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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

 

I’ve recently mentioned trying to get on top of, well, LIFE as we stare down a fast-approaching due date for Baby #3. I don’t think you could really call it nesting; more like simply attempting to gain control over things.

So, what does this have to do with Christmas? Well, the scheduled C-section “due date” is October 24th. I’ve already bought the pieces that will make our kiddos’ pirate costumes for Halloween (both are going as pirates – my son says his sister will be a “baby buccaneer”). My husband and I are scheduling a date to focus on our second-born’s birthday (a week and a half before Thanksgiving, less than a month after the baby comes). And Thanksgiving itself will be an “I’m a guest with a baby strapped to my chest” sort of thing rather than having to put the whole shebang on myself. (Yay!)

That leaves the main event – Christmas. As I’m sure we’ve all thought EVERY YEAR, whether pregnant or overwhelmed or not, “This year, I’m going to get ahead. I’m going to finish my shopping and actually enjoy the season with my family!” Well, for us, this year’s no different…only, I’m actually forcing myself to start.


Here are some of the reasons that I’ve already hit the “buy” button on some Christmas gifts, and hope to finish either pre-baby or pre-Thanksgiving, at the latest…

 


Giving myself a 4th trimester. I feel like, in some ways, I’ve neglected this pregnancy (and baby) for a bunch of non-intentional-but-still-guilt-riddled reasons. So, I’m hoping to allow some time to actually connect with the baby, even amid the usual hectic craziness of life. Shopping (among doing other things) in advance will hopefully help my mind ease enough that, yes, we’re on top of one aspect of the holiday in order to better focus on my own healing and, most importantly, getting to know this special new little one.

 

We’re simplifying our purchases this year. Since we’re purging and generally cutting back on our overall reliance on “too much stuff”, this overlaps into our holiday gift-giving – and hopefully receiving. With presents, we’re relying on the “quality over quantity” credo and requesting the same from loved ones. So, a lot of what we’re asking for and looking for involve experiences (often in the realm of gift certificates, memberships, subscriptions, etc) or an item that we know the person truly uses and loves.

So, hopefully this also simplifies the shopping process, too.

 

TRAFFIC is STRESSFUL. “It’s the mooooost wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeeeaaarrr…” I am far from a Scrooge, but seriously…the lack of attention to people’s driving at Christmastime terrifies me. When I hear the cheery holiday songs juxtaposed against the background of honks, swerves, rude gestures, and general lack of care for humankind…well, it’s just sad.

So, I hit up the mall with my son after school this week and it was dead. Pleasantly unbusy with just normal post-4pm traffic. Sure, I miss the Christmas decorations and music, but that’s the price you pay for peace.

Oh, and most of our shopping will, in fact, be online, too, so I’m just trying to pick up those few, specific items now while I can, then doing the rest from the comfort of my own sweatpants, whether pre-baby or post.

 

I don’t want “shopping” to be included in my “traditions” list. There are some things that I truly hope we’re able to get to, as a family, to maintain some of our previous traditions. These are things that really mean a lot to several members of the family. Picking out a real Christmas tree (hopefully). Going to look at decorated houses. Making cookies. But a stress on shopping and gift-giving? Not a tradition; more of an obligation (an, at times, fun one…but an obligation nonetheless).

 

Weighing the stress vs. cost saving. Speaking of tradition, I used to hit up the Black Friday sales with my sister pretty hard and would accomplish maybe 90% of our gift-giving in one fell swoop. It was a way for us to kick off the holiday season together, usually with hot cocoa and carol-singing while waiting in line (we were those people, yep). Fast forward and this year I’ve decided that those amazing deals you (usually) have to wait until post-November for just aren’t worth the added stress. Even the online hunting and cost-comparing is too much.

