All posts by Jessica

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.

My Top Tips for Keeping In Touch the Old Fashioned Way

Writing cards and notes to people is very near and dear to my heart. Growing up my mom always had us take the time to write thank-you cards, birthday cards, and get-well cards to family. I loved getting little notes from my grandparents and other family over the years. Unfortunately, with the advent of the internet many people have lost the art of writing cards, but it seems like most people still love getting cards.

My Top Tips For Keeping In touch the Old Fashion Way From JessicaMWhite.com

If you long to get back in the habit of handwriting and snail mail, here are some of my helpful tips to make it easier to do!

1. Keep a stash
I think one of the most helpful things to keep in touch is to have a stash of cards for any and all occasions and particularly some blank ones. I find that places like Michaels, dollar stores, craft stores, currentcatalog.com, and DaySpring always have great packs of cards for relatively little money. Having all of these things on hand makes it that much easier to keep in touch. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly have the brain power to remember that I need to go pick up a card for someone.

2. Keep it all together
I have a couple of boxes above my desk in my office that contain different cards and note paper. They’re sorted out so that if I need a birthday card or a sympathy card, I know exactly which box I need to look in. This also helps me keep inventory of what I have, so that when I need it I’m not short.

3. Keep stamps on hand
Having stamps on hand is another way to motivate yourself. You never have the excuse to NOT send something because you don’t have a stamp at hand. I love stamps and will place an order every few months for some of the fun stamps that you can get on usps.com. The great thing with purchasing from there is that I don’t have to go to the post office and for $1 they’re delivered right to my house. I always feel that stamps are another way to perk up my mail. If I’m mailing a birthday card I use a Celebrate stamp.

4. Splurge on a nice pen
I don’t think there is much worse than trying to write (anything) with a crappy pen. If my pen doesn’t glide and scratch the way I want it too or if the lines aren’t the proper thickness I get really frustrated. Having a perfect pen is one of my most important things with writing a card, because the appearance of the writing {to me} is just as important as what you’re writing. {These are my favorites!}

5. Take the time to write clearly
Sometimes I go through a card or two before I’m happy with how the writing actually LOOKS. Growing up I would spend time practicing my handwriting, developing my signature. My handwriting is far from perfect, even now, but it’s a great improvement from what it used to be. Penmanship is one of those really important things when it comes to writing a card, I really wish they still taught this in school. HOWEVER, if you don’t have perfect handwriting don’t let that stop you: As long as things are spelled properly and there aren’t things crossed out, then it works.

6. Keep addresses on hand
Again, this falls into the convenience category. If you have to look for things to write a note to someone you’re NEVER going to do it. Having addresses at the ready is a huge help. I keep a running address label document in word with all of the addresses that I ever mail anything to. This way, all I need to do is open a file and search for the persons name and there it is.

7. Return address labels
I love making my own return address labels in a printing program on my computer. It’s such a great way to dress up the envelope a bit more. Plus it’s so much fun to pick my own graphics and fonts, making them all my own. If you don’t want to DIY labels, then invest in labels or in a stamp. Something that you can look at and be pleased with. I always think of the outside of an envelope as a first impression: If it looks nice people will be excited to open it.

8. Keep a calendar of events
Instead of writing birthdays and anniversaries on each month’s page in your calendar have one smaller yearly calendar where you can always see it. That way you’re never taken by surprise. I created a spreadsheet with each month/date on it, then filled in the information for birthdays and anniversaries.

9. Don’t ever underestimate
Never think that you don’t have a good enough reason to write someone. Very often I will just send someone a note letting them know I was thinking of them and hope that they’re doing well. It doesn’t have to be wordy or in depth: Just a few words shows someone that you took the time to think about them. Everyone knows that everyone else is busy, so knowing that someone else took the time out of their day to let you know that you’re important to them means a lot.

10. DO IT!
All of these can be great tips but if you don’t actually DO THEM you won’t be any closer to actually writing to anyone. Pick someone, anyone, for any reason and send them a card or a note in the mail. I guarantee that you’ll put a smile on their face.

