how to handle the new number of children but going from one to two was the hardest for me. With one I was use to being able to keep all of the laundry done and my house in tidy order. When two came along I felt outnumbered all the time. I suddenly couldn’t keep the laundry kept up or my house clean all the time. Going to the grocery store my kids took up the whole cart and it was an overwhelming season of my life. Once I embraced the fact that it was ok if all of my laundry wasn’t done and that spending time with my kids was more important than a clean house, I got into a groove and things got easier. I totally made it hard on myself with the expectations that I had in my mind that everything had to be perfect. Sometimes I think God gave me six kids to get me out of that strive for perfectionism. It’s impossible. Someone is always making a mess. Even though I am through having children two of mine are getting married this year. So I will soon have eight children. My heart keeps growing and my life just gets fuller!

  • Terry Pitzer May 3, 2017 at 9:14 am

    We have 5 kids, and the hardest by far was 3. He was an easy baby, but all of the sudden there is t a parent for every child. You go from man-to-man defense to zone! After adjusting to 3, going to 4 and then 5 was a breeze.

  • Laci May 3, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Yay for the Slaughters!! Can’t wait to watch this journey for them unfold just as we watched yours!! yayayay!!!
    I will say baby #2 is where I thought I was absolutely going to lose my marbles and curl up in the fetal position! Thank God I never struggled with PPD because baby #2 cried ALL THE TIME and never slept!!! She is 8 years old now and I can still remember how tired and cranky I was. Bless her heart! Now she never cries and sleeps 12 hours a night.

  • Natalie Clark May 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

    We’re still working on our number! #2 will be here in July and based off of how easy our #1 has been, I’m a little nervous. Hopefully he is a lot like his sister and will be an easy baby too…fingers crossed!! I’m originally one of four and I would say my parents number was definitely #3. They always say that after having 3, adding any more was a breeze. We took in 2 more girls from my church when I was in college, so now there are 6 (girls). I can’t wait to see what my number will be! We are hoping to have 4 one day!

  • Michelle N. May 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Two. Two is my number. And we have two. With one I was expecting that everything we knew up to that point would now be different and we were ok. Then number two arrived 27 months later and I thought since we were in the parent mode it would be easy. Not. How to meet the needs of two littles threw me. Baby girl was a baby and made son seem so grown up but he really wasn’t. We had ear infections and speech delays hitting us and one who wasn’t sleeping thought the night until 2nd grade but was walking at 9 months and I just gotta say out loud that that first year was not my finest mothering. But they are 15 and 13 now and I don’t think I’ve left them too messed up. 🙂

  • Brooke May 3, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Three is my number. That girl has been my challenge since birth. she was my breaking point and the only one I hired a nanny with (which I now feel bad about). I can’t imagine having another one. She made me that person that’s like awe look at that beautiful baby, thank you Jesus, it isn’t mine! Kidding. Now that my kids are older I sometimes think a fourth would have been good, but that shop has sailed!

  • Vicki May 3, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I happened across your blog years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed reading and the glimpses into the Shull lives. So happy about Erikas exciting news today… But at the same time… my heart is torn for you and sweet lil Ashby! God BLESS you for all you are doing for her! I can only imagine the challenges physically AND emotionally it brings! Thank you for showing Jesus in your actions!! Although we will probably never meet in person you have blessed me many times! I’m praying that God will work a miracle in her and that He will give you the grace and strength that you need as you continue the journey! God bless your day!

  • Marina May 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

    My number is THREE!! I had a big- almost four year gap- between my first two and then exactly two years between two and three. All girls. Third one is a handful! She’s almost one and doesn’t want to walk yet. Glued to my hip or my leg. The older girls don’t like to play with her and she’s always left out. I’m hoping four will fix that. I was kind of nervous about having another, but your post helped me!! And so excited for Ericka after her family❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Alexis deZayas May 3, 2017 at 9:40 am

    So sweet!!

