Routines in the White House :: Bedtime

The other day my grandfather was asking me about our bedtime routine, and I realized that most people probably have no clue what daily life entails with a 2 year old and triplets.

There are two ways for bedtime to go down:

1) I do it by myself (which sometimes happens when Matt is working late and my mom isn’t here helping)

2) Or I have help {My mom comes over on Tuesday nights, when Matt is busy loading the trucks for the week}

The process is pretty much the same both ways, it’s just that one way results in a slightly less exhausting and slightly more peaceful ending {and that result is not contingent on whether anyone else is here or not}.

Sleeping Babes copy[10]
6:30-7:00 Dinner time
: Ave and I (and whomever else is here) sit down and eat dinner. Sometimes there are babies playing or screaming (they then get bottles, propped, while we eat) and sometimes babies are sleeping.

7:00-7:30 Bath time: If I’m alone Ave showers by herself or takes a bath, depending on if the babies need baths too.

If I’m alone {or my mom is here} and they need baths, this is where I get my workout, because it’s in and out and up and down with 20lb babies in hand. Ave goes in the tub, and I bathe each individually with her. If babies don’t need baths, then they proceed to play or have bottles in the living room, while I do the necessary things with Ave in the bathroom.

If Matt is home, then one of us showers with Ave and if the babies need baths we hand the babies in one at a time to be showered {which is the preferred method of bathing}.

7:30-8:00 Bottles, Books and Prayers: After everyone who needs to be scrubbed is scrubbed we all head upstairs.

If I’m alone, I get Ave dressed and she runs around playing or doing whatever upstairs while I get the babies dressed, bottled {if needed}, and into their cribs. Once they’re down {and hopefully content} Ave and I go in her room, where we read a couple of books, say prayers, and then sing a few songs, before she climbs into her bed. Of course, just as we’re getting in to bed there is the usual “I need to go potty” request.

If my mom or Matt is here, then I deal with Ave while the other person takes care of the immediate needs of the babies’. If someone needs extra attention, I’ll help with the babies while Ave continues to play or run around crazy {which is the more likely thing — We say “stop jumping on the bed, you’re going to hurt your brother/sister” quite a bit}.

Usually, everyone is in bed by 8:15-8:30, then we/I come downstairs and get things cleaned up from the day and dinner OR we collapse on the couch and watch a movie.

And THAT is what an evening routine is like in the White House!

A Body Worth Loving {coming to terms with the postpartum body}

Coming to terms with the postpartum body doesn’t come as naturally as it should. Awhile ago, Lisa-Jo Baker posted about loving your post-baby body for the sake of your children, especially daughters. Lisa-Jo responded to my comment saying:

“TRIPLETS??? Girl, your body deserves a medal. You should break out into song every time you see it in the mirror. Your body is a HERO!!! Give it something delicious right now. For reals.”

And I do.

I think quite frequently about my body and what it accomplished. That my body was just the way God designed it to be, for these three precious babies to have been born as healthy and as big as they were, despite being 6 weeks early; to have been able to avoid having a c-section.

I look at my stretch marks that go well above my belly button and the skin that hangs below where it should definitely have stopped, and I’m in awe of it. That these three babies were cradled in there for months. That these babies were born with no health issues, despite having been sharing a womb with 2 others.

Then I look at my body the way the world does, the way we all judge ourselves: I see a flabby stomach, that still looks like there could be a baby in there when dressed; I see arms that are much too soft, particularly for lugging 4 kids around all day (at 14, 18, 19, and 30 lbs each); I see thighs that rub and have their own tributaries of stretch marks, without thinking that those legs are strong and able to run after these kids, up and down stairs countless times a day.

A Body worth loving coming to terms with the postpartum body

I think to myself, “You weigh the same now as you did just before these three kids were born” and I hang my head in shame. Knowing that an over abundance of cookie dough, avocados and cheese, and a lack of true exercise are the cause of it.

