The Five Best Things About Being a New Dad

Being a new dad is awesome! I’ve talked quite a bit about some of the difficulties of being a new dad. This post is dedicated to the best parts of being a new dad.

  1. An Immensely Full Heart

baby-feet-1527456_1920You know that feeling where something amazing happens and your heart just swells up? Your heart feels so full that it might burst? That feeling happens pretty much every day as a new dad! Justus provides so many moments of joy. The feeling is caused by little things: a radiant smile that covers his whole face, a cooing response to something I say to him, or a high pitched noise that is unexplainably cute. But my heart feels most full watching him sleep; he is completely at peace and incredibly adorable.


  1. A New Level of Admiration for My Wife

My wife Joy does an incredible job of caring for Justus. She is an amazing mother. She has tremendous instincts, and she works hard. I could not do what she does. Both because I am not physically capable (definitely not going to be breast-feeding Justus anytime soon) and because I’m not wired to be a mom. I love seeing the connection that Joy has with Justus. It is beautiful. And I appreciate all she does for him, and admire her more than ever.

  1. Greater Appreciation for my Parents

I don’t know how many times I heard something like “You’ll understand when you have kids of your own” from either my parents or someone else’s. I never doubted it the truth of that statement. But now that I am a parent, I actually understand it. The love that I have for Justus is deep. I would give my life to save his in an instant. And even after just four months, I am realizing just how difficult raising a child is. I think back to how my parents raised me, and how difficult I was at times, and more than ever I appreciated all they have done for me.

  1. Play Time

I get to play every night! At this early stage of Justus’ life, play time is basically me holding him, bouncing him, and moving him around. I do all the work, but I also get to see his face light up with smiles and hear him make excited, happy noises. It’s so fun!

  1. Seeing Him Grow and Learn

He changes every day; he gets a little bigger, and he’s constantly developing. He is becoming more and more responsive to us, which is truly amazing to be a part of. He is getting stronger, and recently rolled over from his back to his stomach for the first time! It’s amazing that such little things can make you feel so proud.

I love being a dad. It’s not all fun and happy; it is challenging and demands selflessness. But it is so awesome, for the reasons above and more!

Becoming a Parent: Accepting Help, Achieving Balance, and Dodging Urine

Each of the topics in this post title could probably command an entire post all on its own. But it would require more time on my part, and since I have a marriage, a 4-month old child, and am working multiple jobs, I’m going to quick-hit them all.

But first, a picture of my adorable son!



Accepting Help

It can be easy to be too dependent on ourselves: we don’t want to burden other people with our responsibilities. They have their own responsibilities to deal with. This should not stop us from asking for help when we need it. At times in life, we will need help, and at other times, we will provide the help. When you become a new parent, you have to cast qualms about bothering others aside, and ask for help. In our case, we really didn’t even have to ask; we had family and friends who offered to help. Had they not offered, it would have been more difficult to ask and accept help; we may have felt guilty about it. But that was not the case, and I’m very thankful for that!

I’m sure we would have survived on our own, but the help we received from our parents and others was so helpful in those first days and weeks with our new child. Having meals prepared for us, having help watching Justus, and just knowing that if we needed something we only had to ask helped relieve a lot of pressure and stress. Those first weeks were stressful, even with the help. That is the reality of caring for a completely dependent new-born baby.

The reality also is that even though things are a little easier now – Justus sleeps pretty well at night, takes a nap during the day, and is able to entertain himself for stretches – we will always need the help and support of family and friends as we raise our child. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is not to help someone else out, but to ask and receive help yourself. The root of this is pride. I suspect that as time goes on, it will become harder to ask for help in our parenting. This is dangerous. It will be important that we remember the lesson learned in those first weeks and months: help is available when we need it. It’s okay to ask for it.


Achieving Balance

When you become a new dad, you can just throw balance out the window for a while. Don’t even try. Your focus becomes caring for your wife, and caring for your child. Because this is new, it takes time to learn how to really do that. Once you get a feel for what your wife needs from you, and what your child needs from you, you can start worrying about other things again.

Justus is four months old, and I feel like we have gotten past the most difficult early stages. We have settled into somewhat of a routine. Joy has been incredible, and does an amazing job of caring for Justus. I’m so thankful for that! I am able to go to work during the day, and even some evenings, and never worry about Justus. I worry about Joy, because I know how difficult it is to take care of a little baby all the time! But she handles it so well.