  • Stephanie May 3, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I loved reading this! It’s so funny how every family has a different experience ? My hardest was from 2 to 3. It turned our world upside down, and I do think it’s because we are outnumbered! My first boy was so, so easy. But my girl, wow! She was a complete 180 for us. Now that I’ve had my 3rd (another boy), I think we are done?

  • Stacey May 3, 2017 at 9:57 am

    My number is TWINS! ? I had twins when my oldest was 19 months old and that rocked us. Now they are 4, 4, and 6 and the twin thin is paying off, and pretty easy at this point. We are adopting #4!

  • Ariadna May 3, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I agree with the even numbers, I’m the first of 3, but my brothers are twins and we’re 4 years apart. They were/are each other’s best friend and I always felt left out. When I got married I told my husband that we needed even numbers and after the big adjustment of the first one, he still is not on board for the second one! If we have another one our kids would be more than 4 years apart but I still think an even number is the best, my daughter keeps asking for a baby brother so she can have somebody to play with and I agree! She needs somebody else to play with because mom can’t play all the time! 🙂

  • Anita G. May 3, 2017 at 10:23 am

    #1 was my most demanding child (and still is), and even though #2 arrived only 12 months and 1 week later, it was going from #2 to #3 that was the hardest for me.

  • Maureen May 3, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Two was my hardest but I think that had more to do with the fact that my husband deployed for a year as soon as baby was born. So the first 12 months that we had 2 kids (under 2!) I was also flying solo. Adding my third baby was the easiest for sure!

  • Danielle Rigg May 3, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I was always a 2 kid person but I have 3 and cant imagine my life without them. Crazy question… I am contemplating my mini-van, I am having a hard time with the car seat in them, etc…What car do you like as a Mommy of 4.
    Thanks 🙂 Prayers & Blessings to Ashby and your family.

  • Patty May 3, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Prayers for your sweet Ashby and for the rest of you as well. As a Mom who went through many years of procedures with one of her kids, I know how emotionally draining it is when you can’t “fix” the boo boos. But you know what? My daughter is now a very strong 25 year old author who is independent and amazing and is currently writing a book about invisible disabilities. (Her disability is for a lifetime.) Your precious girl is just adorable!

  • Lindsay D May 3, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I only have two kiddos (one is 7 and the other is 5), but it was a really big adjustment to having a baby!! My second child wouldn’t nurse, so I had to pump and then feed her, but it still felt easier than the first time around. 🙂

    So happy for the Slaughter family!!! You will all be in my prayers!!!

  • Taylor May 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

    I feel like three was the hardest for us…we went from “man-to-man” to “zone” and being outnumbered was definitely an adjustment! I hope that when we add a fourth, we will have the divided and conquer thing down! Fingers crossed!

  • Paula May 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

    #1 is my number, no doubt! I was so over confident about having our 1st that I was knocked flat with all the responsibility that came with being a parent. Being a good baby sitter is NOT preparation for being a parent, once they’re yours they never leave. Ha! While #2 was a more difficult baby, I already had settled into being a Mom and could relax.

  • Tina May 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I have four kids (now 20, 15, 9 and 7) and number 3 was, for sure, the toughest. She had severe reflux which caused her (and us!) a lot of pain. Number 4 was challenging, in that HE is my only boy! After three girls, the boy learning curve was steep. 🙂 Prayers for Ashby today and for Ericka and her growing family!

  • Kendra Hobbs May 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Number one was definitely my #!! I really believe it was because I just wasn’t adjusted to the reality of what responsibilities it takes to become a mother! She still requires a lot of my attention and focus and she is three now! I have a little boy who is one and he fit right in with our family and honestly the adjustment was hardly noticeable! I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world though!!! Some days I think to myself wow I really have it going on and everything flows so perfectly! Other days it’s a complete circus and I’m not sure what I’m doing haha!