As far as this all goes, God bless Google Docs! This year, I’ve kept a running list for every member of the family when I’ve realized, “oh, he could use *fill in the blank*” or anytime our son mentioned a particular toy more than a handful of times, on the list it went. So, while there may be a thing or two that he specifically requests from Santa that we may have to order closer to the holiday, I think we’ve got a good head-start on buying things everyone will actually enjoy.
Going with the flow of commercialism rather than fighting upstream. This is actually totally a joke (since very few people seem actually HAPPY about the fact that Christmas decorations being displayed with the Back-to-School stuff), and while I tend to reuse as much as humanly possible for wrapping, I’ve found that I’ll need to stock up on a handful of new Christmas supplies (namely, gift bags; the old ones are falling apart!). So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I’ll be making a stop sooner rather than later so that we’re all prepped and ready to go.

So, am I the only one? Has anyone else officially started (or even finished!) their holiday shopping yet? Do you think I’m totally nuts? (Hey, that’s okay if you do.) What are you going to do to make things easier on yourself this holiday season? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Leaks. Argh! When you pick up your little one and feel something wet on his clothes (especially if it’s started happening on a regular basis), your mind goes into “Why is this happening? How do I fix this??” mode. It’s not a “cloth only” issue when it comes to diapering, but it’s one that we hear about from time to time with cloth.

Our girl, Laura, addressed the topic on a recent #ThirstiesLive and we thought we’d pass along her great info with our readers here.

Before troubleshooting your leaks, it helps to figure out if you have a properly working cloth diaper. This means that it’s a good idea to rule out the following:

– Delaminated TPU. When the laminated material delaminates, you’ll notice that it looks and feels different – kind of bumpy and like it’s been superheated.

– Repelling. If liquid isn’t being absorbed but rather “sits” on top of it, there’s a possibility that your cloth diapers are repelling. Here are some possible causes and ways to fix them:
              – Grease – Try a hand wash with blue Dawn.
              – Detergent build-up – Try a hot wash with RLR Laundry Treatment.
              – Ammonia build-up – Give diapers a soak in Rockin Green Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer followed by a hot wash.

Now, if these solutions don’t seem to stop the leaking, there are some other possibilities. Here are some more common causes of leaks that aren’t related to wash issues…

Diaper Leak Reason #1: Bad Fit

  • Symptom #1: Leaking is seen and felt around legs but the diaper is not saturated, and the diaper may even have leg gaps you can visually notice.
  • Symptom #2: Your baby is experiencing leaking out of the back of the diaper.
  • Symptom #3: Your baby is experiencing leaking out of the front of the diaper.
  • Fix: Make sure the diaper is fit to your child’s body properly. This would mean that the leg elastics (or inner gusset) is located comfortably in the groin crease and not further down the leg, and that the rise is no more than an inch below baby’s belly button. Adjust snaps and sizing accordingly to reach the optimal fit.

Diaper Leak Reason #2: Changing Too Infrequently

  • Symptom: The diaper is saturated and leaks after going more than 2 hours between changes.
  • Fix: It’s a bummer to say it, but try changing more frequently. Also try adding doublers or an extra insert if needing to go longer between changes (like during nap time).

Diaper Leak Reason #3: Not Enough Absorbency

  • Symptom: If the diaper is saturated and leaks after less than 2 hours of wear, you may need more absorbency. It could mean that your child is a heavy wetter.
  • Fix: Simply add a doubler or inserts.

Diaper Leak Reason #4: Absorbency in the Wrong Place

  • Symptom: If experiencing leaking despite a good fit, but the diaper isn’t saturated, you may need some additional absorbency in another area of the diaper.
  • Fix: Identify and boost the wetness zone with a doubler or inserts by:
    • Observing where the leaks are coming out and where the diaper is the wettest
    • Considering child’s age and if they are flooding the diaper

Hopefully, these solutions will help with any possible leaking problems you’ve been experiencing. Be sure to check out Thirsties’ variety of inserts (both stay-dry duo inserts and hemp inserts) and organic cotton doublers if you need help fixing an absorbency issue.

 

 

So, raise your hand if you’ve had any issues with your cloth diapers leaking! Did you find a solution here? We’d love to hear your experiences (and any different solutions!) in the comments below.

