Finding Normal

Walking into the our athletic club to take the kids swimming yesterday, a woman passed us and remarked “Wow, four kids. That ain’t for the faint of heart.” Little did she know exactly how faint in the heart I’ve been feeling the last week. It’s funny how strangers can completely disarm you with one simple little comment. I had no response beyond swallowing the lump that formed in my throat.

It’s now been 12 days since Evangeline was born, and just yesterday I ventured out of the house with her on our first real family activity. We decided to take the kids to the pool-it’s warm and outdoors, and there were barely any other people there now that summer is over. I was stressed out having her in public but once I got comfortable and was able to actually watch Jack, Zoe and Beau playing and having a great time, I felt nearly normal for the first time since Evvie officially joined our family.

Normal is the best feeling.


A few surprise breastfeeding issues aside, Evangeline is doing so well. With a little help from my lactation nurse (who knew this would be a challenge after breastfeeding three children previously), she’s sleeping and putting on weight well, which means I’m sleeping and able to care for myself, too. My struggle lately is finding time for the older kids; Helping them with homework, playing puzzles with Beau, painting Zoe’s nails and even throwing the ball to Theo. I’ve been able to make some dinners and lunches-something I love to do-but other than that, Evvie and I are bound to each other with little leeway for much else. I’ve spent much of my days the past week in tears, mostly from missing out on these things. My mom and Justin have helped in that way tremendously-she’s here so often cooking and Justin is always playing with them, giving them the one-on-one attention that they all have been craving lately. I’m so fortunate to have our family around us, but I’m also trying to find my zen about being noticeably absent from the big kid’s lives, while being dedicated to one fragile, beautiful little baby for this preciously short time.


She’s truly a spectacular baby. I’m memorizing every single little dimple on her face, her expressions and the sweet little noises she makes when she’s dreaming. I wish I would have had this clarity with my oldest especially, but I think that’s just how parenthood goes. I remember more about how much of a failure I felt like to him rather than any of his sweet little baby trademarks.


Somewhere along the lines, we grew up together, me and Jack. At seven years old, he’s the steadiest in his tone and moods of anyone in the house (save the dog), and he’s made sure to understand just as much as he wants to about his baby sister. While Beau and Zoe are incredibly interested in baby Evvie, Jack has made it a clear point to check up on me instead. He asks me how I’m doing, or if he feels that something is amiss, he checks to see if I’m OK. This boy takes care of my heart in ways that I never knew were possible, and his maturity has become so evident even in the last 12 days.

Something about having my fourth baby made me expect that I would be an expert at parenting. Nothing could be farther from the truth, in fact. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s that there isn’t anything you can expect for sure and it’s a waste of energy to even try. That’s the fun part though, and what keeps me going lately.

One thing is for sure, though: Babies will always be wonderful and smell delicious.


I can’t believe this is my last time doing this. Fortunately my heart is much more content than my mind.

Join the Conversation


  • What a beautiful family you have. Thank you for your honesty. I felt much the same way after my 3rd. You make me feel normal and I appreciate that so much!!

  • I love the reality in your posts. I don’t have kids of my own, but I sit for a lot of families with infants and little ones; finding a new normal is always challenging, but oh so worth it. Sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m not a mommy, & can never be one. Your stories & pictures somehow make up for that void in my life. Thank you for sharing and God bless.

  • Your photos and words leave me speechless. For oh so many reasons my husband and I don’t have children so I never really “got” it about the emotions of having kids, but your posts give me a glimpse into the most beautiful world.

  • I don’t usually comment here, but thank you for your honesty. It’s finding a new normal and a different beauty in your life. Hope y’all continue to do well.

  • Congratulations. She’s so beautiful and what you write about Jack and his awareness of you makes my heart ache. They are ao wonderful, so young, aren’t they? xoxo

  • Thank you for taking the time again to share again with us about your joys, struggles and surprises. I appreciate the gift you have of your words and beautiful photography.

    How sweet of Jack to be so concern of you and your needs as your care for Evangeline. What a special little boy. You are truly blessed with the loving family that you and Justin are working to grow and nurture. Thank you for allowing us to have a glimpse into it.