  • Rebecca May 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Three is our number. I love, love us being a family of 5, but I always wanted one more baby. You have a beautiful family of 6:) I am so impressed with you and your family always being on time. My dad was in the Air Force and he was always early. Me… I’m always running late because I am trying to get one last thing in before I leave, or make sure everything is put away and the house is clean before I leave. I would love an on time tips post:)

  • Alicia May 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Yup! None to one just about did me in. My hardest baby by far and that is saying a lot since my last two were twins. Now we are a family of four kids and it is great. Sometimes exhausting, but fun nonetheless. I love reading your blog. Thanks for the laughs and all the comments today.

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World May 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I agree with you that ONE was our hardest number. We only have two, so I wouldn’t know what it was like to have three or four, but going from zero to one rocked our world! I think the main reason why was because I suffered a lot of injuries during childbirth and was unable to walk for the first couple of months after having him. That, of course, was bad because not only was my husband having to do everything for the baby, he was also having to take care of ME. He was also a difficult baby on top of all of that, so add that to the mix and you pretty much have a hot mess on your hands. I opted for a c-section with the second baby and it was MUCH easier than the first, mostly because my recovery was so much easier! I know my opinion is a bit skewed due to the circumstances, but I agree with you completely about ONE!

  • Holly May 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I am SO glad to hear this!!! I just have one and it has been a HUGE adjustment! I’ve always wanted a big family but after the first being so challenging I about changed my mind that one was enough…Thank you for sharing!!!! XOXO

  • Stacy Tsoukatos May 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I have followed your blog religiously for some time but something you said today really resonated with me. I have three kids, two older (12,9) and one 2 year old. I constantly do everything for the older two since it is just easier and quicker to do it myself. However, they are old enough and can help out. Why don’t I let them?? So what, if they don’t do it perfect, at least I am not doing it! Why, oh why, am I just having this moment. Thanks for the post since you just helped this mama gain a little time and sanity back!

  • Brittany S May 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I have three… almost 6, 3.5, and 18 months. I think overall, going from one to two was hardest for me. It was hard to figure out how to take care of a toddler and not be able to focus only on the baby. By the time number 3 came along, I was used to the multitasking! I was laughing at your pants story! I always feel like by the time we are all in the car in the morning I am a sweaty mess from getting everyone ready to go!

  • Marti May 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Number one was hard for me because she didn’t sleep through the night for several months and also because she had colic. No fun. But number three was probably my hardest because he NEVER slept unless I was holding him and he cried all the time. NO FUN. Luckily things got better after the first hear.

  • Elaine May 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Two was crazy hard for me… but I also spent the last 4 months of my pregnancy living with a 3 year old, while my husband had already moved 15 hours away… I stayed behind so we could well our house and for insurance purposes… And then we moved 3 weeks after our 2nd was born. So, going from 1 to 2 was just crazy hard for me! Going from 2 to 3 was a breeze! Now, we’re still late all the time, but I’m always late- ha!

  • Ericka May 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    This gives me hope! I have one (whom we love!) but his first 8 months were SO hard…crying and never sleeping. I’d always dreamt of a big family but for those 8 months I was sure we’d stop with one! He’s so much better and fun now, and your post gives me hope for a whole mini-van filled with kids some day!

  • Stacey May 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I have 2 but 1 was definitely the hardest, colic, allergies, early teething etc…did not sleep thru the night till he was18 months old. Cried constantly. He’s 22 and not really pleasant now. True story.

  • Erin @ No Bohns About It May 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    We went from 0 to 2 instantly with adoption, and I thought that was easy. But our third kiddo nearly killed me. Or atleast drove me to the brink of insanity. She had an intestinal birth defect which made her vomit ALL the live long day. Not the typical vomit, but INSANE vomit (bright green, 3-4 foot projectile, 20+ ounces). I still get anxiety when I look at other people’s newborns. We may go for number 4, but if we do we will certainly adopt again because clearly I make exorcist babies.

  • Jaren May 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I think about this stuff all the time! We have four around the same ages as yours, and the game “Whack a Mole” is the PERFECT analogy! I’ll be the first to admit THREE rocked my world. Our 4th just kind of blended in with the chaos. But I would not trade having 4 for anything in this world. I often think about when they are older and how fun our big family will be! And sometimes even with all this chaos, I often think about how this stage is probably the easy part.

