Browsing Category: A Look at Our Life

Take a peak at what our life with 5 littles {including triplets} is like!

Creativity as an Act of Worship

Over the last few years, and more this past year, a handful of people have told me that my children should be my priority, that this is not the season for me to spend frivolous time on my writing {and blogging}, sewing, photography or reading {for fun} or any other non-necessary creative endeavor. That I somehow am doing wrong by my children, if I continue to pursue these avenues.Creativity as an Act of Worship @JessicaMWhite.com

My responses have been lacking any sort of gumption: Some mumbled words about not losing my identity because I’m now a mom. Which is absolutely true. I’m not going to stop doing things I enjoy, simply because I am now a mom. I will how ever do what I can to balance those things with the needs of my husband and children.

I think it is good for my kids to see their mother creating, that their mother has skills and interests beyond them. That I’m not just some sort of maternal robot, here to serve them with no other facets of interest or personality.

People sometimes ask me when I find the time to be creative: Honestly, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Most of the time it is delayed or interrupted by sibling spats or daily tasks. Sometimes it is months between projects, sometimes projects don’t get finished for a long time {I started a quilt when I was on maternity leave and waiting for Ave to be born….it’s still not even to the point of having the blocks finished}, and sometimes I get on a roll and am able to finish several creative ventures in the course of a few weeks.

Overall, I stay up way past my bedtime and sometimes I will be a bad mom and stand at the kitchen counter, with the laptop {I can see the kids} and write or edit photographs…sometimes, I even go hide in the office to write for a few minutes, which is only another 8′ away. Or I go in the dining room, a few feet in the other direction, to work on a sewing project, while the kids play or watch a show. {One of the perks of a small house}.

Honestly though, these past few months have been hard. Especially with sewing and writing. I feel like there are constantly ideas swirling in my head, but to find time to sit down and execute them is near impossible.

My “sewing room” is now our actual dining room {since we can’t fit a full size table in our kitchen}; I can’t just leave projects lying about, because they would inevitably get destroyed. Writing happens in the evening, after the kids are in bed, if I have my thoughts together and Matt doesn’t claim the laptop. Sometimes I do go sit in the office with the heater on, but only if my brain is burning.

With such demands on me wouldn’t it just be easier to not bother? Absolutely, but I can’t. It is something I HAVE to do. I HAVE to create. I HAVE to have that outlet for my thoughts and hands. I find the time to be creative, I eek it out wherever I can, I do whatever creative thing is within my grasp, because I have to create.

“Creativity is good theology – God began with creation.”

Those were the words that Ann Voskamp spoke at Allume; words that have just filled me. Knowing that my God began with CREATION somehow releases me from feeling as though I’m not allowed to create during this season. This season that is already so difficult, because there is so little time for Mommy’s own interests.

I heard it a while ago, and I’m not sure where now, that we are created in God’s image and God is an artist, He is THE Creator…so why should we expect ourselves or others to put away their creative nature, simply because it isn’t something that we have gads of time for, or because we have other responsibilities. We shouldn’t. We were MADE to create, to share beauty, whether with words or images or textiles or dirt. We create, because He first created us! {rephrase of 1 John 4:19}. { <——CLICK TO TWEET }

Creating is an ACT OF WORSHIP and wonder at GOD’s CREATION! Not only were we created to be creative, the creativity within us is meant to be unleashed to God’s GLORY. Being creative, putting time in to creating beautiful things can be a form of worship, whether to God’s glory through creating or to His glory by providing for our families’ needs.

My sewing, cooking, photography, renovations, painting are all ways to create beautiful things for our home, gifts of love for family and friends, clothes for our children, and a means of trying to save a bit of money while doing all of these things. It is our calling as women to do all of these things, and to do all of them for His Glory!

No, no more will I feel guilty about taking time to create, to pour out of myself the gifts that God has given me. No more will I question whether sewing or lying in the mud to get a picture just right is a good use of my time. No more will I try to justify something God Himself has put inside of me. I will embrace these gifts and use them to His Glory.

Of God’s Continued Faithfulness…

One year ago today was our first day home as a family of 6. Princess Peanut decided to grace us with her presence; and thus began our official journey as parents of a 2 year old and triplets. It’s hard to believe that we somehow managed to survive a year, that we didn’t have any major illnesses or injuries. Illnesses alone is a huge deal for 34 week preemies.

