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I wore a bikini today.

Oh yeah, baby. That’s right. I wore a bikini today.

My overweight, mom of 4, just had a baby a month ago, body, wore a bikini to the lake.

Oh no! The horror! Avert your eyes, decent folks!

Okay, but seriously. I did. And you know what? I didn’t die. And you know what else? I did not give two sh*ts what anyone else thought about it. Just like I didn’t put any thought into what anyone else was wearing.

Amaya is just about five weeks old now, and my c-section is still healing. As a pumping momma, I need support. And my tank suit had none. So I pulled on my Lane Bryant bikini top with full bra support, and a high-waist bottom from Torrid (with awesome side mesh detail), and took my three year old to swim class at the lake. And before class, I swam with her, no coverup or anything. And you know what? It felt SO good to just not care.

I’m a big girl. And I can make excuses about having kids all day long but we all know the truth here. I love food. Too many calories = too many extra pounds. I haven’t been in the single digit pants sizes since I met my husband. I was super active then, biking, playing organized sports, and just eating less. Now that we’ve had our fourth kid we’ve made the commitment to order out less, and generally just try and eat better. As soon as I was discharged from the hospital we cut soda out completely, and have since cut down on late night plates of chili cheese nachos.

Last week I had my first post-partum checkup and weigh-in. With our first baby, I had gained 32lbs over the 40 weeks and lost it all within six weeks. It wasn’t a miracle. It was not eating carbs (something I will never do again!). With the twins, I also gained 32lbs but that was over 33 weeks. And in the months after they were born, I gained another 10lbs. And I stayed that way. With Amaya, I only gained 10lbs, thankfully. And at my midwife appointment last week, I was actually down 30lbs. This was amazing to me. Twenty pounds less than before I had become pregnant. This little jumpstart gave me such hope that both my husband and I can work a little harder and get a little healthier for our girls.

We know that the best way for our girls to grow up healthy is to instill in them a love of activity, whether it play, or sports, or dance, and teach them about balanced eating. We will never be a salad every night family. But we can balance pizza Friday with no-meat Monday. We can grab a water bottle on the way out of the house instead of stopping at the convenience store for an iced tea. We can give up eating after 9pm, and pop tarts for breakfast. It won’t be easy, but we will try our best.

And so today, with an optimism that says yes, I can do this, I can commit to being healthy and I can still be confident about myself while I try, I wore that damn bikini.

And the world did not end.

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And baby makes six!

It has been a whirlwind these last three weeks. Not only am I still trying to get my bearings with managing to feed the baby while some toddler or another is screaming, but now that my husband is home from school for the summer, we are trying to establish our own daily routine. And in all honesty, routines came much easier when my husband was working. Of course, I cannot be happier that he is home right now, but there was some calm in knowing that if I wanted something done I was the only one around to do it. Now, the dishes just seem to pile up a little more than they did when my husband was working.

Four kids. Being here with them just feels completely natural and like it was always meant to be. But my mind just can’t process the fact that I have four children. I mean I still don’t even feel very much like an adult most days.

And being honest once more – four is not that much different from three.

I’ve never been the mom to say I can’t even shower with my kid(s) around. Even with one kid at home, I still managed to take care of myself. And with four? Yup, I’m still showering, and usually twice a day. I will admit that my hair hasn’t seen a blow dryer in years, but at least it’s clean. Dishes get done. Laundry gets done. And folded, and put away. At any given time I have 8 outfits ready to go for my three toddlers hanging on the back of their bedroom door. Meals get cooked. And then not eaten. Toddlers, man. They’re crazy.

Okay, so the lawn DOES NOT get mowed.

But we are managing. And anyone with multiple children can see what I mean here – it’s not really something different in who we are or how we parent. It’s all in how we adapt. It always makes me sad when someone says, ‘I don’t know how you do it,’ because I know that they could do it too if thrown in that situation. I’ve chosen to just accept their statement for the compliment they’re probably meaning it to be, rather than responding, ‘me either.’ Because some days, I really don’t know how everything gets done, everyone gets fed, and I still make it to bed by 10:30pm. It happens, and everyone is healthy, and I am so thankful for that. I don’t have superpowers. I wish I did, but I don’t. And I’m sure a good portion has to do with my own childhood and my mom’s amazing ability to have an impeccably clean house while having three kids and running a day care for a handful of others. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend eating off this floor. But my mom’s? Always spotless. Plus, the thought of waking up to a dirty kitchen and crusty dishes in the sink makes me want to vomit.

