I was taking in my life the other day and looked to my husband and said, “When exactly did these little people get here?” It’s amazing how quickly life goes by and how fast we have transitioned from newly weds, to love birds, and now to the parents of two amazing little kids. These past 6 years have gone by so fast, and we’re excited to see what God has planned for the next 60.

But who could have prepared us for the world of parenthood? Pretty much no one. With this transition, there opened up an entire universe, one to which we never knew existed. New rules, new standards, and in fact…a new you. Our lives have changed so much over the past 38 months of parenthood, and with that change has come a lot of sacrifice. Some days you look around at the mess, the laundry, the chaos, and the insanity and all you can think about is the sacrifice…but most days…most days are filled with so much joy and overwhelming blessings.

We have lost some things through the transition into parenthood, but we have gained so much more. Here are some of those things:

1. We have lost sleep: Let me put it this way, no one told me I had to be an early bird in order to put in an application for parenthood. Well….now it’s a little too late. My husband and I love us some sleep, and I look back fondly with memories of Sunday mornings, pre-children, sleeping in until 10:45am and still catching our 11am church service right down the road. No joke.

I can’t remember the last time I have actually seen 10am on my alarm clock. And on sick nights, newborn nights, and teething nights…I see a lot of numbers on that clock (2am, 4am, 6am…) none of which are 10am….

Though John and I have lost many hours of sleep over the past two years, we have gained so much joy. The mornings are a fun time for our family, and it’s incredible to be greeted by these precious little kids that love and adore you so much: to see the biggest smiles on their faces and the immense joy they have in just starting a new day. Such innocence. Such beauty. So much so, that some mornings John and I have resorted to taking turns going in to get them just because we each want to be first to see their precious smiles.

For this, I wouldn’t trade anything…not even all the sleep in the world.

2. We have lost freedom: One of the first changes I felt after the arrival of our first was the complete lack of freedom that we now had. Going from being completely independent, to now having a little life completely dependent on you definitely comes with some pressure. No more late nights out, no more midnight movies, no going out to eat past 7pm (unless you have a sick love for tantrums). Our schedules revolve around our children, and if you’re having a backyard party at 2pm…well, there’s a good chance we can’t make it, because it’s nap time (unless….you have a sick love for tantrums…).

Yet though our life has been somewhat restricted, we have learned to find so much joy in the people in our life rather than the events in our life. There is something indescribably special about spending the evening at home with the kids and playing games, doing crafts, or having a dance party. We have so much fun having picnics at home, walking to the park, and having friends come to play. We’ve learned to connect more with our family, but we’ve also learned to connect more with the friends in our lives. Though we can’t always go to the fanciest restaurants, we can have friends over for pizza, ice cream, and games. Sharing these moments with the people we love have become some of our most special memories. Forget freedom…we have each other.

3. We have lost our hobbies: It’s really a miracle that I’m even writing right now…but it’s only because both kids are in bed. But seriously, there’s a whole lot more that I’d like to do during my limited free time than write. I would love to enroll in cooking classes, go play tennis on a beautiful fall day, and sit and read books at a coffee shop. John would love to play some basketball, take up woodworking, and learn the drums…but you know what, we don’t have the time right now. Beyond our careers and our family, and after spending time with some friends, at the end of the week our time bank is pretty much spent, and our minutes don’t roll over!