A Day in the Life

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So just what DO moms do all day? We hate that question because often times it comes off as belittling. Do we just get to sit at home all day, sipping mimosas and watching HGTV while the kiddos run happy little circles around us, stopping every 10 seconds to give us a sweet kiss and a melt-your-heart smile?

Some days!

Ha! If only.

But to be fair, some people are just generally curious about what a day in the life of a stay at home mom looks like.

So here it is… a day in the life of this mom with 4 kids under 5:

*Tap tap tap* I open my eyes, pretty annoyed that someone is tapping my forehead. Who does that?! Oh, my 3 year old.

I look at the clock. 4:37am. Seriously?

"What do you need, buddy?"

"I’m awake."

Yeah. I see that. I stare groggily.

"I need to go potty."

"Oh, okay. Well just go."

"I’m scared. Come with me."

I stumble out of bed, help him to the bathroom. I know that if I send him back to his room he won’t go to sleep, and the chances of him waking up the baby are pretty high. I throw a few blankets and a pillow on the floor near my bed.

"You can sleep here, okay bud?"

He lights up. The kid loves having sleep overs on the floor in my room.

6:45 // I wake up to laughter. The girls are wide awake and something has them in hysterics. I grab the monitor and head into the living room. I don’t want the 3 year old to wake up.

I start the coffee, and begin making breakfast. Simply cereal for myself and the Big Guy,  Pancakes and banana for the kids.

                                           The calm before the storm...

                                           The calm before the storm...

6:53 //  7 month old is babbling loudly in his crib

7:05 //  4 year old runs downstairs announcing “My light turned green!!” I head upstairs to grab the two stuck in cribs; 2 year old and 7 month old.

As I’m coming back downstairs, 3 year old emerges from my room, grinning from ear to ear.

"What’s so funny, buddy?"

“I woke Papa up. I took his blankets”. His smile gets even bigger. I chuckle. Poor hubby.

7 month old gets a bottle. The kids play for a few minutes while I finish making breakfast. I set the table and ask the kids to go tell daddy breakfast is ready. We all eat together.

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After breakfast the kids put their plates in the sink then runaway like crazy people. It’s time to play puppy, apparently.

                              Everyone in the dog house!

                              Everyone in the dog house!

The Big Guy and I sit and drink coffee together for a few minutes. It’s honestly my favorite part of the day. I need these few moments with him before he heads off to work.

7:45 // 2 year old runs through the living room with no pants on.

“Where’s your pants?” I get up and find her undies and wrestle them back on her. This won’t be the only time this happens today. Wearing bottoms is a struggle for this one.

8:15 // 7 month old takes a nap

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I vacuum upstairs while I'm up there. 3 year old insists on helping. It takes 15 minutes to vacuum two rooms and one hallway.

8:30 // 4 year old, 3 year old, and 2 year old play “ballet” in the living room

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8:35 // I go to throw a load of clothes in the washer. Ugh! It’s full. How long have those clothes been in there? The smell tells me it’s been long enough. I roll my eyes and rewash the clothes. How often do I do this? Too often! I need a schedule. Like, a real schedule that I’ll actually stick to.

8:45 // I clean up from breakfast, empty the dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes.

9:00 //  2 year old makes her own food out of wooden shapes and insists on eating at the table. Then she decides to feed 4 year old.

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9:15 //  I start getting the kids dressed and do their hair for our play date this morning. Why it takes 30 minutes to get everyone ready is beyond me!

9:46 //  2 year old streaks through the living room again. Seriously, girl! I remind her that we need to wear clothes, and tell her to please go get them back on. She squeals and runs into the playroom. Ugh!

“Do you want to go to the splash park?”

“Yes! Splash park!”

“If you want to go play at the splash park, you need to get your swimsuit back on”.  She complies. Thank goodness. Battle avoided.

9:55 //  7 month old wakes up. Perfect timing!

The trio get in the van and buckle themselves in while I bring 7 month old downstairs.

10:01 //  We head out!

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We head to the splash park because it's Texas and it's already hot at 10am.

We meet our friends there and the kids run around like the crazies that they are for an hour. 7 month old hangs out in the tent with the grown ups. He gets a bottle before we leave.

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12pm //  We get home and I make lunch while the Littles whine about how hungry they are and if they will ever get to eat again. They are a dramatic group.

It takes about half a loaf to feed this crazy always famished crew!

It takes about half a loaf to feed this crazy always famished crew!

12:15 // We are all sitting at the table. An annoying fly buzzes around my head and I swat it away. 3 year old says "Mommy, say shoo fly"

I comply and give a half-hearted "shoo fly" (It is the afternoon, after all, and I haven't had enough coffee).

I kid you not, in unison, the three older kids begin singing "Shoo fly, don't bother me" and actually sing the entire song...with the right words. It's hilarious!

12:45 pm // The crib duo go down for their naps while the older two spend an hour in quiet time. The 3 year old in the play room. The 4 year old in my room. She throws a fit about how she NEVER gets to play in the playroom and there’s nothing to do at all in my room and IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!

The 3 year old announces “We don’t do fair in our family!!”

Uh, yeah. I’ve definitely said that before.

But in she goes, because I just can’t trust the 3 year old in my room. He gets into all the things. I let 4 year old pick whatever she wants to play with, and she seems content to stay put.

I don't know how it gets so crazy in such a short amount of time!

I don't know how it gets so crazy in such a short amount of time!

1:00pm //  I step into the living room. How? How did this tornado happen in here? It was so lovely this morning. But now I just want to call up a maid and have her please please please come over and make my house pretty again!

Oh yeah, that’s what I’m getting paid to do. Paid in baby spit up, toddler tantrums, and preschool misbehaviors. There’s more too, right?! There’s sweet things? Yes, of course there is. But some days it’s hard to remember.