It also helps that I have so much family nearby. For the week we came home from the hospital, and the next week (when my husband was back at work), my mother in law popped in three mornings of the week. We were able to get errands done, housework done, and had quality baby cuddle time, while she kept the three toddlers occupied for a couple hours. It was great. And if I need her for anything, she would be here. My sister pops by at least one night a week when my husband’s at lessons, and I have a handful of other relatives close by that I know would help me out if I called in a panic. Even our neighbors let us wash our vomit-crusted toddlers in their tub when the stomach bug came through our house the same day air got into our water line leaving us without running hot water. Knowing that there will always be someone to help out if I need it makes it easier to get through each day.

The hardest part right now is when the husband is out, I’m feeding the baby, and someone starts screaming. Or like the other day when Ella was on her back on the floor and Aria decides to stand on her sister’s chest. My terrible two-some twins have decided recently to ignore mom’s directions at all costs. So it’s put the baby down, who then cries because she didn’t finish eating, while I separate the other two and make sure nothing is broken. Or when the oldest decides that she “can’t” pull her own undies down to pee and if mom doesn’t hurry there’s a chance she’ll just pee on the floor. That sure makes my blood boil.

While the work load still seems about the same, a lot has changed. I’m working on my baby wearing (because the only way I can run errands by myself is by baby wearing one, pushing two in the double, and the fourth one walking. Unless by some miracle we get that awesome family cart at Target. But then some other mom would have to leave it in an outdoor cart return to make it worth it. We just signed our oldest up for preschool (two days a week!) and soccer for the fall, both which should be a fun time. We want to also get the girls in for swim lessons but need many more adults with us to make that happen.

And, as of last Thursday, we have no vehicle that can fit all four kids at once.

This woman, upon getting out of her pickup truck and asking my husband if he was okay, then proceeds to ask him what happened. She was driving in the opposite direction, on a road with only two lanes and somehow managed to get into his lane far enough to sideswipe him all the way down the length of the minivan. By some miracle, the kids were not in the car, and my husband walked away with just airbag burns and bruises. Now we have three car seats that we aren’t supposed to use anymore because they were involved in an accident, no vehicle to fit our family in, while we sit twiddling our thumbs for her insurance company to admit fault and get our car fixed and us a rental. Never mind the fact that she admitted fault, the cop said it was her fault, and we got a witness statement also attesting to that fact. And now it’s the weekend.

The worst part? We’ve got a damn overdue video from the library in the stupid minivan and are now being charged $1 a day late fee.

Okay, really not the worst part. The worst part would be if the frame of the car is damaged because I know damn well we’d never get enough to pay off our loan and put a down payment on something else. Fingers crossed it’s just cosmetic.

And since then? All three of my toddlers have had fevers. And my oldest swallowed a penny. So yeah, just a normal week around here.

But anyway, my attention span is waning, as is pretty evident by this all over the place post, and I’ve got about twenty minutes remaining of baby cuddles before the twins wake up.

I’m taking all I can get right now. Because too soon she just won’t fit curled up here in my lap anymore.

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Pregnant Complaints – Read at your own risk!

I despise this pregnancy.

I will never lie and tell anyone that I loved being pregnant. Yes, it is a fantastic and wonderful thing, and I’m so grateful to be pregnant. But damn, it sure is miserable.

I love to feel this little one move and roll. I love knowing that my body was able to sustain and nurture this life and in just a few weeks time I will be able to hold this baby in my arms.

So what do I hate? Well, just about everything else.

There is all the normal inconvenient things like the chronic heartburn, chronic feelings of ‘I really hope I poop this week,’ (hey, if you’re reading this, you’re probably a mom too. TMI be damned) the inability to sleep and peeing every half hour. Totally inconvenient, but not the end of the world.