And, as always, don’t forget that Thirsties goes live every Friday at 1:00pm MST on Facebook and 1:45 MST on Instagram! The topics vary and are always helpful and interesting, and you’ll love meeting super fun Laura.

 

Today’s post is a lengthy one, but may be helpful for anyone dealing with transitions.

I’m not normally a complainer. I was raised in a very “suck it up and handle things – quietly” way. Maybe it was the Irish Catholic immigrant relatives who had to pull themselves up by their bootstraps trickling down into our generations, but here we are.

Yet, when life gets tough…sometimes you just have to admit it.

As mothers, in particular, we’ve also been “mom shamed” into being (or, at least, SHOWING) the epitome of the perfectly-together parent. Juggle all issues, big and small. Remember every detail. Make the perfect, nutritious meals. Save the world…while meeting our own deadlines and work responsibilities (and never, ever be seen with a pizza box in your hand).

So, our family is undergoing some transitions. Admittedly, on their own I’d be fine juggling them, but as they build it’s getting tougher and tougher to keep it together. I feel awful even writing that “out loud.” People are dealing with divorces, hurricane devastation, deaths, illness…and I’m like, “yeesh, life’s kinda hard.” I officially am the worst person ever. Accept my apologies, but it’s good for us to talk about our problems (yes, sometimes even to Internet strangers) to deal with them better, right?

Here’s where we are. The biggest transitions we’re coping with are: a fast-approaching new baby (we’re due with child #3 in late October), my starting a new job teaching at the high school level (I’m a K-12 librarian who hasn’t taught this age in several YEARS…and the teachers have some high expectations and have booked me solid for the next month), and our oldest son starting kindergarten, and I’m S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D. Throw in silly stuff like a new house we’re still trying to settle into with a kazillion projects to complete, my husband dealing with his own stressful work stuff, what seems like endless appointments (OB-GYN, kid appointments, vet visits, car tune-ups, Open House, faculty meetings, etc.), and general day-to-day routine juggling, it’s exhausting.

Mentally. Physically. Everything.

So far, our son has handled kindergarten better than he’s handled, well, any transition EVER so far. His behavior is kinda off at home now, but with the shift in his schedule (and no more naptime), we’ve expected that. But he hasn’t experienced a full 5-day week yet, so I’m still holding my breath. When this new baby comes, I’m just hoping that the fact that he has school to attend to will help him cope with his second sibling better than he did with his first. And I don’t even have the time to be as fearful about how our second-born will handle things; oh, how things change the more you have.

I won’t delve too deeply into my job situation, but suffice it to say that the switch that I agreed to is turning out to be far more stressful than I was told it would be. Let’s just say that my anxiety is running pretty high right now.

Which makes one of my biggest priorities (trying to ensure that I’m taking care of myself for the sake of this baby) fall to the wayside. It’s easy enough to forget that I’m even expecting while caring for two other littles, but getting into the swing of things at work, dealing with a new schedule, and all the added planning and stress…yyyyeah. I’m feeling guilt mixed with frustration wrapped up in a big ol’ blanket of stress.  


HOW I’M DEALING – AND HOW YOU CAN, TOO  

Since I truly hate to just complain, I figured I’d share some constructive ways I’m trying my best to handle things. I also posted some tips for transition a couple of years ago when we were experiencing our last huge time of change, so some of these ideas overlap (but maybe some of the old ideas will offer you some comfort and help, too).

And, of course, if you’re dealing with any of those HUGE life events I mentioned earlier, you may scoff at some of these. To you, I offer a huge hug and my prayers.

HOWEVER YOU HAVE TO ORGANIZE THINGS, DO IT. Some people use an app on their phones. Others need to write lists and have a paper planner (*raises hand*). Post-Its. Google Calendar. Whatever works for you, simply recording and organizing your thoughts helps.