I sidestep the explosion of blocks all over the living room floor and make my way into the kitchen. Coffee. I need more coffee.

I look at the door covered in sweet pictures that the kids have drawn for me. There it is! My heart melts. They are precious. I do this for them. I love them. I cherish them. The day in and day out of messes and fits and whininess is really really hard. But I wouldn’t trade it.

I grab some coffee and grab my Bible. It’s my other favorite time of the day. I sit and read and drink warm coffee and let my soul be fed. I NEED this to make it through the day. I can get through without it. But I am a way better wife and mom when I get filled up.

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1:30 // 3 year old is awfully quiet. Suspiciously quiet. I get up and peek into the playroom. Oh fabulous. He’s taken all of the babies diapers and stacked them on the window sill. And several others are just sticking to the window. Lovely. I  shrug. This I can handle. At least he didn’t consume another tube of maximum strength Desitin (yes that happened, and no it’s not a medical emergency. Ya know...for when that happens to you. Because doesn’t that happen to everybody?! Poison control said to just have him drink some water and be on the lookout for diarrhea. Yay.).

1:35 // I check on the other kiddos and then start cleaning up from lunch and doing other menial tasks that need to be done- that can be done easier while all the kids are occupied.

2pm //  3 year old and 4 year old come out of their rooms and can each pick one show to watch. 3 year old gets bored 4 minutes in and tries running around like a wild person. I tell him he can sit quietly and watch or go back in the playroom.

2:05 // I randomly remember the laundry that needs to be done. I go to toss my freshly washed clothes into the dryer. Roll my eyes again. A whole load of towels. At least they're dry! And I feel grateful that they are towels because folding them is a great chore for the kids! Win win! I switch the laundry and contemplate adding more clothes to the washer. But I rationalize that the chances of me remembering to switch the laundry later is really really low. And who wants to be in the endless cycle of washing and rewashing the same things?!

2:11 //  3 year old whines that he’s so hungry and he NEVER gets to eat. I remind him that snack time is after all the kids are awake. He continues to whine for 3 more minutes. Then gets sucked into the cartoon.

2:20 // I toss the towel pile onto the living room floor and cheerfully tell the kids that they get to do a chore today! They just look at me, then look at the pile, then look back at the television. After a minute they dutifully move to the floor and begin folding towels while barely glancing away from the t.v.

I stand there a bit mystified that no one at all complained. I shrug. We have been doing this for a long time now. Chores and folding towels aren't new to them. But still! They were just so compliant. I smile at them. I smile at them a bit too long. I probably look creepy. I shrug again and continue on with my own chores.

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2:54 //  2 year old wakes up. Grumpy. I thought naps were supposed to help with the grumpiness? Maybe some food will help.

3pm //  I get the 3 older kids a snack. And they all continue watching Daniel Tiger. The baby is still napping!

3:07 // 2 year old needs a drink. I hand her a drink. She throws a fit. She wants water. It is water. She wants juice. I say “No, you can have water. You had juice for lunch”. Complete throw-yourself-on-the-ground tantrum ensues. I just look at her. Part of me feels bad. Part of me wants to laugh. I calmly say “If you’re thirsty you can have some water”. I set the cup on the floor and walk away.

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3:09 //  2 year old gets up off the floor and gets her cup of water, completely content and happy.

Kids are beyond me.

3:10 //  7 month old wakes up. He gets a bottle.

3:15 //  4 year old announces she’s STARVING and can she please have some more. I tell her she can have an apple if she’s still hungry. Apparently she’s not THAT hungry and walks away to go work on a puzzle.

I realize the t.v. is still on, and get met with lots of grumpy moans when I announce we are all done watching. But the excitement of going to play outside has them forgetting anything about cartoons for the time being.

3:30 //  The kids are all dressed in their swimsuits, ready for the pool! We swim a LOT in the summer!

The babe and I sit in the little pop up tent. But it’s getting more and more difficult with him because he insists on crawling away. Why is he crawling already?! I’m not okay with a mobile baby yet. Why can’t he just stay little forever? These kids grow way too fast.

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The 3 year old is out of the pool. Eating something. “What are you eating?” I ask. He mumbles an “I don’t know” and looks down. “Please come here.” He slowly walks over, spitting as he comes. “What did you eat?”

“Salad.”

“You ate some leaves?”
“And grass and sticks”

“Buddy, if it’s not food, don’t eat it. Please don’t eat anything outside”.

Why is this still an issue? His younger sister doesn’t eat random things. Pica runs through my mind. Hmmm.

4:00 // The kids are out of the pool, just playing random weird games in the backyard. Collecting rolie polies is one of their favorite pastimes. Gross.

The baby and I head into the house. 30 minutes of trying to corral him is long enough.

I put the babe in his high chair and give him a snack. He missed out on snack time while he was napping. Cheerios and cut up sandwich. Yum.

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I munch on a few cheerios while staring out the window at the trio. 2 year old runs with a bat, trips, gets back up and yells “I’m okay!”. No one pays attention. 3 year old and 4 year old are busy picking flowers (dandelions) and placing them neatly in a pile on the bench. It’s their “collections”.

I’m super grateful for our large fenced in backyard!

7 month old yells loudly. Out of snacks. I grab another handful of cheerios and plop them on his tray. I tidy up the living room and dining room while watching the kids through our large windows.

4:15 //  I see 3 year old peeing on a tree. Once upon a time I would have told him no and to come inside to pee. But...why? Peeing outside is fun. He’s in our own backyard. Plus....his dad taught him, so, yeah.

4:16 //  I see 2 year old trying to pee on a tree. Poor girl.

“Eliza, you need to come inside to go potty. Girls go potty sitting down”

She surprisingly complies and comes in the house to go potty. I’m stunned.

“Thank you for listening, Missy! I’m so proud of you for being obedient!”