But even now, balance is difficult. We get pretty good sleep again, we are able to go on walks together, and we can go do social things – we went to a wedding last weekend! But other things are still difficult: we rarely eat a meal together (one eats while the other holds Justus, because he’s wide awake and active in the evenings) and we don’t get much time alone (we went out with just the two of us for our birthdays and our anniversary). Romantic time together is rare. Balance is difficult because so much of our time and energy goes into caring for Justus.

If we plotted the level of balance on a spectrum from 1 to 10 with 1 being no balance and 10 being perfect balance, we were at a 1 when Justus was born. Four months in, and I would say the balance has moved up to around a 5. As we continue to put more effort into other areas of our lives, the balance will continue to improve. The key is understanding the importance of balance – a life completely focused on our child is not healthy for us or our child – and making the effort to achieve it.


Dodging Urine

A skill that you quickly acquire as a new dad of a healthy boy is the ability to dodge urine. Let me paint you a picture. It’s been a while since his diaper has been changed, so you place him down on his back and unbutton the bottom of his onesie. You get a fresh diaper and put it in position beneath the current diaper. You take the old diaper off. You use a wet wipe to clean him off. While setting aside the wet wipe but before getting the fresh diaper on, a stream of urine shoots straight up with surprising velocity.

Because you are leaning over him, this urine hits you. Depending on your positioning, this urine could hit you in the eye, in the chest, or go in your slightly open mouth. It could hit your arm, your chest, or spray straight up and then sprinkle back down over your head like a nice little yellow fountain.

Judging by the look of sheer delight on his face after this occurs, this is the highlight of his day.

The timing of when the pee comes will change. Sometimes it’s as soon as the old diaper is off; sometimes it’s while you clean him off; and sometimes it’s just before you get the fresh diaper on. You learn that you must be prepared at all times. You stand alertly, muscles slightly flexed and ready to move. You cover the pee-pee so that the pee will not shoot up, but the boy doesn’t just stay still, and you need both hands to get the fresh diaper on.

With enough practice, you learn how to change the diaper while minimizing the urine risk. If your methods falter and pee shoots out, you dodge. Once the damage is done, you clean up.

He very rarely pees while his diaper is being changed anymore. Perhaps he is trying to lull us into a false sense of safety before unleashing on us in the near future. It’s impossible to know for sure.

Where Did All The Time Go?

If you hadn’t noticed, this is only the third blog post since my son was born. He was born eleven weeks ago. My goal was, and still is, to post a new article every week. Apparently, being a new dad not only means less and worse sleep, but it consumes all the time you used to have.

hourglass-1489042_1920Remarkably, I feel like I have very little time, despite the fact that I had quite a bit of time off from my full time job. And I’m not even the parent who spends hours nursing our baby every day! I have put a lot of thought into why this is. Sure, I change his diaper, and that takes time. Yes, I spend time holding him and playing with him. But those things on their own should not make this big of a difference in how much time I have…right?

I’ve concluded that the reason I feel like I have no time is not the actual time spent changing diapers, holding him, or changing his clothes. It’s the timing of those things. You can’t do them all at once, get your couple hours of work in, and call it a day. Nope. The little tasks are spaced out randomly through the day. They are not a big deal. Just a diaper change here, a little playtime there. But you rarely get a block of time when you can get things done.

You rarely get a chunk of time to completely focus on something. When you do, it comes at the expense of your spouse. Which is okay, except that it makes doing something that was so simple and easy before – like playing a card game – very difficult now.

And I’ve got it easy…I’m not nursing Justus. When he’s really grumpy, it’s because he’s hungry. That falls totally on my wife, who has been an amazing mother. For her, particularly now that I’m at work during the day, she has to deal with nursing, changing diapers, comforting him when he gets grumpy, and even holding him so he’ll stay asleep. If she’s lucky, she’ll get an hour during the day when he will sleep by himself. An hour! Oof.

The crazy thing is that it’s all worth it. It’s difficult, and not always fun. But it is always worth it. I am crazy about our little boy. I love holding him, playing with him, and I even enjoy changing his diaper. How weird is that?!? That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say!

There is also a light at the end of the tunnel. It is pretty dim right now. We are praying for the day when he will sleep more than 3 hours at night without wanting to eat. We are looking forward to the time when he will be able to entertain himself for stretches of time when he’s awake. But at the same time, we don’t want him to grow up too fast. He’s so stinkin’ small and cute and adorable! And once he can crawl, and walk…that will bring another set of parenting challenges.

