Showing posts with label Making Room for Babies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Making Room for Babies. Show all posts

Monday, June 1

5 New Baby Must Haves {from a Mama of 5}

**This post does contain affiliate links, meaning that I earn a few pennies on purchases made through the links: You can read my Disclosure Policy here.**

When you’re having your 5th child and you’ve had 3 of your others at once there really isn’t anything that you need for a new baby. You kind of decide at this point that you have way too much baby stuff and need to purge immediately and for your own sanity. I’ve been going through all of the kids clothes, shoes, toys and paraphernalia that we have; deciding what to keep, what to yard sale, and what to sell on ebay. It hasn’t been easy {my bedroom has looked liked this for the past 2 months}.

All of this also helps me to realize that perhaps I’m a bit of an expert on the necessities for baby. Obviously, there are some things that are absolutely not negotiable…like a car seat, especially if you plan on being in a car, or diapers and clothes. The rest is just an extensive list of things that would be nice, but aren’t necessary. To me, these items are the must-have-end-all-be-all of baby necessities.

A Carrier
I don’t care who you are or how much you love your baby, at some point you’re going to want the use of your hands again, but that little one is probably still going to want to be held. With the rest of our kids we had a Moby Wrap, which both Matt and I loved! It kept them close and warm, it was comfortable to wear, even with the clingy big sister in it.

This time it’s summer though and warm isn’t exactly something I’m looking for. I asked a few friends about the Ergo and the Boba and several others, before deciding that we would ask for a Boba with #5. I need ease of use, comfort, and flexibility…especially going into the summer when we have swimming lessons, the fair, and Matt is gone a whole lot more.

*Ergo Baby Carrier {Borrowed one of these from a friend and I really like it}
*Boba Baby Carrier {I liked the features of the Boba better than the Ergo}
*Moby Wrap {Love this one…it is a bit tricky to get into at first, it’s pretty easy after you get the hang of it, but it can get quite warm}

Cloth Diapers

I realize that specifically cloth diapers are not a necessity. But I love my cloth diapers, if I could wax-poetic about them I would. I’ve missed them, since we moved out last year and the triplets went in to disposables. My whole box of them has been pulled out, lovingly prepped and waiting for use once again. My favorite is still a Bum Genius. {If you’re not into cloth, we’ve always had great luck with Huggies Little Movers and OverNites}.

*Bum Genius {These are my favorites and I have no complaints whatsoever about them}
*Fuzzi Bunz {I love the colors on these so much more than the BG, but the elastic does not hold up well..they do have an awesome repair policy though}.


Once little one will let you put them down and sleep comfortably some place other than on your person we loved having a swing. I didn’t have to go up and down the stairs to the baby’s room and they slept well. I think we got our’s at a consignment shop for quite a bit less than brand new. Some of them get ridiculously expensive, but a good, basic one doesn’t have to cost tons of money, just make sure to get one that has an AC adapter…batteries get expensive.

*Fisher Price Rainforest {This is the one we have, I think I paid less than $100 at consignment}
*Fisher Price Zen Swing {We’ve borrowed this one with Ave, it’s nice, but way too expensive}

Sound Machine
I know for some people this is an unnecessary item, but for us…they are awesome! I never used to sleep with a sound machine, until I visited Matt at college with his mom {who had one}. Now I don’t leave home without it and each of the kids’ rooms has one. They’re great for creating a gentle sound that can drown out the rest of a crazy house.

*Cloud B Sound Machine Sheep {I don’t like that this one turns off after a while, baby usually wakes up when that happens}
*Graco Sound Machine {This is my preferred sound machine}

Coconut Oil

That’s right coconut oil. It’s great for diaper rash, sore nipples, dry skin, a quick spoonful for energy…you name it and coconut oil is probably good for it. With Ave I just used the lanolin ointment which reminded me of the smell of wool sweaters in Ireland {lanolin is the oil in sheep wool}, with the triplets we had coconut oil for everything.

*Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Monday, February 23

A Few Words on What’s Been Going On

There’s this little detail about having things to share with you…it means I actually have to do things. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a baby quilt, but honestly I’ve just been exhausted. Fortunately, we figured out one of the reasons why I’m exhausted. Besides growing a person, I’m severely Vitamin D deficient. Normal is between 30-100, I’m a 17. Yea. Not good. I was trying to figure out how the heck I could be Vitamin D deficient, when I realized that for almost 2 years I haven’t been out of my house.IMG_7680

Now, before you think I’m some weirdo that never goes outside….We went from last winter, which was long and cold, to living in my in-laws basement, to moving back into our home {and working on projects INSIDE}, to this winter, which is long and cold. The last time I was outside with any regularity was the summer of 2013. Pathetic. Fortunately, my mom also has issues with her Vitamin D, so she gave me what I need to take.

Interestingly enough, one of the side effects of Vitamin D deficient, besides tiredness, is that your body pretty much needs it to do anything. Great! So the cold I wasn’t able to really kick for almost 2 months {a slightly scratchy throat lingered}, is now finally gone. I’m getting things done around the house: Trying to completely some of the bigger to-dos on our list, before baby arrives.

I did finish that baby quilt, the first one I’ve stitched in over a year, we’ve been working on our mudroom and master bathroom, and I’ve got the fabric lined up for another baby quilt. I feel productive. Now, mind you, I’m still rather tired, but I at least feel like starting projects…which is a good thing. I actually had the motivation to reorganize our pantry!

I have to say though…I love winter. I love snow. I love the cold….it’s the only time of the year that I can literally breath freely {heat and humidity do not agree with me} and I feel like there’s a good reason to be curled up with a book. After this whole Vitamin D thing, I’m honestly ready to have some sunshine on a regular basis!

Despite the “norm” of life for us, we also have several other projects in the works, that are taking up some of my brain power. I’m hoping I’ll be able to share more on them in the next month or so. Right now, we’re just trying to get through most days without the kids going completely batty, which I think may be a lost cause at this point.

How have you been managing this winter?
FYI: If you feel a lack of energy and like you’re unable to get/stay healthy, give your doctor a call about having your Vitamin D levels checked.

Wednesday, April 17

Routines in the White House
{Part 4}Transportation: Part 2

I posted before how we had our minivan setup with 4 car seats. Well, Ellie grew out of her infant car seat….it was a sad, SAD day. Fortunately, our tax return arrived just in time to purchase the new car seat.

So, I set about figuring how to have 3 car seats in the back row and 1 in the middle captain’s chair. And again, after much knuckle-ripping and head-bashing I had figured it out. Only to have it last about a week.


See I had it all figured out, but then we discovered something: Avelyn get’s car sick any time we drive for more than 20-30 minutes, since she was in the back of the van. Since she’s the one who actually goes places with me, that are further than 30 minutes away, we had to reconfigure them again….fun right?

Car Seat install

A few more choice words and bloodied knuckles and I had it figured out, again. I’m not keen on the boys being forward facing, despite their being well beyond the 20lbs and 30” recommendations, and a year old; however, it really was the only option given Avelyn’s propensity for vomiting in the car and that you could not fit any child over the backs of the wall of car seats in the back row. We felt ok with the decision to turn them, given that we never go anywhere…seriously…the only time the kids go more than 10 minutes in the car is for their well baby appointments. Elanor is still rear facing, due to her peanut stature and weight.

Soon after this set up was installed we discovered that now Henry, likes to vomit all over himself while in the car. Even while he is sound asleep. I really can sympathize with these kids, because frankly, being in the back seat of a van makes me want tear my hair out…l feel Iike I’m in a straight jacket and being held under water back there, just a slight panic attack, and I’m always the one driving because I get car sick.

We’ll probably stay in this configuration for a while, since I don’t see us turning Ellie before she’s 2 {the goal for every parent…I think a few states have actually mandated that now}. Of course, the boys just had another growth spurt and I will soon have to unstrap their seats in order to adjust their shoulder height. Please pray for me.

We figure we have about another 2 years in this vehicle and then we’ll be looking for another. There is seriously no room in it. Once we put the stroller in the trunk, you’re done. You can’t shove another thing back there. There is the roof, but you I’m paranoid of the clamshell flying off in the middle of the night while driving down the interstate {it’s really a good thing we don’t travel}. We know that once the kids are a bit older we will be travelling places more often, so we’ll definitely need the space.