4:20 //  2 year old runs outside completely naked and 7 month old is screaming wildly in his highchair. I pick up the babe and tell 2 year old to please come in and get some clothes on. She continues to run around the yard.

“We cannot play outside without clothes. Please come in and get dressed first”. Nothing. Not even a side glance my way. Just streaking through our yard. Again, so thankful for our very tall fence!

I put 7 month old in his baby seat outside and go get 2 year old.

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Wise words from a wise mom ring in my mind “At that age you have to bring them to obedience.” I pick up 2 year old and bring her into the house. She, of course, protests loudly. Once inside I remind her that we have to wear clothes outside and I try to help her get them back on.

Meltdown ensues.

4:30pm //  I walk away from tantrum throwing toddler and remember I should probably come up with something for dinner. I need to make a meal plan. Actually, I have a meal plan. I need to stick with my meal plan and actually buy the necessary ingredients to make those meals.

Hiring a chef might be a good investment. I remind myself to talk to Hubs about that when he gets home.

4:32pm //  2 year old comes over and says “Sorry mommy” and hands me her swimsuit. My heart melts. I always describe her as a Sour Patch Kid. She can be super mean one minute, but she’s also very quick to apologize and make things right. She has the sweetest little personality.

I help her get dressed and she runs back outside.

4:40 // I bring 7 month old back into the house. He quickly eyes the floor and suddenly seems eager to get under the table and eat all the cheerios he dropped earlier.

4:42 //  The trio come barging into the house, apparently dehydrated. After consuming gallons of water, I tell them we’re all done outside and we need to get out of our swimsuits. Thankfully they aren't wet anymore. Thank you Texas and your crazy summer heat! The kids insist on undies only. I don't really care, we're not going anywhere. Have at it.

4:50 // I ask the kiddos to please help me clean up.

We all sing the clean up song and start picking up the random toys and clothes around the house and putting them back where they belong. I turn on some music and we dance some of the crazy out before Daddy comes home.

5:00 //  I remember again that I need to make dinner. I look through the fridge and the freezer and decide on baked chicken and vegetables. We basically eat this 5 times a week. Because it’s easy. And it’s healthy. And I don’t have a plethora of dishes to wash. It’s a one pan dish and I love the simplicity of that!

I gather my few ingredients and toss them into the pan and put the whole thing in the oven. Easy breezy!

5:06 //  2 year old comes in the kitchen….naked.

“Where are your clothes?!”

“I go pee-pee!”

“Did you go pee-pee in the potty?”

“I do it myself!”

“Great! Did you wipe?”

“I wipe myself!”

“Did you wash your hands?” Obviously she didn’t wash her hands. Duh. She can’t reach the sink. I pick her up and whisk her to the bathroom. We wash hands and then she quickly runs away before I can put her undies back on her. Insert eye roll here.

5:10 //  4 year old comes crying. 3 year old took the ball she was playing with.

“What should you do about it?”

“I don’t know!” Cries get louder.

“Maybe you could ask him to please give it back?”

She throws herself on the ground and cries even louder. As if that were even possible. I look at the clock. We’re so close!

 

“Okay!! Uppy ups! (I say weird things sometimes…) Let’s go!” 4 year old stops crying, probably stunned by my sudden burst of energy.

“Pax, that wasn’t kind. We don’t take things from people. Please give it back.” 3 year old tosses the ball near 4 year old.

“Thank you! Okay, Papa is coming home soon. Yay!!” In my own excitement I accidentally rile up the kids and the chaos of running and yelling commences. I shrug. At least they are excited he’s coming home!

I do my best to tame the crazy with mega blocks. I pull them out of the playroom closet and tell the kids to try and build the tallest tower in the world.

5:16 //  I hear a chorus of yelling. Apparently 7 month old knocked over the tallest tower in the world.

 
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5:17 //  The Big Guy walks in the door! I’m sure he’s overwhelmed by the loudness of the welcoming party.

5:40 //  We all eat dinner together and share our favorite part of the day and our not favorite part of the day. It’s one of the best parts of my day ;-)

6pm //  We start our bedtime routine; go potty, brush teeth, get jammies on. The older 3 kids each pick one book and we take turns reading them, then we sing several songs.

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6:20 //  7 month old gets his last bottle while we finish up our songs.

6:30 // I take the boys in their room, sing the night night song, and put the baby in his crib. 3 year old climbs into his bed and I snuggle with him and tickle his back for a minute.

6:35 //  I go into the girl’s room, sing the night night song and put 2 year old in her crib. 4 year old whines that she just can’t fall asleep. I remind her that she doesn’t need to worry about falling asleep. All she needs to do is lay down and rest.

6:40 //  I come downstairs to my Handsome Fella cleaning up from dinner and the whirlwind of the evening.

I breathe a sigh of relief. I did it. I made it through another day. The kids are all still alive, we had lots of fun, we shared our big emotions, maneuvered through all the tantrums and we survived it all!

 

*not all of the pictures are from the same day. I mean, who can possibly capture every moment in one single day?! Well, I'm sure some can. But this lady can not

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Posted on May 15, 2017 and filed under life with littles, Four under Four.

A Redemptive Birth Story


20 minutes from the hospital, contractions are 2-3 minutes apart and coming on STRONG! We head our normal route only to discover night construction. Really?! Right now?!  We head down an alternate path and I quietly fight through the intense pain, trying not to panic. I do not want to have this baby in the van, on the highway. I bear through each painful contraction and try to focus on breathing. I'm trying to remain calm so that Phil doesn't freak out. I don't want him to know I'm worried we won't make it to the hospital.


Rewind 8 days. It's September 23rd. It's a date that brings so many emotions. A year ago we lost a precious baby on that day. But God was gracious and oh so loving, and a few months later we conceived again. The due date: September 23rd. It was a beautiful story of God's redemption. I was convinced that our sweet boy would be born on his due date. But when the day came and went, I was sad and confused. My mom was in town for just a week, and now I wondered if she'd even make it for his birth.