This time around, I also have intense pelvic pain. Everything feels lower, baby included. I joke about my used-up uterus and really, I’m not that far off. Yes, I’m big. My highest weight ever was right when I became pregnant with this baby. This is my third pregnancy, so the ligaments that are supposed to support my uterus are not in prime shape. Add in that the last pregnancy was twins and a c-section just adds to it. I explained this pain to my midwife as my pelvic bones ripping open. By the afternoon I can’t walk right. Yesterday, every time my left foot hit the floor I had a spasm of pain. They prescribed me a fancy maternity belt that helps to support my stomach but that only goes so far.

I can’t stand for more than ten minutes. Whenever I can sit on the couch it’s on my heating pad. Picking up any of my kids causes back and stomach pain. Trying to make a meal is pure misery.

And oh yeah. Being pregnant and having toddlers should be considered one of the special levels of hell. I suddenly know why some people decide to just have one.

Around 33 weeks my midwife noticed my belly was measuring big and set me up with a growth scan. I’ve tested negative for gestational diabetes (the main cause of big babies) and only this week have I actual gained weight (high maternal weight gain can also cause big babies). Everything else is perfect – my blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate and the amniotic fluid. She’s just big. My first was born at forty weeks and two days and was 7lbs 6oz. Perfectly average. Twins were born early, but for their gestational age, were also perfect at 4lbs 7oz and 5lbs 3oz. So this is perplexing to me and to my team of midwives.

What I’m worried about is having to have another c-section. That was an intensely miserable experience. I’d rather be in labor for 36 hours like my first and push out a 10lb baby than go through another c-section. I’m also worried that this kid is going to come out too large for the clothes we bought! That part I’ll admit is a little less serious.

So at my appointment yesterday my midwife discussed the possibility of trying a few things (starting at 37 1/2 weeks, so a week from today) to promote labor starting early. Not drugs, but strategies that could help her come earlier than forty weeks. She also said that if I was still pregnant at 39 weeks they would repeat the growth scan.

Here is where I am torn. I want this baby out as soon as is safely possible. I am miserable. I can’t do anything without being in pain. I have no patience whatsoever for my toddlers, especially my 2-year old twins who have decided that hitting, kicking and screaming are how they will deal with frustration. I do not want to be pregnant anymore.

However, if she does come early, my whole plan is screwed. My husband only has a certain number of sick/personal days remaining. And with the crappy winter we just had, has eight school days to make up. If she comes on her due date or after, my husband can stay home the rest of the school year by using all his sick and personal time. If she comes early, he will have to go back to finish the year because with one income, we can’t afford for him to take any unpaid time off.

Being home alone with a baby isn’t the scary thing for me. It’s being home alone with a baby, two year old twins and a three year old, and be expected to drive them all to the baby’s doctor’s appointments. And that while being unmedicated (because, you know, I’d have to drive myself).

I don’t know what these next few weeks will bring. My husband and I have to sit down and discuss what we want to do – if we want to attempt to induce, or if we want to wait. Plus, what we will do if she comes early – if he will use all his time first and return for the last couple of weeks, or what.

I just wish someone would come over and entertain my toddlers for a few hours so I could relax. Or maybe bring over dinner for us. Because man, it’s getting so hard.

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Kids and sleep.

Don’t you just wish that kids came with a sleep button you could press whenever you needed them to sleep? That would be great. Maybe a mute button too.

Kids and sleep? Yeah, that’s a shit show.

Our first baby came two days late and from the start was a terrible sleeper. Of course, what we didn’t know at the time, was that we were starving her.

Our intention was always to breastfeed, so I did. It never felt right to me but everyone told me it was going wonderfully and it would take some time for me to get used to it. After a few weeks I even pumped and used 1-millimeter syringes at the advice of her pediatrician when she wouldn’t nurse very long. I rented the hospital-grade pump at $75/month, saw lactation consultants, used nipple shields, called the hospital’s ‘warm line’ to speak with on-call nurses, and got breastfeeding help from her pediatrician and from a nurse practitioner.