All the time has not disappeared; it has been invested into caring for my son. What that means right now is that it’s difficult to find time to blog, to exercise, to read, and all the other things that I used to have time for. As he grows, my time will continue to be spent caring for my son; what that looks like will change, but I know he will need me at every stage of life. I’m excited for that! I’m thankful to have him, and to be his father.

A Dedication

On May 25th, 2016, Justus was born. He is our earthly son, and I am his earthly father. But the One he really belongs to is his Heavenly Father, God. God has entrusted us with the great responsibility of raising Justus; of caring for him, loving him, providing for him, and teaching him.

Our deepest desire for Justus is that he would love and follow Jesus. As a sweet little newborn baby, he can do no wrong. But as he gets older, his human nature will come through. Our hope for Justus is that he will grow to acknowledge his sin, repent of it, and turn his heart to God. We believe that God has a grand purpose and design for Justus. He has been fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Joy and I do not know what Justus will become. We don’t know what his personality will be, and what his strengths and weaknesses will be. But God does.cross-1149878_1280

We offer him to the Lord! In our humanity, we do not possess the ability to mold and make Justus into who God desires him to be now any more than we did when he was in his mother’s womb. We completely depend upon the Lord for strength, patience, love, and wisdom. We will do our very best. We are imperfect humans, with a tendency towards selfishness. We pray that God will refine and change us so that we can be a part of His continued molding of Justus.

Parents alone do not raise a child. We are so thankful for our family and friends who have been such a huge help to us already through our marriage, pregnancy, and now with our newborn son. We will continue to depend on and need the support and help of our family and friends, and know that through them God will also work, helping us and helping Justus. What a blessing!

As with David in Psalm 139, our prayer for ourselves and for Justus is this: That God would search and try our hearts, see if there is anything wicked within us, and lead us in the way everlasting. Thankfully, Jesus paid the price for our wickedness, and we can have everlasting life through Him. Above all, we hope and pray that Justus will know and love Jesus.

A Dramatic Entrance

Just over three weeks ago, my wife gave birth to our first son, Justus. We are all home, healthy, and happy!IMG_9240

Life right now is pretty much how we would have hoped and expected before Joy was in labor and we went to the hospital. But the journey in between was quite different than we had expected.

The “due date” for Justus’ birth had come and gone days ago, and Joy was very ready to have our baby. As any woman who has been 40 or more weeks pregnant could attest, it’s virtually impossible to be comfortable and sleep is difficult at best. I was at home with Joy on a Tuesday afternoon when she started having some contractions – her first sign of labor. To try to speed things up later that day, we went on a very long walk with our dog. The contractions slowly got a little stronger, and we started making preparations to go to the hospital. Joy took a shower, and it was then that her water broke.

We knew that if her water broke and it wasn’t clear and scentless, that meant we should go to the hospital right away. It definitely wasn’t clear. Green. This meant that Justus had a bowel movement already, and may have swallowed amniotic fluid. A sense of urgency was already in place, but kicked into high gear, and we got everything together as quickly as we could and got out of the house.

Once checked in at the hospital, everything seemed to be fine; vitals were all good for Joy and baby. But because we knew Justus was sitting in meconium, we knew there was some extra risk involved. Thankfully, the hospital we were at has an excellent NICU, so we knew no matter what happened, our baby would be in good hands.

The labor went slowly — my poor wife. She endured hours of contractions before they became too much and she asked for an epidural. That was around 2:15 AM, and was a huge relief to her, and to me. After that, Joy was able to sleep a little bit, and so was I. Once morning came and the staff had changed over, they administered pitocin to Joy to speed things up; her dilation hadn’t progressed much since getting the epidural. The pitocin helped, and be 11:30 AM she was dilated to a 7. At 12:43 PM the nurse checked again, and she was dilated to a 10 and it was time to push!

It took a little while for the doctor and all the nurses to get ready and in position in our room. Because of the meconium (the green stuff in the water that is the babies first feces) the NICU doctor and a couple nurses also came to our room and were at the ready. The doctors had informed us that he would likely have swallowed some of the meconium, and the risk was that he would get it in his airway and lungs. After being delivered, he would immediately be handed over to the NICU team to clear out his mouth and airways; they told us that we didn’t want him to cry until they were able to clear it out, so that the meconium would not get into his lungs.