Isn’t it weird how not accomplishing a single thing can actually alleviate a little of the stress? There’s truth in it, though. Have you ever had those nights that you just can’t sleep because there are too many things swirling in your head? Simply writing down those nagging problems is enough to let your brain know that “it’s officially been recorded and we’ll handle them when we can; for now, they’re cleared out and you can rest.” You may still worry, but it’s not nearly as bad.

Plus, crossing things off your to-do list – even those minor tasks – is pretty darn satisfying.

CHUNK YOUR TIME INTO MANAGEABLE PIECES. When I look at our wall calendar, I can feel my chest get heavier. (When I look into next month, I get even more stressed – while I can’t wait for our super-busy-September to be over, if I wish it away I’ll also be wishing away baby prep time!) Even when I look at the week ahead, I have to shake my head and sigh.

So, how do we deal? (Other than list-making, hee hee.)

While I try to stay familiar with what’s to come, I try to look at the week ahead…then juuuust the next day or so. I have things written in my calendar to make sure I’ve prepped (like make babysitter arrangements or be aware that I need to pick up my son after a meeting), but looking at things a day at a time – or even, honestly, half a day at a time (“Yay, I made it halfway through the day!”) sometimes helps make it through those crazy busy periods.    

FIND THE SMALL JOYS. As I type this, one of our three cats just came over to rub his head on my laptop. He – along with my kids and his two cat brothers – is a constant reminder to me to slow down. I squish my face into his tubby belly and he curls up, full-on purring, next to me. It’s like a white noise machine you can cuddle. It’s these small pieces of pure joy that make up life, as much as all those crazy life changes and stresses we’re enduring.

The fact that our son handled the first two days of school with nary a meltdown or issue was a HUGE win that we celebrated with him (without bringing up meltdowns and harping on negatives). We’re all giving each other a little more grace in dealing with these transitions and truly enjoying “family moments” more. I’m making more time for the joys and my husband and I are appreciating simple things like a family meal or impromptu dance party in the living room all the more lately.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Hand-in-hand with small joys and the folks dealing with hurricanes and the like, I like to sing this song to my littles at least once a week. It’s as much a reminder to myself as it is to them.

Work’s stressful? It could be because you’re starting new tasks that you’re not used to; it’ll get easier. (Or, if it isn’t getting easier and you’ve tried your best to remain positive, it may be time for you to forge a new path. That’s a whole other post, though.) But what are the good parts about it?

I don’t have time to appreciate this pregnancy as much as I want/should, but I’m grateful to *knock on wood* have had a relatively easy time with it (and am lucky, overall, that we’re able to get pregnant in the first place). And before I know it, whether we’re “ready or not”, I’ll have time on my hands to focus solely (okay, MOSTLY) on this little one. For that time, I’ll be VERY grateful.

I try to remind myself how hard my parents had it when my father was battling (and eventually lost his battle) with cancer when we were little. Getting him to appointments. Affording, heck, ANYTHING – heating the house, his hospital bills and meds, and simply feeding and clothing four kids. Figuring out who’d watch us at any given moment. Then, after he passed, many of these concerns continued for my mom. And on top of it losing one of the pillars of support to both our mother and us kids. It still has a profound impact.

So, needless to say, it makes me so, so, so grateful. We’re lucky for our health. We’re lucky for each other. We’re lucky to have a home. We’re lucky for a supportive family. So on and so forth. For all the issues thrown at us, we’re tremendously lucky people. I hope you have a multitude of blessings in your life to count through, too.  

APPRECIATE THE LOW-STRESS MOMENTS. “Whew. THAT’s over.” It can be the feeling at the end of a long day after the kids are finally asleep or simply the moment after you’ve completed a big presentation or assignment. Whatever it is, ENJOY that post-stress letdown. Allow yourself to rest your mind and body and accept that you’ve achieved something, whether big or small.

Going hand-in-hand with chunking your time, I try to wallow in the positivity of completion a little bit after a task is finished. Dinner’s on the table? Whew. You made it through the day without flipping out on someone? Allow yourself a little YouTube time. I finally finished that multi-part lesson plan? THANK GOODNESS. At the end of a long day, look at all you really did accomplish and be proud.