If this miracle baby didn't come when I anticipated him, I knew that it was for a purpose. But I just couldn't see it. I was heartbroken when my mom left a week later and the baby still had not come. Still, I had to trust God. This was His story, this was His baby, and He could see things that I couldn't.


The day after my mom went home, my husband ended up in the ICU. He had gone to the doctor that day and was immediately sent to the hospital for seriously high blood sugar levels. It was a very scary experience, and it was then that I realized God's purpose. How could I have managed all of this with a newborn? What if I would have been in the hospital when Phil went to the hospital? What if he had never gone to the doctor because we were having a baby? God knew exactly what He was doing.


While there, my best friend called and announced that she was flying out to help me. She clearly knew that my life was in chaos and that I needed some serious help. Afterall, I was 41 weeks pregnant, had littles needing lots of care and attention, and a hubby that was in the hospital. It was crazy for sure! The medical staff were able to get everything under control and Phil was sent home on Friday evening. The next morning my friend flew in.


We spent the entire day together, which was so amazing because it had been a year and a half since we had even seen each other. I was grateful to spend time with her, but also very thankful that she was there to help wth the kids.


That evening we decided to go to Target and walk around. Maybe more walking would get this labor going and we'd finally get to meet our sweet boy.  Also, we were in dire need of some icecream and other random junk food. You know, the necessities when visiting with a long time friend and catching up on life. While there I started having very strong contractions. We decided to leave because I was looking pretty awkward with all the stopping, stomach clutching and grimacing.


Once we got back home we decided to time the contractions because they were so intense and felt so close together. Turns out, it felt that way because they were very close together. 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds each. I thought it would be wise to wait awhile, just to be sure. I'd never gone into labor on my own before and I really wasn't sure if this was it. I didn't want to jump the gun only to be sent home disappointed. I thought contractions started slowly and gradually became more intense and closer together. Which is another reason why I thought this was false labor. When contractions started they were immediately very painful and close together.


But the contractions just continued to get stronger and closer together. During this time of being uncertain, Phil was gathering all of our needed supplies; hospital bag, car seat, starting the van. He wasn't as uncertain as I was. I started to feel excited that this was actually happening! We had never experienced this aspect of birth before. Never had we timed contractions and gathered the hospital bag. Never had we wondered if now was the time to head to the hospital. All of the other three had been induced because they were past due. We had scheduled inductions with them. This was a whole new experience and it was so exciting!


By the time we left, contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I suddenly felt very panicked. Why had we waited so long?! The hospital is 20 minutes away!


And unfortunately the route we normally take to the hospital was a construction zone. We made a last minute decision to take an alternate route, and I'm so grateful we did. I'm certain we wouldn't have made it to the hospital in time if we hadn't.


Phil sped down the highway while I quietly tried to breath through each contraction. Trying to remain calm so my husband didn't freak out actually helped me get through each painful contraction. I knew I didn't want to have the baby in the van and so I was somehow able to labor more quietly and peacefully, if that even makes sense. 


We finally made it to the hospital, but couldn't figure out where to park. Everything we had been told at the hospital tour was a lie! We had known exactly where to park, where to go in, how to get up to the right floor. But that night, for some reason, they  had changed things up. We ended up parking in the parking garage, taking the elevator to the street, and walking across the street to the hospital. I had made Phil leave everything in the van because for some reason I still thought that maybe, just maybe this wasn't real labor.


When we finally got to the hospital, Phil hurried to get me a wheelchair. I must have looked pitiful with the awkward waddling and the stopping and weird grimacing every 2 minutes. As soon as I sat in the wheelchair my water broke. And it was then that I realized there was no turning back. This baby was coming!!


We wheeled around the main floor for a stupid amount of time trying to figure out how to get to labor and delivery. I wanted the other people there to be just as panicked as I was. Couldn't they see that this baby was about to be born in this wheelchair?! Finally someone  directed us to head in that general direction, pointing casually down some hall. But again, we had no idea where we were going. Eventually a security guard showed us the way.


We got up to labor and delivery and I said "My contractions are 2 minutes apart and I'm so sorry but my water broke all over your wheelchair!" Why was I so concerned about the wheelchair? I was immediately wheeled into a room and told to change into the hospital gown. My midwife checked me and I was only 5cm dilated. I felt like crying. I thought for sure I was further along. How could I manage these contractions if I still had such a long way to go?


I announced that I needed the epidural. I could tell that my midwife was trying not to smile. She just said "We can order it, but...I'm not sure it'll make it before you have this baby." I said ok, but inwardly I knew that I needed to get the epidural or I wouldn't survive the next several hours. These contractions were extremely painful and so very close together. 


I sat on the birthing ball while the nurse started the IV. Suddenly, before she was even finished I felt like I needed to start pushing. I frantically said "You need to hurry because I think I need to push!". I think I startled her because she looked at me with panic in her eyes and quickly finished the IV and ran to get the midwife. I got back in the bed and she checked me again. Dilated to a 7-8. What?! I started to really panic. What was happening?! Why wasn't I further along?


Looking back now, I should have realized that going from a 5 to a 7-8 in a matter of minutes probably meant something significant. But all I could think about at the time was that I wasn't a 10 and I really needed to push this baby out.


After she told me I was a 7-8, I suddenly felt this intense need to go number 2. I let my midwife know and she said "OKAY! Here we go!" and started to lower my bed. And literally one big push later and our son was in my arms. 


There were no lights on, the bed wasn't even set up to give birth, there was only the nurse, my midwife and Phil in the room. It was a quiet ordeal and it was absolutely amazing. Gideon was immediately placed on my chest and he stayed there for the next hour. It was a beautiful birthing experience and entirely different from any of the other 3. It was fast, intense and over before I knew it. Less than 2 hours of labor, one push, no tearing.