Everyone was in place and Joy began pushing at 1 PM. She was amazing, and on Wednesday, May 25th at 1:33 PM Justus was born!

Justus was immediately handed over to the NICU team, and they began suctioning. They had to suction three times to get everything out; he was having trouble breathing on his own, so they gave him oxygen. After a few minutes, he began to breathe better on his own, and Joy was able to hold him for a couple minutes. Because he had trouble breathing on his own, and because they found that he had very low blood sugar, they transferred him to the NICU. The prognosis was that he would be fine, but there was enough risk that a stay in the NICU was necessary.


At around 2:00 PM Justus was checked into a room in the NICU. I stayed with him the whole time; I hated having to leave Joy, but she was a trooper, and the nurses helping her were great. Justus had to get an IV to provide nutrients because of his low blood sugar. He really did great through the whole process! The chest x-rays showed that there was nothing in his lungs, which was our biggest concern, so that was a huge blessing!

I went down to help Joy at around 3:15 PM, and then we went up together to be with Justus again, and Joy got to finally hold him again.

The next few days were incredibly difficult. We were both exhausted, especially Joy. We were worried about Justus and didn’t know how long he would be in the NICU. Our room was a floor below the NICU where Justus’ room was. Every three hours, Justus needed to eat, so we would go up to his room, feed him, hold him, talk to the nurse, and then go back down to our own room. This was an hour to hour and a half process, so left only an hour and a half or so to rest in the room; plus we had to eat for ourselves, and Joy had to be checked by nurses and take meds, and pump every three hours. Exhausting.

Justus wasn’t eating great at first, but we really needed to get his blood sugar levels up so he could get off the IV. Joy’s milk hadn’t completely come in yet, so we were trying to bottle feed him with formula. What milk Joy did have we made sure to feed him first before any supplementing. But we had to do both breast milk and supplementing; Justus needed more calories than he would have if he had a less traumatic birth and had normal blood sugar levels. It took a couple days before he got better at eating, and before his blood sugar levels became healthy and stable. On Thursday, they began to wean him off the IV and decrease the amount he was getting. His blood sugars stayed high, and every three hours they would decrease the level by a ml. By Friday evening, Justus was completely off the IV!

Because Justus was doing well and off the IV, we were able to transfer to a different room in the NICU where the three of us could all be together. It was so nice to finally all be in the same room for the night. On Saturday, we were able to leave the hospital and take Justus home. What a relief!

IMG_9242Reality did not match all our expectations. Some of our expectations were met: very little or no sleep, stress, incredible joy and wonderment at the miracle of new life given by God, and unspeakable love for our baby boy. Some expectations were not met: we had hoped Joy to be able to hold her baby and have skin to skin contact for the first hour of his life, we had hoped she would be able to breast feed him right away, and we had expected to all be together in the same room after he was born. Those few days were way more difficult than we had expected, yet it was all worth it. It was not fun, and I wouldn’t want to go through it again… but I would in a heartbeat, because my son is worth it. He is so precious and valuable, and he is worth any amount of trial and pain. We thank God for blessing us with Justus, and for the work He will do in us and our son as we journey on in life!

Baby Room Pictures!

For those interested, I thought I’d share pictures of our baby room! All credit to my lovely wife for the decor…she’s fantastic at decorating! 

We decided to go with an adventure theme; wilderness, camping, and travel. The big map of the United States on the wall has the route from my 48 state road trip traced on it 🙂

20 Random Thoughts That Go Through an Expecting Dad’s Head

My wife and I are expecting out first child anytime now. One week from today is the due date. Many preparations have been made, and we feel ready. We are definitely excited!

This week I thought I would give a sampling of the kind of random thoughts that go through an expecting dad’s head. Here are 20 of them, in no particular order:

1 ) My poor wife. I do not envy her.

2 ) This is all my fault, I got her pregnant…will she ever forgive me?

3 ) If he has a really big head, I know she won’t forgive me.

4 ) Labor and delivery coach. I got this. I got this. Who am I kidding, I have no idea if I’ve got this or not.

5 ) What if he’s born with 6 fingers on one hand?

6 Finger Hand


6 ) Is my wife about to give birth to a future President of the United States?

7 ) Maybe he will have a superpower, like night vision or the ability to hold his breath for 20 minutes.

8 ) I wonder how soon I’ll be able to teach him to play catch?