BE MORE PRESENT. Being more present in each and every moment and reminding yourself that most of the things you stress about aren’t as bad as the actual worrying beforehand (like I said, MOST of the time) helps when actually dealing with situations. Nerves and anxiety can be our downfall, but taking a moment to breathe and actually be part of the moment rather than pushing it away or wishing we could run from it may help us to appreciate or even enjoy whatever we’re experiencing.

One of my favorite kindergarten moments for my son that could teach us all a valuable lesson happened after my husband dropped him off on his first day. It was unclear what time drop-off occurred (after phone calls and checking the handbook, he was on time…but the other kids were already in class), so our son had to be escorted alone to his classroom by an aide he’d never met before. She later told us that when he got to the door, he politely asked if he could have a moment. He then closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and muttered something to himself (something like, “You can do this, Hadley” or “Welcome to kindergarten, Hadley”), then turned back and said he was ready. For a 5-year-old to have the (rare) presence of mind to calm and reaffirm himself before starting something new, I was amazed.

I think we can all take something away from that.


So, raise your hand (or comment below!) if you’re dealing with a big transition right now! Go ahead and vent, whether it’s big or small, and know that this little community here has got your back. If you’ve experienced some transitions and have a few additional words of advice to offer, we’d love to hear them in the comments, too!

And for anyone dealing with the effects of Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey, truly, let us know how we can help. Our hearts break for everything you’re going through. <3

Last year, I posted an article with a round-up of fun fall activities to do with your family. The year before, I posted a “frugal fall fun” list of ideas. Many of these ideas turned out great for my family and can still apply, but this year I’m keeping it even simpler – while still making the most of our family’s “favorite season.”

Fast forward a year and things are even more hectic than usual – and I know many of you can relate no matter what season of life your family is experiencing. In our case, we have our third baby on the way (due at the end of October), we’re celebrating a year in our new house come November (and still sometimes feel like we haven’t totally unpacked!), and are undergoing some family transitions with our oldest heading to kindergarten and my starting at a new school in our district (with high schoolers – I’ve got the jitters, folks). It feels like a lot.

Maybe you can relate and are in the exact same boat with youngsters and “firsts” left and right. Or, maybe you’ve already been through it all and are instead dealing with the craziness of older kid schedules and practice drop-offs and pick-ups. Or, still yet, maybe you’re expecting your first child and are feeling a certain level of overwhelm just wrapping your head around everything – along with dealing with the exhaustion that can accompany pregnancy.

It never ends. But, we wouldn’t really want it to, would we?

Well, no matter your family’s stage, I fully believe it’s possible to still enjoy simple things – like a new season! – without overfilling your plate (ie schedule).

 


Be intentional about the season. – “Being intentional” sounds like such a hipster concept these days, but there’s a lot of value in it. It really is about opening your eyes to the moments and experiences around you as they happen; it’s also a really great way to get a kickstart on Thanksgiving (the being grateful thing; not the planning your menu and stuffing your face thing).

So, how do we do this? My favorite way to break it down is to suggest using your senses. Take a moment on those cool, crisp mornings to pause and feel the chill on your skin (but still appreciate the sun that accompanies it). Close your eyes and smell the fallen leaves or apple cinnamon candle you only break out when summer ends. Savor the flavors of fall comfort foods and fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-pumpkin-spice-food-or-beverage-here. You get the idea.

And, of course, bring your kids in on the fun! When you notice something with your senses, mention it to them and have them take part, too (maybe not a latte, but you get the idea). Kids are often even better at recognizing these simple pleasures than we grown-ups.

Make the most over the changes. As we’ve been addressing with our son, sometimes transition can be sad, but there are often happy consequences to the change, too. I have a good mix of friends who very publicly share either their disdain over the end of summer fun or their elation over welcoming autumn. I always find that it’s better to ride the waves rather than try to stroke upstream (when it’s clear you’re going to lose that race).