There have been so many ways in which God has blessed us during this past year, from keeping our sanity {I use that term very, very loosely} to being able to afford whatever expenses came along.

One of the things that freaked us out most about having triplets was the financial aspect. I wrote before about how God completely blessed us with our van. That was only the beginning. We knew that there would be clothes, formula, diapers, car seats and a variety of other things that would pop up over their first year.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:34

Formula was the big thing. So big that we could have taken a really nice vacation with that money*. That doesn’t include the formula that we received as samples from our pediatrician and through the Enfamil Multiples program.

I tallied up what we actually paid out of pocket and I honestly cannot tell you where that money came from in this past year. It wasn’t from the money that came in from Matt’s paycheck, there wasn’t enough extra there to make up that kind of difference. Particularly once you add in the overnight diapers and other things that we needed to pick up here and there.

There is ALWAYS more GOD than MONTH @JessicaMWhite.com
Every month it always amazes me, how despite the bills coming in and money going out, there is always enough. We’ve lived this and experienced this blessing month after month and since long before the babies arrived. It always comes from somewhere and there’s always just…enough.

I can’t pretend to even understand it, because it defies reason, as God’s goodness always does. Who am I to think that any of this life is accomplished through our own hard work and responsible financial planning? It isn’t. It is only through God’s grace, and to His glory, that ends meet.

*and in case you were wondering the cost of formula feeding triplets for a year…we spent around $3,500 between the Enfamil Enfacare and Earth’s Best Organic formulas. Additionally, we received about $1,500 of formula through the Enfamil Multiples program {which is for parents of multiples and it’s through the hospital where they were born} and samples from our pediatrician.

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}.

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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&amp;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}.

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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}

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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.

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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.

Routines in the White House :: Meal times

The time has, unfortunately, come that we now need to put more into the babies via actual food than bottles; which means that I now have to figure out how to feed 3 babies at once. It isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either

In addition to figuring out how to feed 3 babies at once, we also need to figure out what to feed 3 babies at once. With Ave we did a fair amount of Earth’s Best Organic Baby foods: They were quick, easy, and had a lot of variety.

Meal Time Routine[5]

I bought one box (12 jars) of baby food in the beginning, when we got to the point that Jamesie was finishing off a jar by himself and looking for more we knew that wasn’t going to work (not at $1+ per jar).

Making it ourselves was the only option. We started with the basics: Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, kale etc. Then started getting a bit more intense – running homemade chicken soup, or steak, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots through the food processor; pretty much whatever we were eating for dinner (minus pastas and bread and things that were not made from scratch). My dad has taken this very much to heart and has been sending over food for the babies as well.

I started with just doing one meal a day, because, frankly, the idea of putting babies in seats, bibs, feeding, cleaning up was rather overwhelming. We decided on dinner, because that’s mostly the food we’ve made up; that and there are usually 2 of us here, one feeds babies while the other finishes cooking our dinner.

At first no one was liking it, but then slowly James caught on {and now loves it}, then Henry {he’s dealing with it}, and Ellie is still at the tolerating it phase {but she does like carrots}.

I’ve started doing breakfast this past week: Steal cut oats with a bit of mashed bananas and stewed plums. The one day we added some {cooked} egg yolks (which are rich in proteins and good fats – as my mom calls them “Brain Food”). For lunch today we had oatmeal, with butternut squash and creamed spinach.

There’s the what, now for the how.

We rearranged our house so that the babies seats could be at the table and we could eat as a family, but, of course, that is not where the babies get fed. The table is pushed to the side and for them to be seated we have to pull it away from the wall, which means removing the foam mat we have on the floor. Needless to say that isn’t happening 3 times a day.

Bumbos. We line the three of them up on the floor in their bumbos, then sit in the middle. Now, some people will probably denounce me for what comes next…using the same spoon and the same bowl we feed all three of them. We tried separate bowls and spoons, but it was chaos; plus it was really hard to keep things straight. We just keep shoveling into the mouth of whichever child is ready next {and yes, I do have a good idea of who is eating how much}.

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Once they’re past the point of needing purees and being fed, then we’ll work on sitting around the table to eat. Right now purees is about what they can handle. If they get any kinds of chunks they really are at a loss of what to do with them and start gagging. I don’t think it helps that they only have their 2 bottom teeth.

And THAT is how we do it. Yea, it’s work, but it must be done. Kind of like changing three poopie diapers in a row.