9 ) Maybe he’ll be a professional Walleye fisherman.


10 ) Please God, help me to not try to live vicariously through my son.

11 ) I’m so excited to watch all my favorite childhood movies with him someday!

12 ) Will I really get used to poop and vomit? Or will it always be terrible?

13 ) At what age can I use him as an excuse to go on wilderness fishing and camping trips?

14 ) I wonder if I’ll ever get a good night of sleep again.

15 ) How many times will I actually throw up while changing diapers?

16 ) It’s going to be so fun watching our son and our dog play together! I hope he’s not allergic to dogs.

17 ) I hope he isn’t a picky eater. On second thought, as long as he likes cheeseburgers and French fries, we should be good.

18 ) It’ll be nice once he’s old enough to mow the lawn.



19 ) The numbers you see about how much it costs to raise a child are not correct, right? Surely not. Please please please please not.

While many thoughts go through an expecting dad’s head, there is one prevailing thought going through my wife’s head these days:


An Obituary: The Childless Lifestyle of Scott E. Kellenberger

Note: Scott and Joy’s son is not yet born. Scott is posting this in advance of his son’s birth.

In May of 2016, at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, the Childless Lifestyle of Scott passed away due to the birth of his first son. Scott was 28 years of age. The Childless Lifestyle of Scott was joined in death by the Childless Lifestyle of his beloved wife Joy.

The Childless Lifestyle of Scott was born in Michigan, on June 30, 1987, to Randy and Karen Kellenberger. He was the fourth son of five.

The Childless Lifestyle of Scott was full and happy. He enjoyed a childhood full of activity, from playing sports with friends to games with brothers to time alone reading books. As he matured, he worked hard at school and maintained a very busy social life with his circle of friends, family, and church. Many nights were spent up late playing games and eating unhealthy junk food.

same fish. hehehe, I love catching big walleye! – Version 2The Childless Lifestyle of Scott was blessed with many summer Walleye fishing trips to Canada, with his family as a young boy, and later with close friends and family. The Childless Lifestyle of Scott conquered impossible portage trails and slayed many a mighty walleye.

IMG_0631The Childless Lifestyle of Scott enjoyed traveling with no thought of encumbrance, highlighted by an 11-day 10,000 mile+ road trip that spanned the continental US, visiting all 48 states. Many other less epic trips were enjoyed.

The Childless Lifestyle of Scott was filled with good health and plenty of sleep. Sleeping was never difficult, and there was almost always enough to feel great during the day.

The Childless Lifestyle of Scott contained enough time to exercise regularly, at least in the times in which he was motivated and not too lazy.

IMG_5684The Childless Lifestyle of Scott enjoyed watching K-State sports, Royals games, and movies with his wife, the Childless Lifestyle of Joy. Their Childless Lifestyle together included many quiet evenings with their dog Georgia, relaxing, talking, or playing games. Their Childless Lifestyle enjoyed Saturday mornings sleeping in and enjoying coffee and breakfast together. Their Childless Lifestyle also included nights at the KC Symphony, camping trips, and vacations at the beach.

The Childless Lifestyle of Scott was preceded in death by the Childless Lifestyle’s of his older brothers Brent, Galen, and Neal. The Childless Lifestyle of younger brother Ned survives.

Though the Childless Lifestyle of Scott is no longer with us, a fuller and more fulfilling lifestyle has taken its place. The Child-Filled Lifestyle of Scott will enjoy more meaning and growth, more joy and happiness. How this will be is somewhat of a mystery for now, but without doubt is true.

No Memorial Service will be held for the Childless Lifestyle of Scott. In lieu of flowers, please send Jackstack Barbecue Gift Cards to TheNewDad. This was the wish of the Childless Lifestyle of Scott.

A Mom’s Perspective on Pregnancy

There is only so much insight I can offer with regards to pregnancy, so this week’s post features an interview with my wife. Read on to get the real scoop on pregnancy from a woman going through it! My questions are in bold italics and her response is below. I added a comment or thought below her response, in italics.

What was the first emotion you felt when you found out you were pregnant?

I felt excited! I wanted to be pregnant for over a year and although we weren’t trying, it was always on my mind and I just couldn’t wait! When I found out, It was a surprise! I felt ready, hopeful, and very excited.

She was definitely excited, but she has her worries and fears as well. That’s normal, and it’s okay 🙂

What was the first thought you had after you knew you were pregnant?

