A lot of you have asked how I am doing with 3 kids.  (of course, many of you have more than 3 kids, so you are rolling with it now).  I remember when I just had 2, looking at others and musing, “how do they do it?”  I will say I had a VERY hard time adjusting to 2 and completely felt like I was in survival mode, so after I got that down (which is a relative phrase), I felt more confident about having a third.  The difference between then and now–Anna was still in diapers, and Elizabeth was a difficult baby at night.  Now my girls are 5 and 7, and John Henry (4 months) is a pretty happy baby.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I have 3 kids!  (not that I forget, but since that label seems so unique in my head, I can’t believe it’s our family!)  not to mention, I can’t believe we actually have a boy!  It’s fun for me to say “my son,” as that is a new phrase for me as well.  😉

Basically, I feel that I tend to one child’s needs, and then there is always someone waiting next in line.  You kind of feel accomplished for taking care of that one (i.e. feeding, and changing diapers, etc. sigh in accomplishment) and then you turn your body to the next one and the next one, then back to the first.  You sort of feel like you have one under control, and then there’s 2 more that you need to tend to.  I think I have been able to focus on one and just block out all of the other noise around me in that one moment–I don’t think I have the capacity to multi-task in the same way anymore–it’s kind of a methodical chaos–focus on 1, take care of that, then the next and repeat 😉 Although I might forget to put on the other earring, because I’ve been interrupted, I think we’re doing okay.  🙂 Of course other areas have gone by the wayside, but I am feeding them and clothing them, and giving them a little bit of personal attention each day.

One thing that has helped–Kroger click list (you order your groceries online by midnight the day before, and they bring it to your car at a time you choose to go pick it up).  On those cold days where I didn’t want to take JohnHenry out of the car or all 3 were home this really helped!  if you have this in your area, I recommend it!  I know Wal-mart and Sams do this as well, but I had trouble finding as many items as I needed online at Sams. (some were only available in store or shipping to home).  I have not tried Wal-mart’s yet, but I am sure it would be just as helpful!

The second thing that has helped–I did a 40 meals freezer crock pot plan.  We are not picky, but I was skeptical, because slow cooker meals can sometimes be far from cooking fresh.  I will say that most of these meals have been pretty tasty, and there is a good variety.  The great thing about this plan–I ordered all the groceries online for my pick-up (someone posted the grocery list on her site–**if you do this, let me know, and I’ll send you a couple of corrections). Then I took her advice and labeled my 40 zip-lock bags ahead of time.  When I got the meat home, I could throw it all in the bags and wash my hands.  That saved me putting it away twice!  She also suggested that if you get home and you have forgotten an ingredient, just write it on the bag and toss it in when you are ready!  My crock pot has cooked a lot of the chicken faster, so I have been able to thaw it for most of the morning, then throw it in.  The best thing is that in the evenings there is hardly any clean-up (I ordered a bunch of crock pot liners from Amazon).  And even on your prep day there are not many dishes, because you are chopping and pouring things right into the bags.  Amazingly you can fit it in your freezer!  It took me one whole day to get a lot the prep accomplished (with nursing interruptions and school pick-ups), but I just kept the remainder of the meats in the refrigerator in their zip-locks and got to it over the rest of the weekend.  If some items just required cans of broth or tomatoes, etc I kept those in my pantry to dump in on cooking day.  We have about 10 meals left so I know I need to start formulating my next plan for meals 😉  The hard part about a day of meal prep is that I have to let other things go, but it really does pay off in the future by taking the stress away from meal planning, and then your grocery trips are a lot shorter the next few weeks.

The best thing that has helped me personally has been Plexus.  Some of you may be tired of hearing about it or maybe this is your first time, but I have been using Plexus since John Henry was 2 months old.  I have been amazed how I am not crashing in the afternoons (and I don’t drink caffeine after the morning).  I like that it has natural ingredients–it’s not an energy drink, but it helps get you healthy from the inside, thus giving you that sustaining energy and overall feeling better.  It doesn’t really work for me to take naps with the early afternoon pick-ups, and then after that I feel like my day has started full-force til bedtime.  Elizabeth is still home with me 3 days a week, and she gave up naps years ago 😉

These are some things that have helped me; last but not least, I should also mention friends, Scott, family, and Anna who has gotten the hang of doing chores have also contributed to my survival!  Not to mention, when crazy things have happened (like a pipe busting or routine repairs or sick kids) God has helped me get through that. What has helped you manage your kids and daily life?  I know many of you have much more experience than I do!

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