We figured out things really just weren’t working when she wouldn’t sleep more than an hour stretch at night. We would have to take turns sitting in a chair, rocking her, throughout the night to keep her calm.

Finally, the pediatrician told us that she had lost too much weight – any more and we would probably be looking at hospitalization – and she handed us a lunchbox-style bag with formula and bottle samples and told us we needed to start her on formula.

And boy did I cry. This was absolutely devastating to me. I continued pumping for awhile longer but as my supply dwindled, we switched to formula exclusively. How could something so natural be so difficult? She just never latched correctly. It was heartbreaking and thinking about it still makes me feel like a failure.

Can you guess what happened once we started feeding this child correctly? At ten weeks she was sleeping 12 hours a night.

Let the choirs sing!

Fast forward 8 months to when the twins came. They were great sleepers in the NICU. Most of the time, they had to be woken up for care times every four hours. I pumped all day and all night (they had feeding tubes for the first few weeks) but wasn’t producing enough to keep them 100% on breast milk. When they started feeding orally, we would have breastfeeding sessions, but they, like their big sister, never latched properly. So they always finished with a bottle of formula. I was able to pump longer, almost three full months, which I was grateful for, but eventually I had to give it up. There’s not much time when you have newborn twins and a one year old to find time to pump.

We knew the twins were a bit behind because they were premature. So we didn’t expect them to be great sleepers like their big sister. Even at a year she was still sleeping 12 solid hours a night, and with two 2-hour naps a day. The only hiccups were when she was sick/teething. But we had no reason to think we would have sleep issues.

Boy, were we wrong. Eleven months. Eleven months it took them to fully sleep through the night.

One in particular would wake up, inconsolable at 3 or 4am and just scream until we moved her somewhere else. We followed the doctor’s advice and at one point just stopped the nighttime feedings. And even on a few occasions we offered her a bottle, but that didn’t work either. We never coslept, it just wasn’t something we wanted to do or f lt safe doing, so we would move her to a playpen in another room. She’d cry for a few more minutes and then go back to sleep.

It was miserable. I was more rested waking every four hours when they were newborns than having one scream bloody murder for no reason at 3am.

Fast forward to last December.

We purchased a pair of toddler beds from another family with the intention of giving them to the twins. Our oldest was still in her crib but with the side off (switched her when she turned two, with no issues). But as soon as she saw those toddler beds she claimed one. The twins never attempted to climb out of their cribs. But we made the decision to attempt to transition them at 22-months. I was about 17 weeks pregnant, my husband was home for Christmas break, and we wanted to have both of them out of cribs long before the new baby came.

So one night, we moved one twin to the other toddler bed, and the next night we took the side of the other twin’s crib. There were a few tears the first couple nights but all went swimmingly.

We celebrated. But we shouldn’t have.

Ella was in the toddler bed. And after awhile, once she was very comfortable, and we thought we were in the clear, she decided that she wanted to play and hang out in Aria’s bed.

We thought our sleep troubles were done. We had three toddlers, all in their own beds, in the same bedroom, all sleeping fully through the night.

The rest of our sleep journey has been documented in photographs…

So now you see. Would you believe it if I told you that the 3am screamer is the one that won’t stay in her bed as a toddler? Yup, that would be the middle child. So now we have three toddler beds (crib is being used for baby storage) and the twins are stuck behind a gate.

And it’s working. So far.

When I look back on my childhood I remember having to take a lot of Dimetap medication. I’m starting to wonder if I was really that sick…

Fingers crossed this arrangement continues to work.

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I don’t like Easter.

I’ll start this post by saying that I’m not a religious person. Yes, I was raised in the church, I taught at Catholic schools, was married in the church and all my girls are baptized. But I’m not religious. While this isn’t quite the forum to delve into my personal beliefs, I will say that I am a bit of a traditionalist, and sometimes I do things because I’ve always done them, or my family did growing up.

For Christians, Easter is a pretty big deal. I get it. I know the stories. I just don’t share in it at this point in my life. And of course, sadly I’ll add, like Christmas, it’s become another commercial holiday.