After the initial excitement I started to think back on the past month. When did we actually conceive? How long have I been pregnant and not known it? Mostly I thought of how crummy I had felt the past month emotionally and physically and it began to make sense that I was pregnant!

Life works like that, and it’s God’s way of shaping us. Sometimes we learn something, and events that didn’t make sense before are now crystal clear. The hard part is learning to trust before we can see the whole picture.

What has been the most difficult part of pregnancy?

The most difficult part for me has been the physical changes. Eating, drinking, sleeping, moving, breathing and/or doing any physical activity has been harder and more complicated for me. Eating: I have become way more picky and temperamental about different foods and beverages. Sleeping: I can’t sleep in the same positions that I did before, so that’s been a huge adjustment. Plus my sleeping and restroom patterns have changed. Moving, breathing, and/or any other physical activity: these areas are laughably altered. I say laughably because although I don’t find pain and exhaustion funny, I do wish someone could record me trying to move, or get up off the couch, or climb two or three stairs because I am quite sure I look and sound like I’ve suddenly aged 75 years and can’t handle it.

You should see her walk these days; it can be quite humorous. Don’t worry, I only laugh because she laughs 🙂

What has been the best part of pregnancy?

The very fact that I am growing a human inside my body is amazing to me! It’s liberating and humbling at the same time. I feel so strong within myself and so blessed to be able to be a part of this process. Besides the fact that this is all a miracle from God, I love feeling my baby kick and move. Before he started noticeably moving it was harder for me to feel like he was real. After I could feel him moving I just felt so much more connected to him. Sometimes I get giddy just sitting feeling him move around!

It’s so fun to see the expression of delight on her face when our baby boy is moving around a lot inside her. At least, the times where he’s moving but not kicking her bladder or ribs. At those times, her face isn’t displaying delight. 

What’s the weirdest food craving you have had?

Pickled beets. This started after I tried them once on a salad and I started beet for blogcraving them at random times of the day or nights. Also, anything with vinegar in or on it.

This one worked well for me because we went to a pizza place that had a salad bar with pickled beets. Pizza for me, a salad with pickled beets for her. 

What are you most excited about once your baby is born?

Definitely holding him, bonding with him, breastfeeding him and kissing him ALL OVER!

Me too! Except the breastfeeding part.

What is your biggest fear for once your baby is born?

I sometimes fear that he will have some type of deficiency or not be perfectly healthy. I do not fear these things for myself, but I want my baby to be healthy for HIS sake. No parent wants to see his or her child suffer.

I have nothing to add to this. We pray for a healthy baby, and know that God is in control and He is good, no matter what. 

During pregnancy, what has been the most helpful thing your husband (me) has done to help you?

I have asked for many nightly massages from my hubby, and he has been very gracious! I notice a difference in the depth of sleep I get in a night when I receive a massage, as opposed to a night when I don’t get a massage, and although I don’t want to “put him out” I figure that I deserve it for all I am doing for our child, and if I sleep better, so will he!!! Besides that, he has been so encouraging and often thanks me for what I am doing… this is huge and always makes me feel better.

Massages are a little more difficult to give now that she’s 8 months pregnant, but I try 🙂

What would you have liked your husband (me) to do differently throughout this pregnancy experience?

More foot massages! It’s so easy to forget the feet, but they are super important and mine hurt all the time!

For the record, since learning this I’ve been doing the feet also. But I’m sure there’s more that I could be doing to help in addition to this and she just doesn’t want to make me look bad.

What advice would you give to a friend who just found out she is pregnant?

I think I would try not to give her advice unless she asked for it. Each woman is so different in her beliefs and approach to pregnancy and my advice will only be helpful to her if she wants it. I think too many people give their advice way too freely to pregnant women. It can actually be really overwhelming and disheartening if you haven’t asked for advice or inquired about a particular subject specifically. I know people mostly have good intentions but I know as a first time pregnant women that I only truly appreciated and accepted the advice of other moms if I asked for it, and not if it was thrown in my face lovingly or forcefully. I would try instead to be excited for her and be supportive.

No one ever accused my wife of not having strong opinions or feelings 🙂

If you had to give one piece of advice to an expecting mother who is reading this, what would it be?

Try to eat what you are craving within 30 minutes from the time you started craving it because after 30 minutes the thought or smell of it may either make you puke or no longer be what you are craving and this can be a very frustrating cycle.

