Yet, we're making it. God is so good to give me sufficient strength for each day. There are days when I am standing over the sink washing dishes, thinking, "There is no way I can do one more thing tonight." But little miracles happen every night, when God grants the energy to fold one last load of laundry or put away one more stack of books. We also celebrate the miracles of letting go, for leaving things undone is so challenging for me! His grace is enough.
Having three children this close in age is no walk in the park. It is as hard as you think it might be...and possibly harder. But we're making it work! Every day, I learn something new about juggling the needs of three little girls, a husband, and a dog. We've figured out some tricks for making life work. So for posterity's sake... here are some of the little things we're doing to survive! (These are in completely random order.)
- Get up early. I try to get up at least fifteen minutes before Ruthie's first feeding. I wash my face, take my vitamin, and start a load of laundry. Depending on my need for caffeine, I may go ahead and make a cup of coffee. Ruthie also starts her day early (6:15) for my benefit; right now, it's the best start for her schedule that allows me to tend to the other girls most effectively. (I'll hopefully bump her to a later start when she starts stretching to four hours between meals.)
- Speaking of coffee...I am loving my insulated coffee mug. It keeps my coffee warm for over an hour, which is about how long it takes me to drink it. And because it's got a lid, I'm not as worried about drinking coffee while Ruthie's around.
- Right now, I'm reading my Bible while I feed Ruthie in the morning. Now is not the time for in depth study, but I'm so thankful that the Word does not return void! (I also keep a Bible open on a cookbook stand in the kitchen, which is a great way to catch God's word while I'm doing other things.)
- Popcorn at Target. $1.50 buys popcorn and a coke, and they're always kind about giving me extra little cups to divvy up the girls' share. This keeps everyone happy and occupied while we shop!
- The Moby Wrap. A-mazing. Ruthie is in it at least once a day.
- Blanket time for at least one feeding a day.
- When we grocery shop, I wear Ruthie in the Moby. Nora sits in the traditional "kid's seat" of the cart, and Phoebe rides in the big part. She gets to walk after we add milk to the cart. (I've also been known to distribute snacks at Publix. Last week, we cracked open a box of Teddy Grahams... I was unprepared.)
- A fenced in backyard is an incredible blessing. I shoo the girls outside, and I can see and hear them from the kitchen. Many a lunch has been prepared thanks to the backyard. (Favorite entertainment? Sidewalk chalk and bubbles.)
- Cedarmont Kids and Miss Pattycake.
- Exercise. I try to get in at least some sort of aerobic exercise every day during naptime. This doesn't always work because Ruthie is still a little unpredictable with her naps, but it makes a HUGE difference in my mood and energy for the afternoon. I'm also eager to shed this baby weight!
- My laundry sorter has revolutionized laundry at our house. I do at least one load of laundry (but usually two) a day, and this makes it easy to throw one in without having to go through the sorting process.
- I use naptime to get some meal prep done. This streamlines the dinner hour... because frankly, I haven't figured out how to juggle the whole getting-dinner-cooked thing gracefully. It's all I can do to stick something in the oven on time!
- A running to-do list on the fridge helps me remember to do important things like make coffee and wash bottles.
I should also add that Michael is the best partner in parenthood...ever. I literally could not function without his help. Not only is he incredible at handling the big girls, diving in as soon as he gets home and they tackle him at the front door, but he often sends me to bed early and gives Ruthie her bedtime bottle. AND Mr. Wonderful gets up with me in the middle of the night to help get me situated when I'm feeding Little Bit. But more than that, Michael is such an encourager. He points me to Christ daily, if not hourly, and reminds me that my hope does not rest in well-behaved children, scheduled naps, or a clean house. I am so thankful for my sweet, sweet husband!
These are very hard, very happy days. And really, we're doing more than just survive... we're really enjoying life as a family of five!