And WTF is up with the Easter bunny? Granted, I could probably google it, but why on earth did this become an actual thing? I can understand St. Nickolas as the inspiration for Santa, but a giant rabbit? Why? What is the point?

Anyway, I loved Easter as a child. My favorite tradition was visiting my Memere and Pepere’s house for an Easter egg hunt. My siblings and I were among the younger of the cousins (by three out of nineteen) and we all participated in the hunt. For the young kids, we had a set color/color combination (like purple top and yellow bottom) that we had to search for. There was always some chocolate and some loose change, but the egg you wanted to find had a note that said to see Memere for a prize. And Mem would have an assortment of cool toys on her bed that you could choose from. The bigger cousins each had one large clear egg – think ladies’ stocking eggs – that were hidden really really well. And they got cash.

I never made it to the large egg stage. My cousins got older, and started families of their own. And then it just seemed like not as many people showed up to Memere and Pepere’s house anymore. I’m not sure exactly when it ended, or who made the decision, but it just ended sometime during my teen years. We celebrated Easter at home every year as well, but it’s not a holiday that sticks out to me. Not like Christmas or Halloween. It was just a basket of candy.

The last Easter spent at my grandparent’s house was not a happy one. This wasn’t an egg hunt Easter. This was my mother’s last real holiday with us. I was seventeen years old. I remember that a lot of family showed up, and we had a meal together, but it was really a goodbye of sorts. My mother had been battling brain cancer for just about two years. Four brain surgeries, countless drugs and treatments, and she was now wheelchair bound, paralyzed and non-verbal. So when I think of Easter, even now, almost sixteen years later, I think of a photograph that I have buried in an album somewhere. It is of a few of us around the table with my mom. It is a perfectly preserved memory of the suffering she went through. Her eyes are vacant, she isn’t looking at the camera, and her body is slumped slightly in the wheelchair.

This is Easter for me.

[I am crying as I write this, and my three year old, named Evelyn after my mom, just asked me if I am sad. Yes, I said to her, I’m sad because I miss Grammy Evelyn, my mommy. ]

My husband is a musician and is commissioned by a local church to perform on holy days. He left at eight this morning and won’t return until after nap time. Without a religious connection to this holiday, with my husband gone much of the day, and sad memories of my mother, Easter has become just another bad day for me. My older siblings and my father go out for Chinese with an aunt and her family, so it’s just me and the girls. We stopped by the nursing home to see my Nana, my dad’s mom, but the rest of the day is spent by ourselves at home.

I dressed up the girls and took Easter pictures this morning, out of tradition. And we bought a few small items for them, and will hide some eggs for them in the yard after the twins wake up, and give them baskets. We don’t visit the Easter bunny and in fact, don’t even say that the small gifts they receive are from the Easter bunny. They receive gifts from mom and dad and get to search for eggs. And our dinner will most likely be leftovers from the fridge.

I don’t have it in me, pregnant, hormonal, and sad, to do more than try and put on a happy face. And while I hope everyone who has a reason to celebrate this day has a wonderful time with their family, just know that for some, not every holiday is a happy one. I will always smile back and return a Happy Easter, because no one else deserves to be burdened with the sadness I hold. I am being genuine, just don’t ask me to be happy.

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Third Trimester Blues

A long time ago I remember reading something about a phenomenon new moms will sometimes go through. I think it may have even been given a name. But it has to do with the idea that new moms easily forget the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth once they see their child born.

I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it with all honesty. Pregnancy is tough. Most times, it is not that enjoyable. Yes, the fact that I am pregnant, that my body is capable of growing another human, are all amazing and wonderful things. But man, pregnancy sometimes just sucks.

I’m trying to decide if this pregnancy is harder simply for the fact that I have three toddlers, or if my previous two were this bad and I just forgot about it. I’m leaning towards the former.

Pregnancy does weird things to your body. I am super thankful that I didn’t end up with weird belly lines, rashes and/or acne. Plus, at the start of trimester 3, I’ve clocked in a total weight gain of -8lbs. But some of the more unpleasant? Yeah, those things are happening. I’m also ecstatic that despite being overweight, I passed my glucose screening, meaning I’m in the clear for gestational diabetes. I knew I would pass, as I had the two previous pregnancies, and I have no risk factors except for my weight, which is way I “forgot” to go for the early screening they wanted me to do. It was a good call, especially seeing as how when I did go at week 24, I passed out 50 minutes in. That was a fun time.