I arrived at the hospital at 9:30pm and Gideon was born at 10:09pm. And as for that epidural...it arrived shortly after Gideon was in my arms ;-)


Our sweet baby boy was born on October 1st. The September baby I was longing for was born the same month I was, and I feel extremely happy about that. God did indeed know what He was doing. He had all of this planned from the beginning. I thought this redemption story would end a certain way, but God had a better way. And I'm grateful that He did.


Gideon Leonard Kemp
Born at 10:09 pm on October 1st, 2016
7lbs 14 oz and 20.5 in

 

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Posted on November 18, 2016 and filed under life with littles.

Great things about having 3 under 3

I am the proud mommy of 3 little kiddos- a 2 year old, 1 year old and a 3 month old. It’s crazy! But it’s also so much fun.

 

Here are some of the great things about having babies so close together:

 

1.    There’s never a dull moment: Like….literally. There’s always something going on. Whether it’s mass hysteria, or the kids are playing nicely together, there is never a dull moment. Our house is alive with toddlers yelling and learning to say new words, diapers being changed, tantrums being thrown, toys being played with, babies crying, kisses being given and an endless supply of little giggles. Never a dull moment.
 

2.    You are already knee-deep in all things baby, so it’s not really that much more challenging to add another kid or two to the mix. Diaper changes? Already happening, no big deal. Tantrum throwing? A daily occurrence anyway, why not add more! Sleepless nights? Hey, what’s a few more kids keeping you up at night!


3.    You get great use out of the baby gear and clothes you have! We have only had to buy a few new things since our first was born. If you are doing cloth diapers, it’s well worth the investment for sure! Anytime my oldest needs new clothes I really don’t mind doling out the money because I know that her sister will be able to wear it not too long after!

4.    They always have a friend: My goal is for my kids to always be close- to treat each other with love and kindness and to be really great friends. And as the two toddlers have gotten a little older, they have become such great friends already. They love each other and they love to interact. Of course, they are not always nice to each other and sharing isn’t something they always choose to do. But they are learning. And it’s so much fun watching them play together.

                                                                                   They seriously always want to be together                                                                                        (for better or worse, but always together)!

                                                                                   They seriously always want to be together 

                                                                                     (for better or worse, but always together)!

 

5.    Predictable Nights: I am a homebody. So is my hubby. We haven’t always been this way, but slowly we have grown fond of spending a quiet evening at home. Because we have three little bits, we are afforded that luxury night after night. The kids go to bed at 7pm and we know that the next few hours are ours. It’s really quite great.

6. Always an excuse: Not that we ever want to get out of doing things (uh hem)....but if we did, it's a very valid excuse to say we have little kids that need us. Sorry, not tonight. Maybe in 5 years?

7.    Afternoon quiet/nap time: My kids are young enough that they still take afternoon naps. It’s a glorious 2-3 hours of quiet time that I have most days to relax, nap if I want to, or get things done. It’s my time, and with 3 very needy individuals vying for my attention all day long, it’s a much needed time!

trio4.jpg

8.    People come to us: Most people are aware of the struggle of taking 2 toddlers and a baby out of the house. And if they aren’t, well one visit with us and they will be! And while I do enjoy getting out of the house sometimes with the kids, it’s really nice that most people will insist on coming to MY house to visit. Of course, this may be because they can make a quick escape if things get to crazy, or maybe they aren’t interested in cleaning up the mess that the kiddos are likely to make. But regardless, I’m grateful that people choose to come to us since it’s always a struggle to leave the house with my crew.

9.    We will have these crazy busy sleepless baby and toddlers years out of the way in one fell swoop! It’s kind of nice to think that we will not have to do the baby thing all over again when these kiddos are older.

                           They wake through the night and are early risers. They are lucky they're so cute :-)

                           They wake through the night and are early risers. They are lucky they're so cute :-)

Now obviously there are drawbacks to having 3 so close together. I’m not going to paint an unrealistic picture here and tell you that having several young kids is a piece of cake. We all know that the baby and toddler years are some of the craziest.

It’s challenging enough to get sleep with just one kid, let alone 3 of them! You may save money on small items that the kids can share, like clothing, but you may have to spend more on big ticket items, like cribs and strollers. Currently, all three of our little nuggets are in cribs! Life is a whirlwind and sometimes it takes every ounce of yourself to just keep your head above the water. Laundry. Has anyone mentioned how much laundry you need to do when there are 3 tiny people that make HUGE messes?! It’s insane. So yeah, there are indeed negative aspects to having stairstep children. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. And on some days (okay, a lot of days), the negative outweighs the positive.

       See...obviously, we aren't all always happy!

       See...obviously, we aren't all always happy!

BUT…I wouldn’t trade it. Eventually, these hard days with 2 tots and a baby will be long gone. Plus it’s a joy and a blessing to watch these kids experience life and learn together.

Besides, this was a post about the GREAT things about having 3 under 3, not the terrible things!

                                                                                 My little stairstep Loves

                                                                                 My little stairstep Loves

Posted on May 26, 2015 .

Always a Spectacle

Leaving the house is always a big deal. Not just because there are 3 little people to wrangle into the van, a diaper bag to not only fill up but to remember, and bribery that begins the instant their butts hit the car seats (“if you don’t throw yourself onto the floor in public today, I will give you some chocolate! Mmm…you LOVE chocolate!”).

It’s a big deal because, with 3 kids under 3, we are always a spectacle.

Filing out of the van is always an ordeal. When I’m by myself with the kids I open up the side door, climb into the van and unbuckle the toddlers. Then I carefully lift the baby’s car seat out and set it on the floor while I get back out of the van. I grab the car seat in one arm and help the toddlers out of the van. Then with my free hand, I hold Pax’s hand and he holds Jaelyn’s hand. Spectacle.