Excellent advice!

Finally, what advice would you give to her husband?

RUN to the nearest store or restaurant that has what your wife is craving and get what she asked for. Meanwhile pray hard that once you get back to her she is still craving what you got.

So very true.

What’s In a Name? How to Name Your Child

Names are important. Names become a part of our identity. We did not choose our name, and our name is not intrinsically a part of us, like our mind, body, or soul. It is given to us when we are born, before our parents really even know our personality or traits. Yet it’s been a part of us for as long as we can remember. It’s what we hear our parents call us from our first day outside the womb. Our name is very important, and it becomes a part of our identity.

As a child, you had no choice in your name. But as a parent? The name of your child is your responsibility. Don’t mess it up! I’m only half joking. You often hear parents talk about reasons they did or didn’t choose a certain name. You more often hear people criticize a name.

“Who would name their child that?!?

“Poor kid is going to get picked on so much.”

“Good luck explaining how that’s spelled.”

Now, it’s not all negative. Certainly you hear people compliment names, probably as often as they criticize. The point is, as parents, you want to give your child an awesome name. A name they will be proud to identify with, and a name that has special meaning or significance to you. It couldn’t be simpler, right? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!

Reaching a Consensus

You and your spouse have different backgrounds, ideas, and beliefs. As with anything in marriage, you will need to work together to name your child. Talk about it, respect one another and your unique tastes and backgrounds, and reach a consensus that you both can be happy with! Hopefully this post can be helpful to you as you go through this journey together.

Questions to Get You Started

  • Do you want to name your child after someone important in your life?
  • Do you like familiar names, or more rare, unique names?
  • Do you like long names or short names? Single syllable or multiple syllables?
  • Do you care more about the meaning of the name, or how it sounds?
  • Do you want a normal spelling or an abnormal spelling?
  • Do you prefer names to be distinctively masculine or feminine?

For some of these questions, your answer may have been immediate and decided. For others, you may have needed to think it over a bit, or don’t care either way. Regardless, once you know the answers, you need to think about the more important question: why? Why do you like long, unique names that are spelled differently? Why do you want to name your child after someone? Why do you care about how it sounds? Understanding the reasons behind your preferences will be helpful as you decide what name to give your child.

Get a Baby Name Book

It’s not easy to just come up with names off the top of your head! You need to get a baby name book. I highly recommend a book that gives the origins and meanings of the names, like The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria. You can begin perusing through the book randomly, or look up specific names that you are interested in. Either way, it’s a very helpful resource!

How Do I Approach Choosing a Name?

Once you have thought through some of the starter questions, and have a baby name book to use as a resource, you need to determine what approach you want to take.

There are several different approaches you can take to finding the perfect name for your child. None of the approaches are right or wrong. It’s all about what fits you and your spouse, your personalities, and how you want to do it. The important thing is deciding together how YOU want to do it!

Hopefully one of the approaches will resonate with you, and help guide you and your spouse as you choose a name for your child! The approach you take certainly doesn’t have to fit into one of these categories, this is only a guide to help 🙂 Some of these approaches are tongue in cheek. If you can’t tell the difference… oh well.

The Approach Guide

Pre-Emptive Approach

If you’re already expecting your child, you’ve either already taken this approach, or it’s too late. My wife and I did not take this approach; I learned about it from a friend once we were already expecting. He and his wife knew they wanted kids, so they kept a notebook of names before they even started trying to get pregnant. Each time they came across a name they liked, they would add it to the notebook. Periodically, they would go through and eliminate some of the names, so it was an ongoing process. When they found out they were pregnant, they began narrowing down the list until they got down to one that they thought felt “right” for their baby.

Last-Minute Approach aka “The Inspired Approach”

In stark contrast to the pre-emptive approach, it’s never too late to take the Last-Minute Approach! Perfect for procrastinators, this approach involves thinking about and talking about a name for your child, but not making a decision until it’s absolutely necessary. This is not the approach I will ever be taking, because my personality won’t allow for it. But for some, pressure is exactly what is needed in order to make the best decision. This approach is for when the child is already born, and you still don’t know what you want to name him or her. You need to choose a name for the birth certificate, so you and your spouse summon all of your mental energy to come up with a name for your child.

Here’s a real-life example from a friend of my wife’s. This friend and her husband had not decided on a baby name yet. She went into labor, they went to the hospital, and the baby was born — a sweet, beautiful little girl. They had talked about names, and now it was time to choose. As she held her little bundle of sweetness, she turned to one of the nurses working in the room.