This feisty little baby, who we are still calling BK4 as we haven’t settled on a name yet, is super super active. And all these fun spring snowstorms plaguing New England means she’s head butting my nether regions which is very uncomfortable. More so than just having to pee every half hour, it’s like a bowling ball is continuously pressing on my bladder.

My back hurts, which is no surprise. But I’m now at the point where every spare minute I have, I’m sitting on the couch, feet up, with a heating pad on my back. With pregnancy number 1, I was working and on my feet most of the day. But I wasn’t lifting or bending. With pregnancy number 2 I had a wee little one, but she was tiny and still had two really great naps. Now I’m home all day, with three toddlers that weigh in the 20-26lb range, two with one nap a day, and one that no longer naps. I’m lifting and carrying them, buckling them in the car multiple times a week, sitting on the floor playing with them, and just so damn exhausted. The worst part is that they are ALL OVER ME. I can’t sit down in the same room as them without someone trying to climb on me, pressing their pointy baby elbows into my stomach, jumping on me and all around driving me insane.

I am grateful that there are short times when they will play, independently or with each other, and I can just chill and observe them. This can sometimes go on for a solid ten minutes! But before long, someone is in someone else’s face, stealing someone else’s face, or doing something else evil. I’m also thankful that the girls are doing really well at mealtimes and are now accustomed to leaving the table and playing, giving me time to clean up without someone hanging onto my legs.

I’m also at the point where I have to stand sideways to wash dishes, and sitting with my legs closed is virtually impossible unless I physically lift my belly out of the way. Rolling over in bed is a challenge, so I’ll only change positions when I get up to use the bathroom. I also now keep Tums on my nightstand, in the car and in my kitchen cabinet.

I am so excited to meet this little one. I know she’s going to be a feisty little bugger and I’m dying to know if she’ll be another blonde, blue-eyes baby like the other three, or if she’ll finally be the one to take after Daddy.

But ten more weeks of toddlers climbing on me and literally bruising my belly? Ten more weeks of squeezing my legs closed when I sneeze? Of climbing under the dining room table four times a day to sweep up the food that one of my twins likes to throw on the floor? Of being cooped up inside because this damn snow won’t melt? Of chronic back pain and chronic heartburn?

Oh man. It’s going to be a long ten weeks.

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Prepping for Baby K4

Six weeks ago I reached the halfway point of the pregnancy.

The only thing that I had done in preparation prior to this was to pull out my bin of maternity clothes. And can I just say I’m getting so sick of some of those shirts. Elastic stretch pants, however? I’ll never be sick of you!

The afternoon we found out the gender we celebrated with dinner at Longhorn, where we ate during our first date, and then took a trip to Carter’s for some baby clothes. I swear, everything is cuter when it’s smaller.

So I’ve got a couple bags of new baby clothes, tags on, sitting on top of my box of maternity clothes, shoved into the corner of the bedroom. And that’s really as far as I’ve gotten.

So a few nights ago, I was pondering what life would be like with three toddlers and a newborn, especially when my husband has to go back to school to finish the year (thanks a lot Mother Nature for those five make-up snow days he has). It was a scary image, indeed.

Anyone who has kids knows about the witching hour. They’re cranky, they’re hungry, and you have to make dinner. So I figured it was time to put my crock pot and basement freezer to good use. I spent naptime scouring Pinterest for freezer meals, crock pot and casserole style. Found some tasty new options too, like honey sesame chicken, cheddar sausage & pierogies and a chicken artichoke casserole. It took a couple hours but I wrote out all the recipes, highlighted the ingredients I needed to buy, and typed a detailed shopping list by department.