Cloth Diapers?! You Must Be Insane!

Since we’ve already covered the fact that I am indeed insane {known this for a long time} we will move straight into the cloth diapering.

DSC_0147

To sum up this post in only a few words….I LOVE my cloth diapers! I love the colors, I love not buying diapers, I love the super-big heinies my kids have from them!

Making the Decision to Cloth Diaper Triplets {and their big sister} @LifeintheWhiteHouse

With Ave I had purchased around 25 diapers for her. In the beginning we used the old-fashioned prefold style with  the covers {which are super cute!}, since the Bum Genius 3.0s were a bit too big for her.Once she hit 10lbs, unless it was laundry day, she was in her BG3s. I loved the BG3s, my only issue with them was the velcro: It stuck to everything else when I did a load of diapers.

One of the things I most looked forward to with having another child was adding to our stash; a whole bunch of new styles and colors had come out since Ave was born. Then finding out it was triplets we seriously reconsidered cloth diapers: The cost, the work, etc.

I sat down with my calculator and figured out that buying disposable diapers for triplets would be approximately $50 a week at most, $20 at the low end, $80-200 a month. Over the course of one year we were looking at approximately $1000-2000 to use disposable diapers. I knew I could buy enough cloth diapers to last until potty training for around $600-700 (one time cost). Cloth diapers won.

Is it a lot easier to use disposable diapers? Yea, but it’s definitely not cheaper. We have around 60 diapers in our repertoire, mostly BumGenius4.0s {with snaps}, but we have a handful of Fuzzibunz sized diapers {x-small} as well as some prefolds and covers. We went with the BG4s this time because we figured the snaps would last longer and be easier than the velcro (it starts to curl after time and un-sticks…I now know this only happens if you put them in the dryer, which I did once in a while, before I realized I was destroying my diapers by doing so): However, the snaps are killing my fingers. Between snaps on diapers, onesies and clothes I’m anticipating arthritis.

Most people have a diaper genie or something next to their changing table, we have a 6 gallon bucket with a twist lid to throw diapers in until the next wash day. It keeps them contained and they don’t smell.

Laundry? I’m already doing laundry so really what is an extra load of laundry every other day? Nothing really. I use the same detergent on my cloth diapers as on our regular clothes…Purex Free and Clear. Diapers use such a small amount of detergent I can’t say that it’s any great additional expense to wash them.

And…honestly, could this be any cuter?

H, J and E

You can read another post by me on cloth diapering 4 kids at once here.

Henry, James, and Elanor’s Birth Story

As I’ve been told, “It may not be easy for you to get pregnant, but the Lord certainly blessed you with fast, easy deliveries”.

a Natural Childbirth Story of Triplets at 34 Weeks @JessicaMWhite.com

12/21/11 – Wednesday

I felt fine all day. My MIL came and gave me my second betamethasone (steroid) shot. I organized with her that on Friday morning she would take Ave so that I could get presents wrapped and a few things done around the house before Christmas Eve. In the afternoon I made pizza for our dinner that night, but didn’t eat much. Ave went to bed and all was as usual. I joked with Matt that I was going to wake him up in the middle of the night, to tell him my water broke.

12/22/11 – Thursday

I got up to pee around 12:40 or so….every time I get out of bed I always think about my water breaking, for the simple reason that that’s what happened with Ave. I went pee, stood up, and felt a squish feeling (kind of like a wet finger in a balloon)…very tiny, nothing much. Then I started trickling and it stopped, then some more and stopped. I just kept saying “No! No! No!” over and over. I grabbed a towel and went in our room, threw on the lights and told Matt, “I know I was joking about telling you my water broke, but umm….I’m serious it did”.

I just stood there on the verge of tears shaking. I couldn’t even dial the hospital, Matt had to call them and tell them all that was going on. They told us to come on up. A few minutes later they called us back, “We just looked at your chart. We want you to drive to O-town, they’ll transfer you via ambulance to AMC: Are we doing a vaginal delivery or a c-section?”; “Umm, I don’t know”; “We’ll talk when you get here.”

