Tag Archives: Family

From Busy to Blessing – Reverse Hospitality

I’ve stolen this phrase from a friend, because I love it! I love welcoming people into my home. I’ve somehow managed to get over the fact that my house needs to be perfect to entertain {this has only been by God’s grace and 4 kids}. I have yet to decided whether this is a good thing or not; I fear I may have become too lax in this department now.From Busy to Blessing Reverse Hospitality @JessicaMWhite.com

If you feel that you just can’t imagine welcoming people into your home, for one reason or another, this is for you. Do something that brings the hospitality directly to them; absolutely no effort on their part. This is reverse hospitality; when you seek to bless those around you in their own homes.

What does this look like, though?

  • How about sending a card to a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
  • What about calling a friend one morning and telling them you’ll be dropping dinner off that night.
  • Going around your neighborhood and delivering treats.
  • Heading to a party: HELP the hostess!
  • Offering to clean someone’s home.

“Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Proverbs 11:25 ESV

These are all ideas of Reverse Hospitality. They are ways in which you can reach out to others. Using your busy work, to bless them. These don’t even have to be things that you’re taking time to intentionally do. You’re already cooking dinner, so make a bit extra, stick it in the freezer and leave it there until you need a meal to pass along, whether to a friend or member of your church. The same thing with baked goods.

 

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing

Our Top Ten Favorite Picture Books for Little Ones

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Our Top Ten Favorite Picture Books for Little Ones

We love books in our house. If it’s possible to love them too much, we might be at the edge of that page. I grew up with a mother who loved books, who would sit us down as often as possible and just read. I remember winter nights in which our wood stove roared, with the wind battering our house, reading Little House on the Prairie, by candle light, because we had lost power.

I remember summer rains, much like the ones we’ve been having, setting up camp under a tarp, so that I could be outside, and reading. Endless, ENDLESS days of summer spent nose in book. All of it, there were always books. Always words. Always stories. I only hope that I can impart a fraction of the books my mother read to me, and I read to myself, to my children.

I’m rather fastidious about books for our kids. I’m not a “book for the sake of a book” person. I’m very much a words and pictures snob. If the book leaves me wanting, then you can guarantee it won’t be staying on our shelves very long. Because if it is doing nothing for me, who has had {almost} 31 years of books and using my imagination, then it’s going to do nothing for my children.

Bold-Italic—Loved for Illustrations and Words
Bold—Loved for Illustrations
Italic—Loved for Words

1. The Rainbabies by Laura Krauss Melmed
This is one of the books that my mother read to us growing up, it was put on a shelf and forgotten, until many years latter I was raiding her stash of children’s books. The first time I read it to Ave I cried. I had forgotten what it was about: An old couple who desperately wanted a child.

2. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This was a gift from a friend of our’s to Avelyn. I absolutely love the illustrations in this book and the words are just beautiful. If I could have pages of a book blown up into artwork, this would be it.

3. Basket Moon by Mary Lyn Ray
We loved this book, when we had gotten it from the library…so much so that it went on our Christmas Wish List last year. Oma was more than willing to add it to our collection. The illustrations are beautiful {also done by Barbara Cooney} and the words are more like poetry in different parts.

4. Fletcher Series by Julia Rawlinson
The story lines aren’t too much to talk about, pretty standard fare. Although I do like the onomatopoeia and alliterations that the author uses. The illustration style didn’t even strike me too much in the book, during our first read through. It’s the last few pages of Fletcher and Springtime Blossoms and Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, that I love.

5. The Hat by Jan Brett
What can I say about The Hat….There is not a book of Jan Brett’s in which I DO NOT LOVE the illustrations. I love the Nordic influences, I love her use of colors and weaving parallel story lines into the borders of each page. They are some of my absolutely favorite books to read.

6. Pumpkins by Mary Lyn Ray
It wasn’t until I came up with this list that I realized that this author also wrote The Basket Moon. Again her words are a delight! The illustrations in this book are pretty good, but they don’t thrill me.

7. Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss
I’d never even heard of this book until my parents got it for the kids for Easter I believe. It’s Dr. Seuss, so the words are awesome, but the entire story line is so funny that you can’t help but giggle.

8. Eloise Wilkin Stories {A Little Golden Book Treasury} by Eloise Wilkin
This is one of our favorites for bedtime. If you remember anything of the old Little Golden Books from the 50s and 60s, these are a collection of some of the more popular of those books, specifically written by Eloise Wilkin.

Growing up, one of my brother and my favorites was, We Help Daddy. After several years of searching I found Matthew and old copy of the book, only to discover that there was a We Help Mommy to, which is a part of this collection. There are a couple of pages in here that I would love to have blown up and framed for the kids’ rooms.

9. Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones by Claire Freedman
The story is less than stellar in this one, but the illustrations of the Savannah of Africa, are beautiful. Such a wonderful use of colors! We have a few books illustrated by Tina MacNaughton because I just love her work.

10. Easter Babies by Joy N. Hulme
A simple counting book, that is more about Spring, than anything to do with Easter, but the illustrations are, again, beautiful…each page looks more like a painting than a page from a simple children’s book.
*These books are in no specific order.

It’s not always the illustrations that make me love a book, sometimes it’s the words, and very rarely is it both. Of course we have some of the more silly books {If you give a…. series} that we love anyways, but there are some that are just so wanting that we don’t bother with them, and usually pass those on.

Of course, this isn’t ALL the books we love; believe me that would be a very long list. But these are some of the ones that we enjoy the most. Perhaps another day I’ll share a few more of our favorites.

What are some of YOUR favorite children’s books?
Ones read to you, or you’ve shared with your own children?

Desperate {a Review}

While at Allume we received a freebie pdf copy of Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson’s new book, “Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe”. desperateI downloaded it and swiped through a few pages, before deciding I really didn’t want to be bothered with reading it on the ipad. I could tell there would be a lot of things that I would want to highlight.

And I was right.

Can you see there? Just how many pages are dog eared, so that I can easily find my notes and annotations?

Going in to this book I had thought to myself, “I’m not desperate. I’m a relatively well adjusted mom. Of course there are always ‘those-days’ but I’ve got it pretty together.”

Oh my. Such words for my heart. I have been struggling lately, not so much with being a mom, but with other things….which will be another post. I’ve never really given Sarah Mae much thought before; yea, she’s the co-founder of Allume, but beyond that I’d read her blog a few times and that was all. Sally Clarkson was about the same; I started reading her book “The Mission of Motherhood” prior to Allume because I knew she would be a speaker and that was about it…and that was what I knew about her.

I have to say, “Desperate” was wonderful. It was like being a part of a conversation between Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson on dealing ]with the every day of being a wife, homemaker, and mother. It was hearing Sally’s wisdom of years of {awe-inspiring} mothering, applicable to my daily life. I kept reading this book and thinking, “I so want to share this with every single mom I know. How many copies could I justify buying to hand out?!”

Whether you feel DESPERATE as a mom or not, READ THIS BOOK. There is wisdom to be gleaned from its pages and comfort for hurting hearts.

Routines in the White House :: Transportation

One of the first things we knew we needed to address after finding out we were having triplets was the car. Can’t bring the kids home from the hospital if we don’t have a big enough car! Our Honda CRV was just NOT going to cut it, which seriously broke my heart {I LOVED that car}.

Routines-in-the-White-House-Transpor

We waited until the end of the Summer, figuring that we’d pick up on some great deals. Fortunately, our bank was doing a promo-financing thing with a car dealership we’ve used before.

I had a very specific list of requirements in our van: It had to be beige/gold/tan {whatever that color is called}, it had to have an aux input {for my ipod}, remote doors, and a roof rack….very specific right? I figured I’d have to compromise on something.

Let me tell you a little secret: I didn’t, not even one thing, AND I got heated seats and remote start!

Our car was only the beginning of how we were seeing God’s blessings in providing for these babies. We ended up getting a fantastic car, the price we wanted for our Honda CRV, and awesome financing!

Of course the car is only half the battle. The other half was figuring out how to fit 4 car seats in a 5 person {notice the word PERSON} back-seat-section. Matt, bless his heart, had never installed a car seat up until this point, I had always done all of Ave’s car seats. He took on the responsibility of installing the infant car seats.

We had hoped upon hope that we could fit all 3 infant car seats along the back row {I never managed to remember to take a picture of this}. We did. Unbeknownst to us, because our van is the Touring edition of the Chry.sler T&C, it has wider hip room in the 3rd row, allowing 3 car seats to fit, unlike almost every vehicle out there, even suburbans. We had no idea of this when we actually bought the car {another way God was blessing us}.

Because all the seats were in the 3rd row, we could put down the one captains chair, making it infinitely easier for us to load the 3 {increasingly heavy} infant car seats, without killing ourselves.

A couple of months ago, both boys outgrew the infant car seat {height-wise}. Another quandary, I knew that there was no way we would be able to fit 3 convertible car seats across the back row. We wouldn’t even be able to get the kids IN, even if we could fit them…we’d have a wall of car seat backs, all the way to the ceiling.