I don’t like giving my toddlers junk for dinner. When we have errands or playgroup, or go to the museum, they get a bagged lunch. It usually consists of a PB&J, yogurt (or a veggie applesauce pouch), milk and snacks. Not horrible, but not the most balanced. But it’s so hard some days to spend more than ten minutes in the kitchen at dinner time to prepare something a little more balanced. A decent meal takes time, and there’s screaming and throwing and the twins climbing the changing table. If I’m in the living room or playroom with them, everything is calmer.

A couple of nights ago, I had a doctor’s appointment so I wasn’t sure if I’d be home for their dinner. It was all laid out in the fridge for their Grandma – homemade chicken tenders (they had been stored in the freezer from a few weeks ago), pasta and sauce, salad with honey mustard dressing, banana and yogurt raisins. This is a meal I feel good about serving. Having all this ready for dinner meant that when the twins napped in the morning, instead of sitting with Evie and going over her letters or doing a craft, I was cutting up vegetables and making pasta. She did help, in her own toddler way, which she loves, but I still feel like she got the short end of the stick.

Their afternoon nap time is the time I do paperwork, laundry, read, blog, etc. The kitchen is just too close to the spare room where Evie sleeps (I have to separate her from her sisters at nap) so I can’t do dishes or cook. It’s too loud. And half the time, she won’t sleep anyway. I listen to her playing with her doll for about a half hour then I get her up.

So I guess this fervent need to accumulate food just stems from (a) feeling like I don’t have the time on a normal night to prepare something decent, and (b) wanting my girls to eat a better variety of foods. I’ve got one that’s my big bread eater, one that’s a HUGE meat eater and the third just picks at everything. Honestly, she’s too busy playing with her belly button to do much eating.

Luckily, my husband is working in a district that still believes in a February and an April school vacation. That’s means I can prepare my crockpot meals one vacation week, and the second I can make my freezer beef – that’s another day long project when I make a ton of meatballs, meatloaf, and lasagna.

The next step is probably pulling out all the baby furniture. Our house is tiny, and even setting up a bassinet in our bedroom is going to hamper our movement. It hasn’t been that long since everything was packed away, so I do still know where it all is. One bonus is that because of the twins we have two of a lot of the furniture pieces. That means a second bassinet can sit in the living room, so Baby is away from toddler hands when mommy has to pee. Two playpens means baby can nap in our spare room on the first floor, and when she outgrows the bassinet, can sleep in the other playpen in our room. That is, until we feel comfortable moving her in with her sisters. Two little bouncy seats means one can sit in the living room and one in the playroom. You probably wouldn’t even be able to walk through our house once all that stuff is set up. At least the summer has us outside more than in!

It’s a relief to still have all these items and to not have to worry about making too many new purchases. We know that we need a snap-and-go single (we have a double) for the infant car seat, and we are debating on purchasing a quad stroller. I was never a huge fan of baby wearing. My body shape seems ill-suited to it and it was always cumbersome. Plus, even carrying a tiny baby, my back hurt. Sure if I did it all the time I would probably get used to it. There were numerous outings when my husband and I each wore one of the twins when we went somewhere. But, and I’m being honest here, the only exercise that I’ve gotten since having kids is walking. The triple stroller that I have is incredibly difficult to push around corners and it’s heavy. I don’t see myself wearing an infant and pushing a triple. The price tag on the quads is quite steep, though, so we are still thinking. I just wish we could find them in stores and take them for a test drive before making a decision. I think I’ll still invest in a new baby carrier. We were gifted a couple of hand me downs from a relative but they never quite fit right. A little bulky and way too sweaty. I’m debating between a few mesh varieties currently.

I started this post a couple of weeks ago and am just now getting ready to finish. The good news is my husband and I were able to get our crockpot meals made and frozen during vacation last week! We even previewed the cheeseburger casserole (huge favorite with all of us – except Evie, because she wouldn’t try it). The bad news is our house suffered through a horrific stomach bug this past weekend that landed me in the ER. Everyone is good now, baby included. Now comes the countdown to ‘music’ season where my husband is super busy with musicals, concerts, DJ gigs and his own band concerts. My goal is to save the freezer meals (11 crockpot and 2 casseroles) for May, when I’m way too pregnant to do anything, and beyond, when the baby comes. Not sure that’s going to happen though; they look too good!