Just last week, Leslie Odom Jr. and Nicolette Robinson announced that they are expecting their second child next year, and they're now revealing what life has been like for their growing family — which includes their 3-year-old daughter Lucille Ruby — amid a global pandemic.
"During this time, everything's gotten smaller," Odom told POPSUGAR. "Our worlds have gotten smaller, the spaces we traffic are smaller. It has distilled things down to the most simple, and then so priorities shift. You reassess what are the things you actually need to make you happy."
"Our worlds have gotten smaller, the spaces we traffic are smaller. It has distilled things down to the most simple, and then so priorities shift. You reassess what are the things you actually need to make you happy."
His wife of eight years agreed: "We've been in this space now of really trying to be honest in the moment and look at what our real needs are at this time, as a family, but also as a community and as citizens. We've been trying to think of how we can contribute to a time where people are really in need of some lifting up, some joy, or some connection."
To that end, the couple has partnered with Carter's, the largest baby and children's apparel brand in North America, to host a virtual holiday "read-a-long" pajama party for 100 of their fans.
"It felt really in line with what we're trying to do in our own lives during this time," she added. "To be creative in finding joy and the idea of inviting people into our home in a time when people can't really go to people's homes."
Robinson also noted that their holiday traditions — which include celebrating Hanukkah in honor of her mom's Jewish heritage — "will be cozier" this year. "I've already started decorating for Christmas, which is earlier than we usually do," she said. "But I feel like we all deserve that this year."
And although "we're not super into matching in our everyday life," she promises there will be some matching Carter's Christmas PJs in the Odom-Robinson household. "Ever since Lucille was born, I've been buying matching pajamas for us every holiday season. It's something we all seem to actually enjoy." That is, Odom jokingly clarified, in moderation. "If we were doing it for every holiday, maybe not so much," Robinson added. "But it's definitely become something special and our daughter now knows is a thing we do and looks forward to it."
Still, as much joy as they seek to evoke, Nicolette is still a woman pregnant amid COVID.
"Being pregnant during a pandemic is quite an experience, and the anxiety is definitely higher, for sure," she said. "But when I'm looking at the brighter side — we're always trying to look for the silver linings during the time, right? — for me, it's the fact that we've been having to stay close to home and Les, who usually travels maybe a third of the year or probably more . . . he's been home. So it's been a very, very different pregnancy this time than the first time around where he was gone for half of my pregnancy. We actually get to share this experience together."
They also get to share in caring for their toddler more as a team now, too.
"We do bedtime every single night as a family now," Odom said. "There was no world in which we did that pre-COVID, even when I would come home from the road, Nic and I might split up those duties because we were both so exhausted."
"We do bedtime every single night as a family now. There was no world in which we did that pre-COVID."
Now, he said, Lucy has gotten used to the full-family treatment and has come to expect a specific routine, which includes a story or two — her favorites are The Rabbit Listened, Hair Love, and The Snowy Day, which Odom hinted would be one of the bedtime stories during their virtual party — as well as a short prayer and a lullaby or two.
It's served as a nightly reminder to appreciate the time spent together. Although Robinson said she's committed to "remain more present in my life," she is certainly looking toward a post-COVID future for his family. "I want to appreciate the good moments and the time with family and really take note of it."
Odom added that "there's an intimacy and an honesty we're holding onto." His goal? "My hope for the future is in the truths. I think if nothing else, my relationships are more honest after this time. I want to continue to honor that and honor the lessons we've learned this year."
Those interested in joining Odom and Robinson's virtual read-along can enter now through Nov. 19 at CartersHolidays.com.