I just laid in bed while Matt talked to people. Then we called my parents (6 times before someone answered) and told them we were going and bringing Ave to them. We got to their house around 1:30 and left Ave with them.

We got to O-town around 2am. They took me right in. The doctor who delivered Ave was on call; she checked me out, they put the babies on the monitor (they are not equipped there for triplet pregnancies), and started IVs. I was having minimal contractions, but nothing that was even registering, and my cer.vix was still closed. We were there for about an hour before they were ready to transport me.

We got to AMC around 4:30. I’d had 3 contractions on the ride up, but nothing that was much. More like my stomach grumbling with hunger pains than contractions. As soon as they got me in a room at AMC they started me on the monitors, another IV. There was no noticeable contractions so they figured I would just hang out at the hospital until I actually went into labor (a few days?).

At 5:30 a doctor came in and actually checked my cerv.ix, which was now 4cm. It was looking like baby B (Ellie) was engaged and had pushed baby A (Henry) out of the way. We were just hanging out in the room, contractions getting a bit stronger. It was hell….they wouldn’t let me out of the bed or eat or drink because of the possible epidural and not knowing if we would be having a c-section or not.

We met with another doctor around 6:00am, Dr. K: He was AWESOME! If I could have him deliver all of our kids I would, he was that great to work with. He came in and checked me, then started talking about a vaginal delivery. He was telling us about his experience with multiples and breech extractions, how he felt completely comfortable with doing this (even without an epidural). We spent about 20 minutes just talking to him.

He is the reason why everything went so smoothly and we had a vaginal delivery. He recommended having the epidural to avoid the general anesthesia in an emergency, and in the event someone didn’t move the way they should and he had to manually extract a baby. It was agreed that I would have a minimal epidural dose, because I was not at all keen on it, and Dr. K didn’t really feel it would be necessary.

At 7:30 he came back in and checked me and I was already 5-6cm and the babies were moving down. They were waiting for a c-section to get done before they started prepping me, but my body was not going to let them take their time. He suggested starting the epidural ASAP; by 9am I had been tapped and they started a slow drip 15 minutes later.

{ Getting scrubbed in and ready to deliver these babies }

They started pytocin around 9:40 or so since my body was doing everything it was supposed to but my contractions weren’t keeping up with the rest of my body (probably because of the epidural).

By 10:10 they had wheeled me into the OR and I was scared…I’ll admit it. Here I was having a vaginal delivery of my babies at 33 weeks 6 days: This was not where I wanted to be, not what I wanted to do, and I was still {kind of} freaking out about a vaginal delivery.

I wanted a vaginal delivery, but it really rather worried me, because I knew all that could wrong. We’d scheduled a c-section because I was much more nervous about going through with it than I wanted to admit. It was kind of a “nice idea”, but not something I expected to have happen.

Dr. K got everything prepped, I moved myself over to the OR table, he got situated and turned away to prep something else. My favorite MFM was there as back up, Dr. J, then in walked Dr. C (the one who had wanted me to reduce the pregnancy and got mad at me): I looked at Matt and said “watch the personalities”.

Dr. C immediately started taking over, getting ready to reach up in, and pushing Dr. K out. Thankfully, Dr. K looked at him and said “I can do that”. They looked down and Henry was already crowning. Dr. K yelled out, “We have a head!” and everyone flew into a tither. Henry Charles was born at 10:20 am.

They waited a few seconds to see if B would pop down, but nothing was happening. They did a quick ultrasound which showed that the next one in line was breech and not moving down. I had 3 doctors all reaching up my hoo-haa and pushing on my stomach, trying to move babies down (I was VERY glad for that epidural….that happened with Ave’s delivery too, but that was one doctor, with tiny hands, for a few seconds).

At 10:26 they finally got a grip on James Matthew and pulled him out feet first. They had to go back in and pull C out…Elanor Susan was born at 10:28, feet first.