  • That fourth baby is so perfect. We have been there done that and I’m so much more aware if what truly matters. Enjoying the ride, one last time. Enjoy that fourth baby as well as the rest. It’s so sweet to see them all grow together and the bonds they make with each other.

  • She’s so perfectly beautiful. And so beautifully Shyba! So glad you’re
    finding normal again. Just take your time.

  • Our kids are now 26 and 22 and I still remember bringing home that other baby like
    it was yesterday after reading your blog. Don’t be so hard on yourself, be patient and rest when you can. I wish someone would have told me to enjoy the moment and to let others help when you are overwhelmed. Don’t blink these precious days fly by.

  • I love jack’s concern for you. He will be a fine man and good husbank some day. Evvie looks so much like beau when they are napping. The time is so precious when they are young. I have two grown daughters 23 and 29. I often wish I could go back in time at least for a little while. Thank again for taking the time to write, post pictures and generally make us all feel connected. Lots of love to you and your family. xoxo Dana

  • Jack is looking so grown up. You’ve been a great mother . To him if he is sensitive to the needs of others. I’m a retired neonatal RN and am always overjoyed to see great parenting.

  • You have such a special way of making us who have never met feel like we are right there with you on this journey. THough we may not be at the same stageโ€ฆwe have more in common than not. Thank you for sharing this gift of you family and your heart with us. You’re doing a wonderful job and your family is a delight! (Amazing what a little Mini-Me Evvie is)

  • And I like Daddy and Beau’s matching haircuts!

  • You are truly blessed and each time I read your blog, it always brings tears to my eyes. You are a gifted writer and express what you’re going through so beautifully.

  • Oh, momma. You’ll get there. Eventually. Our #4 just turned three months, and I am gradually starting to feel more balanced. ‘Normal’ is always changing and flowing-and I feel like reading your posts, you’re really good at that. Your honesty and gentleness shines through in your writing, and your family is blessed to have you. Cry it out, but don’t wallow. I know it’s hard. Our four are pretty close in age to yours, and it’s so hard somedays just to remember if you’ve given everyone ‘enough’ attention. Just hang in there.
    And Evangeline is a beauty-we are truly soaking up our littlest also. Newborns are the sweetest, and it’s over so quickly.

  • Your description of Jack brought tears to my eyes. You have amazing children. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Thank you so much for being so honest. You have no idea how badly I needed to read your post.

  • I love to follow theo and beau on Instagram, but this was the first blog post I’ve read, and I’m so glad I did tonight. I have a new baby as well, and a wonderful little toddler boy, but I have been feeling so similar to you! It is so overwhelming, and thank you for being so honest–helps me feel like I am not the only one having a rough time finding a new “normal”

  • Evvie is a doll. You and your family are so blessed! Breastfeeding is hard…I have been struggling with it too. I had a breast reduction 15 years ago so I knew going into it that it would likely be difficult for me; it is so frustrating when your body doesn’t work the way you think it should or the way you want it to! I love these images of your beautiful family though! Looks like you had a great time at the pool! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • We brought home number 2 a little over a week ago and I’m struggling with normal as well. Especially how to balance my time and keep consistent routines. The tears are never very far away. Thanks for letting us know that it’s ‘normal’ for all if us!

  • Beautiful post as always…Your family is lucky to have you.

  • What a beautiful post! I’m not a mom (yet), but I’m the oldest of four kids, and I remember so clearly when my youngest brother was born – I was a little older than Jack. My brother was born with Down syndrome, so I know my sister and brother and I didn’t get a whole lot of 1-on-1 attention for the first couple of months (he had a minor heart issue and wouldn’t nurse). What I remember, though, was being so happy that my grandmother was there, and loving having a baby around (and showing him off to my friends!) – I don’t remember my parents being distracted or feeling left out. I hope – and I’m confident – that your kiddos will remember this time this way, too! I hope you can give yourself a little grace and let the dust settle without worrying about being everything to everyone. You’re an amazing mom!