I am blessed to have children that are pretty well behaved a lot of the time. I haven’t yet had an incident where one of the toddlers lets go of a hand. Yet.

We fill up an entire cart with little bodies. If we’re lucky we can find a cart with one of those nifty attachments; either the double seater or the tiny car in the front. The kids love the tiny car! As we walk hand in hand into the store, or as I push the loaded cart, we get looks of adoration and we get the crazy eye. You know the crazy eye. That look of utter bewilderment with a little bit of annoyance thrown in. I’m sure I’ve given that look pre-children. “Oh my gosh, are you insane? Why would you take them all out by yourself?!”

e get comments. Lots of comments. OH BOY, the comments.

“Are they all yours? “

“Are they twins” (referring to the toddlers)

“You sure have your hands full.”

“You are SO busy!”

“Wow, your life must be crazy right now.”

“You know they figured out how that happens?!”

“Got your own little day care, huh?”

And my all-time favorite “Pretty soon you’ll have your own tv show! Are you trying to compete with the Duggers?” (because 3 kids equals 19).

The list goes on and on and on. If I go out with all three kids, it’s guaranteed my little entourage will draw some looks and a few comments.

We aren’t just a spectacle when we go out either. Turns out, we are quite the ordeal even at home. Right now life is a whirlwind. I’m sure many can relate. Life is just crazy and chaotic. It doesn’t always seem like it in the day to day, when we are at home and in our element and doing our normal 3 kids under 3 thing.

But when we are around other people- people with no kids or people with older children, I realize how truly hectic and crazy life is right now. When I take a moment to sit and observe my surroundings, ya know…those rare moments when I can sit and breathe for just a second, I’m amazed at how insane it all seems to be. I wonder how I am keeping my head above the water.

I look at the overflowing dishes, the piling laundry, the toys scattered throughout the house (and why, for the love, can’t they just keep their toys in the toy room?! It’s a toy room for a reason, right?!) and I feel overwhelmed by it all.

      (The infamous toy room. This disaster literally takes them roughly 11                                                     seconds to complete)

      (The infamous toy room. This disaster literally takes them roughly 11                                                     seconds to complete)

 I see these 3 little people, so dependent on me for everything, so very needy and sometimes extremely whiney and sometimes all needing me at the same time, and I feel exhausted.

And then Pax, little mama’s boy Pax, runs up and kisses me on the arm and quickly runs off again. A real kiss. A lip-puckered-with-the-actual-smacking-noise kiss. Any mom can relate to a slobbery kiss from a little boy- especially a little boy who had previously only done the open mouthed kiss. A real kiss. On my arm. From my son.

And then there it was! My heart completely melted.

               (My baby boy. Energetic, furniture climber, rowdy, cuddly,                                                        mama's boy, heart melter)

               (My baby boy. Energetic, furniture climber, rowdy, cuddly,                                                        mama's boy, heart melter)

I survive this crazy spectacle of a life for those heart-melting moments. They are rare in the day to day. Let’s just be honest here. The minutes and the hours pass slowly and sometimes there really isn’t any physical reward for all the hard work. But the love that I have for these children is overflowing and never ending. And at the end of the day, when all 3 kids are fast asleep and I think over the day’s events and I wonder how we can continue doing this day after extremely long day, I look at those sleeping bodies in their 3 little cribs and I know. I just know that I can do this because I love them. I can do this because this spectacle of a life means something. I’m their mom. I’m the biggest influence in their lives right now. I get the amazing and very scary job of molding these tiny people and  helping to shape their characters and tell them about Jesus and pray pray pray that my influence is positive and Christ-like.

So yes, we are a sight to be seen. We are a spectacle. We are a little bit crazy right now. And most of the time I’m overwhelmed and a little scatter brained. But…BUT this is my life and this is an amazing life. So when I get those inevitable comments from people about how crazy it must be with these three little ones, I smile and say “Yeah, it’s crazy. But it’s fun too and I love it!” And that’s the honest truth!

Posted on May 16, 2015 and filed under 3 under 3.

Tips on Having Two under Two

Baby bunching. Apparently that's the term for having kids close together in age. Well, that's what we did. We bunched up our first two babes and had them 14 months apart. And ya know what...I wouldn't change it for the world.

Sure it's sometimes the most ridiculous and difficult thing- like when my toddler is having a serious temper tantrum and the baby is screaming because he wants to be fed RIGHT NOW! Or when I'm trying to get the baby down for a nap and Miss Fits decides that right then would be the most opportune time for me to hold her and yells "uppy" at the top of her lungs. Or when I'm the only one home and need to leave the house to attend a diaper party, in which case I end up carrying a baby in a carseat, a wiggly toddler, a diaper bag, a snack bag, a pack of diapers and my coffee down the most ridiculous set of steep stairs.

But most of the time it's a lot of fun. Lots of lessons in patience, that's for sure. But so much fun with these two little ones.

And so, if you decide to join the ranks in baby bunching, let me just tell you that the excitement and the joys are abounding! But it's also terrifying, exhausting, and so difficult. But the joys far outweigh anything else.
 

 

My tips on having Two under Two:

1.    Continue with your toddler’s daily routine. No matter what age your older child is when you add a new baby, there are bound to be some adjustments for him or her. Miss Fits was only 14 months old when Mr. Mellow came into the picture. I know she was too young to truly understand what was happening, but she definitely knew that something was different and became more…clingy. This new creature suddenly took up much of mommy’s time and body, and she didn’t like it! Sticking with our daily routine helped a lot, I believe. She still knew what was coming and what to expect most of the time.

Vacuuming isn't really Miss Fits daily routine. But...it was fun to watch her try. And it's a cute picture!

Vacuuming isn't really Miss Fits daily routine. But...it was fun to watch her try. And it's a cute picture!