So, I find what I enjoy about the season rather than what I hate. The first time I’m able to switch over to my trusty old brown boots and a favorite scarf is joy (and, yay, I can do that pregnant!). The first taste of a pumpkin spice coffee? The same thing. We’ll soon be deep into it and summer will be a distant, lovely memory. Life moves so quickly, it’s much more rewarding to enjoy where we are while we’re there rather than rush things even more.        

There’s no shame in multi-tasking, especially when there’s fun in store. So, you’re hoping to do a bit of decorating with pumpkins and other fall paraphernalia but also have a craving for some cider, but don’t have a lot of time on your hands? Instead of heading to your usual craft store, home improvement store, and grocery store, grab the kiddos and hit up a pumpkin patch or local garden center (we have one that’s also an orchard that happens to stock TONS of pumpkins, corn stalks, hay bales, etc – PLUS they have a free corn maze and a shop with cider, pastries, and other fall treats…jackpot). One stop shopping!

How often do you go on a shopping trip with a side of family fun and memories for good measure?    

Find one or two simple family outings and ENJOY! You may not have time to do all the things you’d like to do. I know I don’t. So, if we happen not to be able to hit all of our favorite spots (let’s just say our annual trip to Vermont is out when you’re 8 ½ months pregnant), we’ll pick what will pack the most punch and simply enjoy the time together.

Some basic ideas? Hit up the farmers’ market and make a meal together using local, autumnal flavors. Make the most out of your Halloween pumpkin-picking trip and make a side trip to a costume store or thrift shop to pick out their costumes. Hit up a “you pick” apple orchard or cider mill (since they usually have additional activities and shopping opportunities for patrons).

Whatever it is, savor the experience. For me, this often means leaving the phone home (or taking it out ONLY to take a picture), chatting with the kids during the trip, allowing the eating of super messy cider donuts in the car (ya only live once, right?), and maybe throwing in a movie night with popcorn and cider or cocoa just to add to the memories of the day.   

As with all things, don’t strive for perfection! Raise your hand if you struggle with this, too!! It’s funny. I often hear my family jokingly call me Martha Stewart (more my mom and sister, but occasionally in a nice way my husband reminds me that I’m doing too much or not to stress myself out), so, yeah. Reminder to all of us: creating fun memories CAN be done simply and DOESN’T need to be Pinterest perfect.

So, go ahead and BUY a pumpkin spice latte instead of blending up your own nutrient-dense, fortified-with-coconut-oil, dairy-free version (unless you really, really want to or have dietary reasons). Grab your favorite Do the simplest decorating that brings YOUR heart joy (I’m looking at you, small but cute faux pumpkins and yummy-smelling candles from the Target dollar area). And, yes. It IS okay to purchase your child’s Halloween costume (says the woman who made her children’s every year after they turned one); and semi-homemade is totally a thing, so putting together pieces from their wardrobe plus a handful of stuff from the dress-up bin totally works.


Hopefully these tips help you find ways to enjoy the autumn without adding too much to your schedule (or stress level).

We’d love to hear your favorite ways to celebrate fall. It’s always great to bounce ideas off of each other and try new things, so share away in the comments!

As summer says goodbye, I tend to feel an anxiousness – usually because of a new school year starting (I’ll be working with high schoolers this year, so that’s a huge change) or this year because our oldest son’s entering kindergarten. But there’s definitely something even bigger that gets my nerves a little twitchy. Not-so-slowly but surely, the due date for our third child is closing in!

Due at the end of October, we’ll be welcoming our third and most likely final child. There are SO many emotions that go along with this, but I’ve noticed that our prep this time around has been a bit…different.

Today, I’m sharing a few of these marked differences that have accompanied a third child and seeing if anyone else has had a similar experience. Here it goes!


We’re buying fewer things. We didn’t have a shower (or sprinkle, or anything) with our second-born. However, when she was born and we found out that she was a girl, we added to our neutral clothing and cloth diaper stash to round them out with some “pretty” colors. (Mind you, she’d still rather wear some of her brother’s clothes a lot of the time, so hand-me-downs are a huge thing for us.)