  • Renee May 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    One was a hard adjustment for us — but we’re hoping to have another. 🙂 I always wanted four — I like the idea of everyone having a “pal”, but that number makes my husband nervous, haha!

    And you’re so funny — I seriously thought I was the only one who’s unzipped my pants before just to “breathe” in a moment of high stress!! In fact, now I intentionally wear dresses during days I know are likely to be more stressful than normal!

  • Becky May 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    My number is most definitely 3. I have 3 under 4 right now and I am constantly exhausted. 1 was a breeze and 2 was just more fun, but 3 feels like my work load increased by 5! I am constantly redoing something I just did. Diapers, clothes, breakfast round 2, protecting them from each other. It’s like running a marathon every day. I expect it will get easier as they get older and require less. I hope so because I have #4 on my mind via adoption as well.

  • Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side May 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    I love how real you are in this post. I think 2 is my number, mostly because our first was so easy and then our second came and it was non-stop crying for 6 weeks straight. But now it’s better because they play together and rarely fight. Thank goodness!

  • Kim May 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    As an older mom (just turned 50 – yikes!) who has 4 children I have to say 4 is the perfect number. We had 2 boys and decided to go for the third (maybe a girl?) and ended up having twin girls. What a shock! My boys are now 27 and 25 and my twin girls just turned 21. Four children is definitely not for the faint of heart – noise, mountains of laundry, homework, running around for sports, food shopping, etc. but I loved every minute of it. The best part? Life eventually quiets down and those four little ones grow up and become your best friends.

  • Nicole D. May 3, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    So far I only have one (praying a second comes around soon!) but I know for sure one isn’t my answer because she’s been such a good baby (now toddler). Ok she’s a crazy toddler now but still manageable. So I’m looking forward to knowing the answer to this one day! I am the oldest of 4 so I know firsthand how crazy it can be!

  • Natalie May 3, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    2, for sure! We had it made with our first son. He is easy going, reserved, and sweet as can be. Our second son is totally opposite! He is stubborn, strong-willed, loud, and has never slept well. We are in the process of adopting from China so we will see if our number changes ☺️

  • Kristin Carlson May 3, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    We also have 4….but we went from one to four in one shot (we had triplets when our oldest was 23 months). I don’t think I realized how hard it was at the time….it was just life and knowing we were having triplets, we were pretty much ready and expecting the craziness. They are now teenagers (19 and 17) and sometimes I think that it was much harder through from middle school until they could all drive because of all of their sports and activities. I can’t imagine life without all four of them….it would have been pretty boring.

  • Caroline May 3, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Well I only have 2– but my husband and I have said that if we have a third, we will subsequently need a fourth. They need a partner on roller coasters and a booth mate in restaurants. My second (a girl) WAS SO HARD. She was such a hard baby compared to my first (a boy). She will be 4 next week and only started sleeping through the night this year. And I don’t mean she was up once to potty– She would wake up 4-5 times a night. There are literally memories that are blocked from my mind because I lived for 3.5 years exhausted. My son slept 12 hours a night at 5 weeks (he’s now 7 and still does this). So needless to say we are terrified to have number 3….

  • Jessica May 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I have four boys and #3 was hands down the hardest. Most intense & biggest personality, first kid not to sleep, plus just other things going on in life…oldest started kinder, another started therapy, learning to literally have a baby in tow all the time, etc! First was hard because it was our first & he had severe reflux/allergies, two was a breeze, three…ugh…still am traumatized…four no biggie!