I waver, back and forth, between loving this body that has brought forth life 4 times in 2 pregnancies, and despising the “curves” that I have yet to figure out how to dress in a flattering way. When I figure out how to love this body 24/7 I’ll let you know, but I somehow think it’s going to involve a lot more time with God and a pair of sneakers.

My Mother Letter

{I wrote this during my freshman year of college, September 2000}

It is the common person who doesn’t receive mass amounts of glory for the accomplishments and risks taken in his or her lives, but it is these uncommon stories that are the mark of something incredible. I speak of the admiration I have for my mother, the decisions she has made, and the life she has lived.

My mom has never received the proper amount of recognition, respect, accolades, you name it: I have failed that part of my duty as her daughter. At nineteen, after two years of college, my mother had decided to drop out, wanting to get married and start a family instead. I have often belittled her decision. She has told me that college had held no meaning for her, that her calling was to be a wife and a mother.

My Mother Letter @JessicaMWhite.com

I have always held this decision of her’s in two lights: Fear and awe. Fear, because {sometimes} I understand and sympathize with how she felt some twenty years ago. Awe, because I find it inspiring that she had so much faith in her own future. She now tells me that my decisions are my own, and not to be afraid of what the consequences may be. I often wonder if she ever regretted not having finished college. I asked her once; her response was “Why should I regret it? I have never been happier, even through the hard times.”

“Hard times,” I always found it humorous when she said that. Since we moved from Glendale, NY, fourteen years ago, we have had nothing but hard times. Growing up I never remember being deprived of anything; vacations, clothes, birthday parties, or toys.

As a cure for our “hard times” my mother and father have been entrepreneurs: My father comes up with the new business idea, my mother supports him. Their most recent business venture is a butcher shop with a small restaurant in Delhi. My mother had a secure office job for the past twelve years and quit because she had wanted to be with her family, working in our store.

I see my mom come home from a thirteen-hour day, exhausted, and still she cooks dinner, cleans, does the laundry, and pays the bills. Many times I think a lesser woman would leave, not able to handle hard work combined with the stress of more month than money. I think, “I wish I could be as strong as she is.” I know that I am the lesser woman who would have ran from the hard times.

Another risk my mother has accomplished was her decision to home school my younger sister. In our progressive times home schooling is becoming more and more popular. My brother and I both attended public school; which is why her decision was a shock. My mother had been going to college to be a teacher before she dropped out. I find it amusing to see how things happen; she gave up teaching to be a mother. In exchange for that she became a teacher to her children.

Running a home and a store, sometimes it’s difficult for her to set aside time to teach my sister. I tell her, “Send her to public school, it would be easier.” She agrees that it would be, but she’d be letting them both down, my sister and herself. My sister is now in third grade and I can see how she has benefited from my mother’s decisions and persistence.

I now see the strength and beauty behind my mother and I wonder if I could do as she has. I admire the things that she has done. Sometimes it is hard to see her strengths, because I am blinded by what society labels as “weaknesses.”

 

~*~

So this Mother’s Day….Mom, thank you for being you! For being a wonderful example of a wife and mother, for admitting your imperfections and helping me on my own path along these journeys.

What letter do you long to write to a mom or perhaps your Mom?

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If you’re looking for a heart-warming and tear-jerking gift for the “mothers” in your life, get them a copy of Mother Letters. This sweet collection of letters will draw you in, encourage you, and help you not to feel so alone in one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs there is.

The Turn Around (or The Ugliness of Selfishness)

(First off, thank you to all of you for your sweet words of encouragement and prayers yesterday!)

I am pleased to say that yesterday did get better. I’m not pleased to say what it took. Immediately upon fixing my iPad I was in a better mood. Avelyn took a nap, she woke up and all was right in the world. My mother-in-law came down in the afternoon and Avelyn and I were able to be outside, and Matt managed to come home early.