“What’s your name?”


“I like that name.”

She turned to the other nurse in the room.

“What’s your name?”


“I like that name also.”

The name they chose for their newborn girl? Christina Myriam. The Inspired Approach!

The “Your Turn” Approach

Also known as the “Every Other” Approach. You and your spouse take turns naming your children! This approach will work best if you have very different tastes in what and how to name your child. Maybe one of you likes long names, the other short. One likes unique, the other likes names of ancestors. This really only works if you are planning to have multiple kids. When using this approach, you still do need to let your spouse have input when it’s “your turn.” You don’t want to name your child something they hate or can’t stand; after all, the child is still both of yours. 🙂 But, the final say goes to the spouse whose turn it is.

The Gendered Approach

If you have decided not to find out what gender your child is until he or she is born, this is the approach for you! You have double duty, needing to be prepared with a boy name and girl name for when you child is born. You will need to combine this with another strategy; it can easily be used simultaneously with the “Your Turn” approach. One of you could have final say on the boy name, and the other can have final say on the girl name.

The Interactive Approach

Invite others into the process of choosing a name for your child. The decision is up to you, and obviously you are not having someone else name your child for you. This approach is best done by asking for input from people you value. This could be your parents, close siblings, or friends. But the best use of this approach is if you already have children old enough to understand what is going on. I know a couple who wanted their children to have input into naming their sibling, so they looked at lists of names together and considered names that their children liked. Exactly how much influence you let your children or others have is up to you!

The Random Approach

There are several websites that will choose a baby name for you! Just google “random baby name generator” and choose a site. The key to this approach is to go all in. You must commit to whatever names the site gives you. No flip-flopping allowed!

The Famous Person Approach

Make a list of the famous people you and your spouse like and admire – this could be actors or actresses, historical figures, sports stars, musicians, etc. Start narrowing the list down, and if you can’t get it down to one, choose randomly!

The Significant Event Approach

Name your child based on a significant event or happening in the year he or she is born. This could be historic or more personal. For instance, a couple naming their child after Jackie Robinson when he broke the color barrier in baseball. A recent example involved Major League Baseball star Ben Zobrist and his wife Julianna Zobrist. During the 2015 season, Ben was traded to the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were doing well and headed for the playoffs. Ben had never been on a World Series Champion, and the Royals had not won a World Series in 30 years. Ben’s wife Julianna was pregnant, and their baby was due around the time of the end of the playoffs. The Royals, greatly aided by the stellar play of Ben Zobrist, made it all the way to the World Series, eventually defeating the Mets and becoming World Champions. Shortly after the Royals won the title, Julianna gave birth to a daughter. They gave her a middle name of “Royal” in honor of the team Ben won a World Series title with just days before.

If something significant has happened in your life recently, you might want to consider incorporating that into your child’s name.

The Pattern Approach

If you’ve already had one or more children, you might want to consider using some sort of a pattern. For example, my wife’s name is Joy. All of her siblings names start with “J” as well. Her parents like J names and decided to follow that pattern as they named their children. Here’s wood-cube-473703_640another example: name your children with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The first child’s name could start with A, and the second child’s name could start with B, and the third child’s could start with C, and so on. Another form of the Pattern Approach would be naming each child after a relative, or after a type of flower (Rose, Violet), or something else significant or important to you. Keep the pattern going for all of your children.

The Normal Approach

This is the approach that my wife and I took. I call it the normal approach because, obviously, whatever we do is “normal.” Duh. We actually did a hybrid of the pre-emptive approach, because we started talking about and thinking about baby names before we were expecting. We talked about names that we liked or didn’t like. We eliminated names of people that we already had a personal connection with…we wanted a somewhat unique name, at least for the first name. We wanted a name that both of us liked. We did look at name websites a little, but mostly just thought through names we had heard before, or variations of them. Eventually, we came up with a name that we both liked, both for its sound, its meaning, and its uniqueness. We communicated with one another, were honest with our thoughts about different names, and went about it in a way that we both were happy with. The biggest difficulty came when we were trying to decide on exact spelling. But the end result was a name we are excited to give our child!

As you can see, there are many different approaches you can take to choosing a name for your child. What’s important is that you work together with your spouse, with whatever approach fits you best, and have fun choosing a name for your child!


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”