Henry Charles

Born at 10:26 am, weighing 4lbs 13.5 ozs and 19.2″ long


James Matthew

Born at 10:26am, weighing 5lbs 3ozs and 17.75″ long

Elanor Susan

Born at 10:28am, weighing 4lbs 9.5 oz and 17.75″ long

Henry immediately let out a cry when he was born, I burst into tears to hear his little voice above the doctors and nurses. James didn’t make a peep until after they had suctioned his mouth, and then only a small whimper.

Elanor didn’t do anything…they immediately whisked her away since she was struggling to breath and after a few minutes of several people working on her she was finally breathing better. I briefly got to see James and Elanor before they whisked them out of the room. I never even saw Henry, because the OR wasn’t big enough for 3 NICU teams.

I asked the nurse if I had any tearing, which I didn’t (I did with Ave, but she was 8lbs 4.5oz). Afterward, they got me completely cleaned up and moved back to my room. It was just time to wait now. Dr. K came in and de-briefed me about everything. What was interesting was even though we were all annoyed with Dr. C’s intervention (he ended up leaving immediately after they were born), Dr. K was very professional: We all KNOW Dr. C is a great, skilled doctor, particularly with vaginal births, it was a blessing to have him there in case something happened. He’s just not very personable.

Thursday night I just sat in my hospital bed, completely in awe. We couldn’t have planned or asked for a more perfect arrival of our little ones! We knew God had a plan all along and that it would be amazing, but to see how it all played out was just mind blowing…I’m still struggling to wrap my head around it.

Dr. K was such a blessing, we never even discussed a c-section. I really just followed along with his opinion and advice. He knew from my chart that I was interested in a vaginal delivery, but we never really discussed whether it was an option or not.

I do think, that if it wasn’t for him, I would most likely have had a c-section (as that is what my MFM would’ve felt comfortable with): I am beyond thankful I didn’t. I googled Dr. K Thursday night, he’s only a 4th Year Resident: He’s already a phenomenal doctor! {Yes, I will admit it, I think on some level I have a definite crush on him…it didn’t hurt that he was rather cute too :-) }

The entire experience was MORE than I had hoped or even thought it could be. I had my favorite MFM there, Dr. J; I had 2 doctors that were awesome and I absolutely loved; a nursing staff that was fantastic throughout the delivery. I had my husband there supporting me and taking pictures (he actually got better pictures this time than with Ave’s delivery).

If I had gone even a week or two more then I seriously think a vaginal delivery would’ve been out of the question. Also, Ellie had only gained 3ozs since our last growth scan 10 days earlier…it was time for them to come out. It was just an absolutely INCREDIBLE experience.

I will probably be forever in awe of God’s absolute and total control over every single detail of my labor and our babies’ safe delivery. Every single detail was worked out down to the absolute perfection of every tiny detail. Our God is BEYOND awesome!

{ Our first family picture: Christmas 2011! }


You can also read my natural triplet birth story at RedeemingChildbirth.com

Quilts of Valor

Last week, when I visited the quilt shop down the street, I was asked if I could manage to get my grandfather into the store this Saturday (10/22); as they wanted to honor him with a Quilt of Valor for his service during WW2 and since.

Quilts of Valor is a national organization that makes quilts for soldiers abroad and at home, soldiers in hospitals, and those who have served in past years. To date they’ve given over 57,000 quilts. Many quilt guilds and individual quilters throughout the country work on these quilts and then donate them to Quilts of Valor to distribute.

Needless to say, my grandfather was very touched that he had been chosen to receive such a quilt.

Just for the record, he’ll be 92 in December: He signed up to fight 1 year, and ended up serving for 5. He fought throughout the Pacific and Europe and Northern Africa: He was buried alive at Anzio and had friends die in his arms, he was among the first troops sent to Pearl Harbor after the attack.

His fighting in World War II is one of the things I am most proud of him for. As I said to him, “It’s because of you that my quilt patterns are in English and inches, not German and metric”.