Once again, after numerous web searches, because I guess this isn’t a problem for most families {needing to have 4 convertible car seats at once in a vehicle}, I found out about a car seat that was the slimmest on the market, with the added benefit that it accommodated over 100lbs, meaning we won’t need to buy booster seats in a few years, the Diono Radian RXT. We ordered 2, thankfully not having to break the bank with buying 3 at once {2 was bad enough}.

Then came the fun part: How to install 3 convertible car seats and an infant car seat, while {hopefully} keeping a captains seat down.

It took me 2 days, I kid you not, TWO DAYS to figure out how to configure the seats.

Finally, I had it! And here it is for all you other lucky parents of a singleton and then triplets {the whole 4 or 5 of us that there seems to be}.

DSC_0196

Third row: Diono Radian {forward facing – for Ave}, Chicco Keyfit 30 {Ellie},

Diono Radian {rear facing – for James}

Second row (captains seat): Britax Marathon {rear facing – for Henry}

DSC_0197

For now, we fit: Once Ellie has outgrown the infant car seat, I’m not sure what will happen, but you can be sure I’ll write about it. And if we’re blessed with even 1 or 2 more children, I’m not sure what car is next in our future. I do know that God will provide for them, because He always has and always will.

Routines in the White House :: Bottle Feedings

I know it will seem kind of ridiculous to be writing this now, when the babies are getting near the end of bottles, but better late than never.

Routines-in-the-White-House-Bottle-F[2]

When the boys came home from the hospital feedings were pretty easy. I was able to sit with both them and feed them both at once, so it didn’t feel like all I did was feed babies. When Ellie came home, then it got a bit complicated. I now had to figure out how to feed 3 babies, either at once or staggered.

During the day it wasn’t bad as I usually had someone here helping. Even the night time feedings weren’t terrible: Matt got up for every one of those feedings {while still working} and helped me feed the babies. But those evening ones, when it was just me…oy!

I really do wish I had a picture, but I don’t. There were many nights, when I just stayed up until midnight, knowing that once I got the evening {7-8pm} feeding done, Ave in bed and dinner cleaned up, it would be time for the next feeding. Unfortunately, I became addicted to The Vampire Diaries during that time {yes, I’ll admit to watching it}.

Some nights I had to take it 2 and then 1 at a time: I sat sideways on the couch with the babies between my legs and a bottle in each hand. Some nights I did them all at once: 2 between my legs and usually Jamesie in the bouncer next to me {he didn’t need to be cajoled to take his bottle and was the easiest to feed}. That was a sight to see…one bottle propped against me right knee, my right hand holding the bottle of the baby on the left {between my knees}, and then my left hand reaching over to hold the 3rd bottle. It didn’t happen too often, but it did work.

Once the babies got better at taking their bottles, it got a lot easier.

Now, I’m going to admit to one of those parenting faux pas: I propped the babies. Each of them went in a boppy pillow with another {very light} pillow propping up their bottle. It worked great! I sat there and watched them, while I took care of things with Ave.

That worked until they started to move around; then they wouldn’t even sit still for the bottle. Then we locked them in their swings and bouncers and propped those bottles. Still being sure to keep a close eye. Just to calm the fears of others: NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENED. We never had a choking incident or any other thing that would make me say it was risky, and we were always RIGHT THERE.

For the past few months this has been our method of feeding bottles during the day. James is now able to get himself out of his bouncer, without getting hurt, and Henry is way too big for his swing. I have no idea what to do. We may be back to boppies on the floor: If they’re hungry and want a bottle they’ll lay still.

Once we stopped have mandatory night time feedings I became more on my own, since it wasn’t likely that all of them would wake up. James was quite content to sleep almost through the night. I was still waking Ellie up for her bottles. Henry was totally random {just like his big sister!}.

If everyone wakes up at night, they got propped in their crib with a rolled blankie. If just one were to wake up at night I would hold them and give them a bottle. Let me tell you, those were some of our most precious times.

In the very beginning we made individual bottles, because the 3 of them wouldn’t even take 12 ounces during a feeding. Then we slowly started working up. We’ve had a variety of containers and have always premixed a quantity of formula. We now have a 3 liter Pampered Chef Mix ‘n Pour that we make a days formula in. Then bottles are meted out at each feeding. We only have 9 bottles (Evenflo Classic glass bottles); we just washed them as needed.

One thing with multiples that I really missed, knowing how it was with Ave, was the cuddling one on one time with them. I got snuggles from Avelyn until she gave up the bottle last fall. I was loathe to stop her bottle, because I knew it would be over. This is one thing that Matt and I both agree is the hardest part of having multiples: You don’t get that time together the way you do with a singleton. Don’t get me wrong! There is definitely sweet moments, they’re just different.

So there you have it: Bottle feeding triplets.