2. Shower every 2 days. This may seem like a silly tip, but seriously…it’s important. I’ve discovered that when I actually take the time to shower, and scrub the spit up out of my hair and the weird sticky substance from yesterday’s lunch off of my arm, I feel much better. Like a human. It’s unrealistic to think that you can get a shower in every single day. I say opt for every other day. If you can’t fit a shower in, just comb your hair. Get out of your flannel pajamas or black yoga pants. Put a little make up on. Seriously, when you make a little effort to take care of yourself, you will feel so much better.

 

3. If you have steep steps, MOVE! Okay, not seriously. But you need to think about how you get in and out of your house right now with your toddler. When I was pregnant with #2 we lived in an upstairs apartment. The stairs were steep and slippery- especially when it rained or snowed. I fell down them twice while I was pregnant. Miss Fits was definitely not able to go up or down the stairs at that time, so I did a lot of carrying. And when the new little guy came, I did even MORE carrying. There were times when I had to leave the house with both kids- alone. I didn’t want to leave either one alone, so I would carry them both down those steps. It was scary! Just be aware of how you do things now, because it will get much more difficult once #2 arrives.
 

4. Accept help and forget housework! This is one thing I failed to do. I have it in my mind that I have to do it all. The truth is, you will be a better wife, mom, and really just a better person all around if you don't wear yourself out. Having a baby is hard work! Having two babies is even harder! Add the cooking, cleaning, and every other aspect of life to the mix and it can get down right exhausting! Accept the help. Nobody is offering help? ASK for help! Hire help if need be! Your sanity is at stake here. And housework...well it'll always be there. Take a few weeks and just recover from giving birth and enjoy your two beautiful babies!

When you forget the housework, you get to enjoy moments like these!

When you forget the housework, you get to enjoy moments like these!

5. Wear your baby! I was told by many that I wouldn’t have time to hold my newbie as much as I did my first born. That’s just not true. In fact, I think I held Mr. Mellow MORE than I held Miss Fits. I used the Moby wrap a lot those first few months. It was a life-saver!

Or get your hubby to!

Or get your hubby to!

 6. Teach your first born to play alone. This is a tip I wish I would have had BEFORE having the little guy. I didn’t start to teach Miss Fits to play alone until Mr. Mellow was already 4 months old. If you teach your toddler this early on, it will make your life much easier! Schedule in “play time” every morning and afternoon.

Miss Fits playing all by herself

Miss Fits playing all by herself

7. Anticipate the months to fly by. Before I knew it, Mr. Mellow was 6 months old, sitting up, rolling over and on the verge of crawling. They seriously do grow up so fast! And honestly, you’re in such a haze from little sleep and caring for two very dependent little people that all of the days seem to blend together.

 8. Anticipate the days to drag on. Okay, maybe that sounds contradictory to what I just said about the months flying by. It’s not. Days are different than months. The days…the single hours in a day can be so relentless. Seriously, it’s only 11:15am?! I’ve already changed the sheets because my toddler decided to take off her poopy diaper first thing this morning, and I’ve picked up the blocks 10,000 times already as my feet are gushing blood from stepping on them repeatedly (seriously, who thinks that blocks are kid friendly?!), I’ve changed numerous diapers, fed the kids breakfast and a snack, listened to Daniel Tiger sing “friends help each other, yes they do, it’s true” one too many times, sat down to drink my coffee- only to discover that the toddler was “helping” the baby stand up, found myself actuallywatching Daniel Tiger and singing along, cleaned pee pee up off of the floor b/c my potty training toddler decided to empty the potty seat into the big potty all by herself…relentless. On and on.

This moment.

This moment.


9. Schedule. Having a schedule is a lifesaver. I never imagined I’d be a schedule person, but lo and behold it’s kept my sanity intact. I got the two kiddos on the same nap and bedtime schedule as soon as I possibly could. They both take an afternoon nap together and then go to bed at 6:30 p.m. It’s so nice because then I have a few hours in the afternoon and several hours at night to get cleaning done, or just have some nice quiet time with the hubby.

This pic doesn't have anything to do with a schedule. But just look at how little they were!!   

This pic doesn't have anything to do with a schedule. But just look at how little they were!!

 

10. Realize that schedules will change. Just go with the flow. So maybe that sounds contradictory to what I said above. It’s not really. Yes it’s very important to have a schedule and keep the kids on a routine. But babies are constantly changing. At the very beginning Miss Fits was still taking two naps. Both kids would nap at the same time in the morning and the afternoon. But soon she dropped her first nap. The little guy was still napping 4 times a day. Eventually he went down to 3 naps, and now sometimes he only takes 2. Schedules change. It’s important to realize when they need to change and to be flexible enough to go along with it.

11. Regressive behavior. Everything I read online said that your older child will probably show some regressive behavior with the arrival of your newbie. This is probably true for an OLDER child. But Miss Fits was only 14 months when the little guy came along. She hardly paid him any attention at all. Maybe because she was so young herself? However, I will say that the chances of your firstborn exhibiting jealousy after the first several months is highly likely. It wasn’t until our newbie was 6 months old that Miss Fits really started noticing all of the attention he was getting. She suddenly wanted to start nursing again. In fact, she would cry and throw a fit whenever I would nurse him and beg to have “mama’s milk”. She wanted to be held like a baby, burped like a baby, etc. Anything the baby was doing, she wanted to do. Maybe that’s regressive behavior. But I think it’s more jealousy as she became more aware.

She is clearly too big for this swing that she MUST be in. But since the baby was in it.... Also, she's not sleeping. She's pretending.

She is clearly too big for this swing that she MUST be in. But since the baby was in it.... Also, she's not sleeping. She's pretending.

