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.

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.

Grace Multiplied

While at Allume, I kept seeing this table that was decked out in green and black-eyed-susans with big’ol pregnant bellies everywhere. I kept wanting to go over there, but what could I, an infertile, have to do with that display. Finally, Saturday night, I worked up the courage to go over and see what it was about.

At first glance I had thought it was a hippy-dippy plug for natural childbirth; well I’m disqualified on that one after having had an epidural with the triplets. What I found out was that it had to do with an e-book, written by Angie Tolpin, titled “Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing His Presence, in Pregnancy, Childbirth, Delivery and Beyond”.

“The goal is not to convince women to choose the same method of birthing, but rather to encourage women to engage whatever circumstances, trials, or experiences the Lord allows intentionally seeking His wisdom, counsel and care through the spiritual disciplines of study, meditation, prayer, praise and worship.”  from RedeemingChildbirth.com

Angie was speaking to another woman, and I stood by listening to their conversation: I heard mentions of pregnancy, delivery, seeking God, and feeling His grace during pregnancy and birth. This was something I could get behind! Dinner was calling, so I dropped my business card in a bowl and briefly interrupted to tell Angie I would be emailing her, and she would know when it was me.

I contacted Angie and we emailed back and forth about my own pregnancy and birth experience with the triplets and I asked if she would be interested in a guest post. I’d love it if you visited Redeeming Childbirth today and shared in my story of God’s grace in my delivery.

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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&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.