We figure we could maybe get 1 more kid out of this car and then we’re looking at getting this bad boy….
Do these come in a color other than white? Beige or Silver or Tan perhaps?
By the way…did I mention, pray for me.

Monday, February 18

It’s possible…

I’ve posted a couple of times about my pipe dream of tearing off the back of our house and doing a full renovation, complete with finished basement and master bedroom “suite”.

Well, after several months, we finally had the contractor get in touch with us for the estimate for the foundation. I am pleased to say that my pipe dream is going to cost less {for the foundation at least} than repairing the existing foundation: Yippee! So much so that we’re going to ask him t0 give us an estimate for a full foundation, not just a crawl space foundation. Which means that we might just be able to drastically increase the square footage of our house!

I am so excited!!! {Matt may or may not share my enthusiasm.}

Of course this is still in the dream phase. It would be nice if we could start next year, but there are a lot of details {financing being the first} that need to be worked out. We still have to work up some rough plans to take to the local lumber store and have them give us an estimate on the cost of construction materials. Not to mention we’ll be moving in with my in-laws for a few months, while the bulk of the work is done.

But, this is what I’ve come up with so far…

First Floor {Kitchen/Laundry Area}
First Floor Plan

3D View of Kitchen/Laundry Room

First Floor 3d 1First Floor 3d 3

First Floor 3d 2 The new space measures approximately 30’x20’, which is awesome, but makes for a really huge bedroom, which is what the space above will be. We’ll have a bathroom in the space; it will be nice to have a full bathroom upstairs.

Second Floor Floor Plan

That’s the pipe dream. The basement isn’t going to be anything crazy, but it will be finished with a 3/4 bath so that we can have visitors and they have a place of their own. It will mostly be the kids playroom/TV room, but we will have a pullout sofa down there so that there is a place to sleep.

Now we just have to figure out precisely what this is going to cost, then figure out financing and if we can afford it. We’ll definitely be doing it in phases, since there is no way we can afford to do it all at once. The kitchen will be the priority, with the basement after that, then the master bedroom. Fortunately, we can do most of the work ourselves, with help.

The new marriage test: We’ve survived major back injuries, infertility, triplets….now to see if we can survive a home renovation!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you can bet there will be lots of pins about kitchens and renovations over the next year!

Saturday, October 6

Fun Things in Fall

I’ve been really remiss in sharing some of the things that we’ve been doing this fall. I plan on remedying that in this post.

In September we had our usual work-weekend at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Museum’s Harvest Festival. Matt and I worked Saturday, my parents on Sunday. Then on Sunday afternoon we headed up with the kids to enjoy the afternoon and help tear down. It was a beautiful weekend, which was such a blessing considering we’d had nothing but rain leading up to it.

Harvest Fest Collage 1Fall Harvest Collage 2

The kids got to go on their first carousel ride.

The last weekend in September my mom and I had signed up for a Historic Homes Tour of our town. Which I really wanted to: There are some really beautiful old homes in our town {Victorians} that I have always wanted to see inside of. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside.

doc's house

This house is always beautifully lit for Christmas…I’ll try and get a picture this year. The middle pictures are of the outhouse: The men’s side had a space heater, but the women’s and children’s did not. In the bottom picture the row of glass on the bottom right was the enclosed walkway to the outhouse.

houses vcollage

The middle right house is one that I have loved since I was a little girl. It wasn’t as in good of shape as I expected, on the inside, but it did make me feel better about my own 100 year old house. I bet you didn’t know that we had a castle in our town! It’s actually being renovated right now to be used as a cafĂ© and large event facility; it’s been closed for the better part of 10 years and been unused. You can also see a picture of our theater outside and inside.

We also finished a few construction projects: The swing set is officially done {until we add more things to it} and raised beds for the 200 tulips and daffodils we have to plant.
construction collage
I think that gets us caught up on pictures from September!

Monday, July 23

A View to Make Room

As the babies are getting bigger we realize that we’re going to have to address certain issues in our house. The first one being, our kitchen table seats 2 people, with Ave in the high chair.