12. Bath time/bedtime: Our bathtime/bedtime routine changed a lot in the first several months. At first I continued with my firstborn’s normal bedtime routine. She would get a bath, then jammies, read a book, pray, sing a song and into bed. After she was in bed, I would begin the routine with the little guy. But as he got a little bit older and began having a more regular schedule, I started to switch things up. Once he began siting up on his own I began bathing them together. I got a little plastic basket and sat him in that…just to help him sitting up better and keep him in place. Then I was able to wash up my older daughter without worrying about him toppling over. I’d get the older one out first, then the younger, and we’d all go into my older daughter’s bedroom. I’d do the routine with both of them, put my daughter in her crib and then take the little guy to his room, nurse him and put him to bed. As he’s gotten older it’s been easier to do things together. Makes bedtime shorter for me too!


13. As soon as your newbie becomes more mobile it will be a LOT easier. By 6-7 months it seems you can finally take a breathe. The kids will even start interacting more and that’s always so much fun!!

Crawled himself right into the corner!

Crawled himself right into the corner!

14. Sleep is for the dead. I always tell myself this…partly because it’s funny, but partly because it seems so true. When you’ve got a baby sleep seems like a rare and precious commodity. Hard to come by. When you’ve got a baby AND a toddler…you learn to survive on very little sleep. When one of those kids is sick….oh boy! You’d better have that coffee IV ready to go. I thought that with my calm and content second child I would have no problems with him sleep. WRONG! My colicky and rambunctious daughter slept better than he does. If this happens to you, just remind yourself that “this too shall pass”. And find the humor in dragging yourself out of bed every 30 minutes throughout the entire night (trust me, once sleep deprivation hits, everything will be funny!)

This is what happens when you doze off...your loving hubby takes a picture of you. How kind.

This is what happens when you doze off...your loving hubby takes a picture of you. How kind.

15. Traveling. My tip is to just not do it! Unless you have some back up, traveling with 2 under 2 is a huge headache. We made a cross country move when the kids were 18 months and 4 months. And to top it off, Miss Fits was terribly sick. AND we drove straight through. It was rough. Absurd really. But we did survive. So if you must travel, bring some help! And bring some activities. And forget about your rule to never let your kids watch t.v. It can be a real life saver on such a looooong trip. We had just received a dvd player for the car, that came with TWO screens. All we had was one dvd of Veggie Tales, but it entertained the kids for quite a while. Yes, even the 4 month old would stare at the screen and be content (and for a baby that screamed when he was in the carseat…it was a real life saver)

traveling.jpg

16. Potty training: Everyone has their different opinions on potty training-when to start, when the kid is ready, how to do it, how long it takes, etc etc. I will just say that it depends on you and it depends on your kids (yes, kids plural. If your toddler may be ready, but your infant is high needs then it might not work for you to begin training if you can’t spend a lot of time not holding your baby and tending to your toddler). I was determined to not have two in diapers (even though it’s not so bad. Really.), so I went ahead and gave potty training a go. Miss Fits was potty trained by 19 months. So it definitely worked out to our benefit. Of course…it’s crazy trying to potty train AND take care of a baby. But, I’m a stay at home mom, so I definitely had the time. And…I’m always working on my patience, so that helped a lot J


17. Remind yourself you are only one person and it’s okay! There will be moments when both of the kids need your attention at the same time. Just take care of the greater need first. The baby is crying because he or she is hungry, and your toddler just went pee pee in the potty and tried to dump the pee in the toilet all by herself (Yay!). The baby just had a diaper explosion and your toddler found the permanent marker and is heading towards the couch (the couch that isn't YOURS, by the way). Your toddler fell down and wants you to kiss her owie and your baby is currently nursing. The baby is crying and your toddler is throwing a tantrum. These moments will happen. You are only one person. You will figure it all out. Everything will be just fine!

Also remind yourself that your kids are the cutest and nothing else matters!

Also remind yourself that your kids are the cutest and nothing else matters!

Pros:
You don’t really need to prepare your toddler for the new baby. Miss Fits was only 14 months old when Mr. Mellow made his debut. She wouldn’t have understood anyway. I taught her simple things that would be helpful for when the baby was born- the sign for “baby” and what the word “gentle” means. She was also learning how to go get different items. That was a BIG help when the little guy showed up! 

*  Your kiddos will likely grow up to be best friends and playmates!

They can share most everything- no need to buy new toys and baby furniture. Of course, you will still need to invest in a new crib, high chair and maybe a double stroller.

*   Everyone will comment on how brave (or crazy!) you are.

*   You can get away with a lot because of how sleep deprived you are!

*  You get to do things differently this time. I always joke that the first born is the guinea pig. You really don’t know what you are doing, just sort of winging it. With the second you are more seasoned and things seem a little clearer.

They are really cute and a lot of fun! 

* You get to see how differently their personalities are- how two kids raised in the same home can be so different! 


Cons:

* You will have 2 in diapers. Not terrible (honestly), but definitely pricey.

 * You will have to carry both of them. My 14 month old was definitely not capable of climbing up or down stairs. Anytime we left the house, they both had to be carried. Same for going into the store, or really anywhere. Miss Fits could walk great- the problem was that she would RUN if her feet hit the ground. She hadn’t quite mastered the task of holding my hand and walking nicely.

 *  People will feel free to make comments and ask questions about your personal life. “Was this planned?”, “You DO know how this happens, right?!”, “You sure have your hands full”, “Are you going to have more?”, “You should stop having kids now. You have one of each”. And on and on. My favorite question is “Are they twins?” Yes, they are twins. We just had this one 14 months before this one. But yes, twins.

* Sleep deprived AGAIN!!

* Losing the baby weight AGAIN!

 *  It becomes harder to go out and do things because one of the kids is always napping

I know there are a lot more tips I can come up with. This is just what’s off the top of my head. And honestly, it’s taken me months to find the time to sit down and get all of this written out. Feel free to add more tips if you’d like! Or ask questions. Or make funny comments. People do it anyway, so you might as well join the ranks!

Posted on April 2, 2014 and filed under two under two, life with littles.