Did you see that? Did you notice that? “MY iPad was working again and I was in a better mood.” Ouch. Yea. The entire morning’s drama was me. The whole problem was I was making everything about ME. My selfishness and fear of my iPad being broken resulted in Avelyn getting yelled at, at her lashing out, at my spewing hot lava everywhere. Tell me that isn’t convicting?!

“But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
Romans 2.8

There was certainly “wrath and anger” in this house, and it was all my own.

Yesterday I very “humbly” commented on a blog, the writer had lost something, and in the losing was thinking of all the other things she had been putting a side to work on what had been lost. I commented, saying:

“perhaps the losing is so you can realize that the truly important things have been neglected, that God is sending a message and you’ll find it again”.

I give fantastic advice! I should really take my own. I think the “breaking” of my iPad was more to point out that I very often let Me-isms dictate how I feel and how I react (not respond) to a situation. That in the ME moments, there is never any of Him, and nothing of any good can come from it.

Last night I read an awesome e-book, Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess. It was a quick, fantastic read, that spoke to me even more about the how and why of yesterday’s crises. Both of these authors were wonderful (Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin)!Candidly they discussed their own parenting struggles and how when they chose to step back and let God do His work, things were as He desires them to be.

Their words brought so much of yesterday’s frustration to my mind; particularly my praying for whatever it was that I was praying for…I don’t even know what it was:

Why do you love me?” he says. “Why are you following me? Is it because of what I can do for you, how I can meet your needs, or provide what you want? Or do you really love me for Who I AM?”

                                                                                         Hope for the Weary Mom, page 267/461.

All that praying I was doing. I was asking God to help ME. My praying was about ME, what HE could DO for ME. It wasn’t about glorifying Him, or exalting Him, or asking Him to work in my heart. I was asking Him to make everything hunky-dory again, because I was totally screwing it up. *yea, ouch, again* What I needed was a “heart adjustment” as a friend called it.

My heart was filled with selfish. Nasty, vile selfish. Even my prayers were selfish.

Today has gone a thousand times better. I made sure to take the 2 minutes that were needed to get in His word, following the suggestion in Hope for the Weary Mom by reading the first chapter of Psalms and Proverbs.

And just to show how God was already taking care of the situation, my mother in law bought a zip-lock type bag specifically meant for iPads at the dollar store yesterday, she didn’t know anything about the avocado/headphone thing.

Do you find that the moments in which you struggle the most are the ones in which you’re serving yourself?

One of those days….

Today….is one of those days, but it really began last night.

For whatever reason a 2 year old may have, Ave decided to pick up my iPad from the kitchen counter and unceremoniously deposit it in my lap….where my dinner was. Yea.

Avocado smushed into the headphone jack. I gently cleaned it out with a paper clip, then a q-tip to get what was left. All was good. Life continued on.

This morning Ave put a show on, but there was no sound. I figured she accidentally muted it. Nope, it says the “headphone” is in….no, no it’s not.

Babies starting screaming for breakfast, 2 year old is demanding attention, and I’m in the middle of my own crisis.

Babies get fed, 2 year old is still making demands, the iPad is still not working, and I feel it bubbling up, scalding hot, ready to erupt. It does, spewing fire and destruction EVERY WHERE.

It’s one of those days.

I try to rein in the flow. I only succeed at minimizing it. Still it comes, seething forward.

It’s not even 10 am and I’ve had it. I’ve yelled at Ave repeatedly, she lashes out by behaving even worse.

I think to myself: I really, REALLY need one of those selfish days. Children do exactly as they should, I’m a perfect mom, the house is immaculate and I manage to spend the entire day doing what I want. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.

It’s the kind of day when no matter how I pray it doesn’t. get. better. I pray again, changing the words, nothing. Everything conspires against me: Ave, the iPad (which I really hope I can fix), bills, laundry, dishes…all of it dragging me into the pit of my own, and every one else’s, destruction.