We do have major plans for the back of our house (which consists of the kitchen/breakfast nook, laundry/mud room, and office/pantry), but they are huge and not happening this year. Those plans involve reconstructing the poorly built foundation then gutting the entire back end and making it one room, with a full bedroom (rather than gabled-attic) above.

Right now we need to make the space we have work harder for us.

We’ve often thought about flip-flopping our dining room and living room, but the problem with that is we feel so exposed having our living room out in the front with big windows on 3 sides, plus it gets super hot in there during the summer, because there is no shade.

The other strike against that idea is that I like having my living room next to my kitchen. I can be cooking/cleaning and still have an eye on the kids as they play or watch TV.

What’s a body to do?

We could leave the dining room where it is and just carry every meal in there. That doesn’t sound appealing.

Needless to say we’re in a bit of a quandary.

Any ideas? I have a feeling we’re just going to end up flip-flopping the rooms, because that is probably the best option. Matt’s open to buying a large AC unit, which will hopefully help cut the heat-factor and make the space more bearable.

Now to figure out how to rearrange and renovate things.

(Don’t be surprised if this becomes a whole series of posts, because there is a lot involved).

Thursday, June 9

New digs!

For the past few years we've been talking about renovating our house and putting on an addition, or more the craptastic addition off our house (since the foundation is crumbling and the structure is pulling away from the existing house) and build bigger!

When we bought our house, I wasn't married yet and was able to get a single woman/low income/first time home buyers grant. I got $25k toward a house, but it had to be less than $100k and in the problem. We found and love our house (we had already negotiated on another house to within $1k, but didn't feel comfortable committing to it, when my mom's friend called us and said "Hey, there's a house for sale on S Ave. Go look at it." We did and we bought that house instead. Which was good because, that huge flood 5 years ago, the other house had their car in the living room).

We had a 15 year mortgage on our house and only have 9 years left right now. The grant comes up in September, at which point they reassess your income/dependents and determine how much, if any, you owe back on the grant. I don't think we'll be owing anything back.

Even before finding out about Mo, Larry, and Curly (or possibly Ron, Harry and Hermione) we had planned on doing this renovation sometime in the next 5 years, since the roof is getting worse, the foundation is terrible, etc. We think we might be pushing up our renovations.

While we can sleep 6 people comfortably in this house, there is no way we can feed 6 people comfortably. Our dining room is separated from our kitchen by the living room...lots of trips back and forth and our breakfast nook barely seats Matt, Ave and I.

What we plan on doing is making the entire kitchen/breakfast nook/laundry room/office area bigger and all one space...allowing for a bigger table, access to the backyard (I cannot see our backyard, right now, from our kitchen), and a much more open feel.

We would also be putting a full finished basement below that space (this only came to me about a month ago) that would be a playroom/family room. It would be so much cooler during the summer, easier to heat in the winter and give the kids a place to play and keep out their toys (we seriously limit the number of toys Ave has, because our living room is really not big enough for them...which is not necessarily a bad thing).

Then we would be putting our bedroom on the second floor (above the kitchen), with a private bathroom (since we only have 1.5 bathrooms in our house) and closet and a small niche for my sewing....that would open up another bedroom and give us 2 good size bedrooms upstairs and 1 smaller one. It would also open our dining room to being our classroom.

We're hoping that once FIL is done with building his new house, he'll be willing to work on our's (won't be happening before Spring 2013). Matt just doesn't have the time to oversea the work, nor do we have the money to pay a contractor to do the work. It would be FIL, the guy who helped build his house, and whatever time Matt and anyone else could give.

We'll probably end up either moving in with the ILs or into their old house (the one they wanted to sell us) while the work is done, as it will NOT be safe for kids to be here.

Matt suggested maybe buying their house or looking at another house, after I did the math and figured out the cost of our addition, what a new house is running (what we want), and the additions and renos that would be necessary on the ILs house, it's cheaper for us to stay in our house and do the at least $75-100k.

Here's a really quick sketch (and not at all how I actually draw up blue prints...remember, I did want to go to school to be an architect) of what we're looking at as far as design etc. Click on it to make it bigger.