  • Gentle with gourself, sweet mama. Such a vulnerable time, the first four weeks!! You are doing great!! And you can only feed one babe at a time, literally and metaphorically. So glad you have good support and the presence of mind to eat well and care for yourself. Many blessings to all of you from just up the 880 in Berkeley.

  • I read your first entry and saw your photos after the baby was born, and thought, HOW is she taking photos already? How is she already adjusted? I just had number two, and at 10 weeks I’m just beginning to see the light. Hang in there!! The tears come and go, and will for a while. Just know that “normal” describes all new mothers, whether it’s with the first or the tenth!

  • I love how you talk about a subject that seems taboo and not explored in many readings, that ‘normal’ feeling; the feeling of having a new baby and trying to find your world all over again. Not only does it affect the whole family, but moms especially. It is never mentioned to expectant moms of the 2nd + baby (other than how it can be a tough transition, what does that even mean) how mentally exhausting/challenging is is to find you way back to being the family you were, even though you know you will never be that family again, that in itself is sad to come to grasp.
    I enjoy reading your braveness, it’s refreshing and always quite the adjustment!

  • I really enjoy reading your blog. You’re a great writer with a beautiful family. I just had my third and we’re definitely trying to get into the swing of things. You make it look easy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thank you for this beautiful post. I’m not a mother, but I imagine your honesty is very encouraging to those that are. I do know that any 7 year old as caring and mature as Jack is that way because of great parents. Your children are beautiful, inside and out!

  • First of all, thank you for your honesty.
    Sounds to me that you are all doing fine and I’m convinced that Jack’s sweet behavior is a result of his good upbringing. So a big big compliment for you and Justin. You are raising a loving and caring family. No need to be insecure! Nobody is and will be perfect, raising kids (including the ones on four paws) is the most difficult job in the world. Just enjoy the ride!

  • How funny, your Evvie is one day older than my Vander. I, too, am struggling with finding normal and your words brought tears to my eyes. Vander is my second son and as I feel like I miss my oldest so much, I can’t imagine what it must be like with three other little ones. Everyone talks about the loss of sleep but no one really warns you about the emotional toll of not being able to spend as much time with your older ones when a new baby comes. I know its a short time and I too am enjoying every part of my baby, even the loss of sleep. As crazy of a time as it is right now, I wish I could say my heart is content with just two but I don’t think it is.

  • You have such a beautiful family and you are such a great mother! You brought tears to my eyes ! I do not have kids but through your stories I live your emotions and wish one day to be able to have a family just like yours!
    Congratulation for everything you do and thank you for sharing all this.
    Evvie is pure perfection!

  • So beautiful!
    I work for a news station in a huge market and it is sometimes difficult to see past all of the negativity and destruction that I write about and see all day. Reading your posts seem to create a mental equilibrium – knowing there is such joy, beauty and light. I thank you for that.
    I feel for you every time I see a negative comment about “sponsored” posts. Not only are you providing a service for your readers (navigating consumer markets is so time consuming and confusing), you’re helping to provide financially for your little loves that we all enjoy reading about. You do you, mama! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mazel Tov, she is beautiful, and so is your while family! Lovely post, thank you for taking the time to share.

  • I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first child and every time I visit your blog I end up crying! Thanks for sharing your beautiful family x

  • You are very, very, VERY lucky, to have found and then created such a great family. I really appreciate your honesty about how life with a newborn goes–the good and the hard. She’s gorgeous, and hooray for things slowly finding a rhythm.

  • Oh, tears are normal, and I remember feeling torn between savoring moments w/ my youngest and feeling I was neglecting my older children. But this passes so quickly, in just weeks, you’ll be toting her around and spending time w/ your older kids and it will feel like old hat. The first two weeks are the adjustment period, and remember, your kids are hard wired to love and accept new family members. It is us moms who are too hard on ourselves, and feel lacking when we can’t keep everything running as it once did. But go easy on yourself, I promise you will only feel like little A has strengthened the bond, and this will all fall in to place very shortly. Then this feeling will seem like a blip on the radar of your journey.

  • I think you are doing an amazing job, what beautiful children!

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