  • Sharon S May 4, 2017 at 12:29 am

    We have 3 and for me, #2 was the hardest adjustment. The first kid, I couldn’t believe was so easy to adjust to. I was like ” what are people talking about? this baby thing is a piece of cake…” Ha. But I think that’s because everyone tells you it is so hard, so my expectations were low and then everything was so great. Bring on #2 – another easy baby, but a tough delivery. And, where I didn’t expect much of anything from dad with #1, with #2, I needed some help and let’s just say dad isn’t the most helpful guy in the world – like most guys probably – a great husband and father, but in reality he adds more work than takes away. So our honeymoon of a marriage was tested b/c I had resentment that when one kid was screaming and I was dealing with it, he didn’t naturally go handle #2 kid when they started to fuss…. But, you know, a year later, we hit our groove. Then we had #3 which honestly has also been tough, but luckily, I knew the hard year of adjustment was coming. Seems to take about a year for our family to get our groove, so I’m thinking your 8 weeks is pretty great. Although, I still am trying to have the 2 kid life with 3 kids…. I really think, though, the early years are tough, and people shouldn’t determine their family size b/c of those tough early years. We are at 7, 5 and 4 now (ages) and life gets easier every day… I’d go for a 4th, but hubby says “no way” and honestly, I’m kinda glad. Just hope we don’t regret it one day. And honestly, I don’t know if I could handle any more laundry. Ha!

  • Lily May 4, 2017 at 4:11 am

    I would have to say going from one to three! Totally worth it, they grow up so fast!

  • Kathryn Madison May 4, 2017 at 9:39 am

    To the lady who said you are her #MOMgoals…I agree! I have a 14 year old daughter and two years ago gained a bonus (step) daughter who is also 14. You are doing a fantastic job! I LOVE that you are investing in their little lives daily because years down the road when you’re stressing about them being in high school and making decisions on their own, you’ll feel confident knowing you did your job well and they will all make good decisions. Prayers for Ashby! Thanks for sharing your lives with your loyal readers. God bless your family

  • Miranda May 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    One was definitely my number. We have 3 now. I also grew up in a 2 kid household and I love what you said about not trying to raise my kids just the same way. I can’t make 3 be 2. Definitely needed to hear that!

  • Eryn May 8, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Just found out last week that we are having #4. I have such mixed feelings about 4. I feel like I was just starting to get the hang of being outnumbered since #3 came along. I know it will be fine but I have a lot to “let go” of.
    How do you arrange seating in your car with 4? I’ll have 2 in car seats now and I refuse to go the can route ?

  • Shelly May 8, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I just love this post and love your little family of 4! I definitely would say 3 was my number. When #3 arrived my “bigs” were 8 and 11 and things were easy, I was still in complete control (ha!) and my house was orderly. Dragging a newborn to baseball, dance, soccer, etc meant tons of nursing in the car, lots of weekends away from home and I had to let some things go. By the time number 4 arrived I had let it all go for sure or I would have lost my mind. I just always reminded myself it was not forever and eventually I would have a clean house again.

  • Suzanne Hin May 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I’m a ONE, too! I always wanted to be a Mom and motherhood shocked my socks off. I wondered why in the world I didn’t love it and it took me until I stopped breastfeeding and she finally started sleeping through the night to realize what all the hype was about! Haha!
    #2 came to us through foster care when #1 was just 13 months old. #2 was addicted to several different substances and went through severe withdrawal and yet I STILL think the transition to #2 was easier! That sweet #2 left our home when I was 24 weeks pregnant with #2/3, so when it came time for him to be born, we transitioned again to 2 kids. So we went from 1 to 2 to 1 to 2 in 26 months. That sweet baby boy was born and didn’t gain weight and labeled failure to thrive and I was diagnosed with PPA, but I STILL think that my transition to #1 was harder! Hahahah!

  • Jocelyn May 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I’m super late on my comment, but I’m one of 6 kids and here’s something my mom did that she said saved her sanity as we all got a little older: she had us pick one sport and one musical instrument to take lessons for for the year. So for instance, I chose volleyball and piano every year. I walked to my piano lessons since they were next door to the school, and the school transported me for volleyball. (except practices) This eliminated her having to run around to 5 or 6 different sports games/recitals/shows/etc. 12 months out of the year, and it also allowed her to be able to manage the fees/equipment/other financial obligations that go along with sports/extracurricular. Each kid picked one sport and for the most part just stuck with that one.