But, now that we’ve had a girl and a boy, we feel pretty much prepared as far as clothes and supplies. We’ve had people ask what we need and the answer is, genuinely, nothing. We’ve purged as much of our kiddo clothes are possible and still have WAY more than we need, so this babe’s set.

We ARE in the midst of figuring out our three carseat scenario, though. That will most likely be our only real cost as far as getting ready this time around. (Suggestions for 3 carseats that work together in a not-too-huge backseat are GREATLY welcome!)

A lot of our prep involves our other kids just as much as the bundle of joy. With your firstborn, it’s ALL about that child (and your own learning to be a parent). With a second, it’s about the baby and helping the older child adjust (and less and less about figuring out how to be a parent, although there are still “but your brother never did that!” conundrums).

With more than two, there’s a lot of “prepping to keep things relatively normal” for your littles…plus the baby. (And you’re not too worried about the parenting because you already know things will fall in line – you’ve been through postpartum AND helping little ones transition already.)

So, aligning both with back-to-school AND this transition, I’ve been trying to do as much in advance as possible to have things under some sort of control later. I’ll be making some freezer meals, making sure that things are set for child care when baby comes, and doing as much Halloween costume-making, birthday prep for our daughter, and in-advance Christmas shopping done for EVERYONE. Whew.    

I keep forgetting! This happened a little bit when we were expecting our second, but this time the fact that we have both an energetic 5-year-old AND a 20-month-old toddler simultaneously means that…yup, I keep forgetting that I’m pregnant in the first place. It’s weird. And kind of hilarious.

I’m one of those people who brushes off aches and pains, or quickly but politely answers those same questions when out and about. With the other kids to focus on, I just kind of keep moving. Not to say that I haven’t been really tired or found that my errands take way more time than they used to, but I just kind of…forget.

Until I have to shave my legs. Or catch a glimpse of myself spinning my daughter around in a mirror…and realize that she’s perched on a huge tummy.

We’re entering a simpler stage. It may not sound like it when I mentioned getting things ready early for the holidays and everything, but we’re definitely feeling a shift in the family and what matters most to us. Time together, simplifying life to feel less stressed (and to HAVE the ability to enjoy our time together rather than lose our patience), and deciding what our priorities are is the new normal. Things are all about simplicity.

So, one thing, we’ve started purging – not just the kid clothes but ALL of our stuff. We recently had a garage sale and I don’t see this trend ending for us. Our hope is just to be able to surround ourselves with what we need and actually love, but also to give us all enough breathing room (and organized systems to make the day-to-day run smoother).

And while I mention doing Christmas shopping and birthday prep, I’m requesting FAR fewer gifts (and doing less shopping, myself) and only buying things we know the kids will LOVE and truly enjoy. So, it’s all about quality (AND saving time and money). Our daughter’s birthday will be a small-ish family event (since our baby will be 2-3 weeks old, ack) but I’m setting it up to be special by prepping in advance.

There’s less worry. When we had one child, we worried A LOT more. Then, when our daughter was on her way, we worried tremendously about how he’d handle the change. Our son is super smart and funny, but also has a sensitive soul, so we were very concerned about our transition (and while he loved his new sister, we were right; he had a very rough time). But, we all made it through and are so thankful for the lessons we learned getting through it all.

So, who knows how our daughter will handle things? She’s even younger and REALLY doesn’t “get” it much…AND she’s a mama’s girl, so goodness knows. But, we know we’ll get through it with hugs, deep breaths, and the reminder that almost EVERYTHING – good and bad – is a phase that will eventually change and shift.

The only worry worth letting into our thoughts is the health and wellness of all three kiddos.

And a name. That’s kind of important, too, right? Hmm.

Raise your hand if you have three or more kiddos! Or if you’re considering having a “larger” family (isn’t that such a relative term? Three kids is nothing if you have 8…or 10…or 12). What were your experiences?? We’d love to hear.