But, man am I happy.
Things are very chaotic right now but I'm far enough into this whole "three kids" thing that chaos feels strangely normal. I'm used to schlepping three kids around town. Packing, herding, buckling, unbuckling, and unpacking three kids no longer phases me. Bathing three kids at the same time? Down to a science. Even bedtimes are manageable. And it's not that there is less to do. It's just that my husband and I are able to go into auto pilot. We're used to the increased work load of kid stuff. We're conditioned.
Also baby cuddles and smiles make it a little easier
Mom, enough pictures already!
Ryan, serving as a baby activity mat
The small bedroom that the two big boys share is also full with a bunkbed, a dresser, toy storage, and my clothing closet (any ideas on where to put a third kid would be very welcome). As a result, the kids only play in our main room. But we are constantly making the boys pick stuff up and put it away. They don't have the space they need to create and run and be active. I HATE that. I feel like I'm cramping their creativity and their free play. But there is just no other option right now, so we're making do the best we can. (We just sold our old couch and I love the extra space that comes with not having a couch. So much so that we're actually considering not replacing it. But that will mean we only have two seats in our entire house that aren't dining chairs and that may put a cramp into tv-cuddling, by far my favorite activity.)
One part of making do, is taking the kids places to let them run out their endless energy. We go to McDonald's. A lot. Because they have an indoor play place (*cough* french fries *cough*). They should probably start charging me rent.
I also try to take them outdoors as much as possible. Monday, Jacob didn't have any school because of MLK day. Since it was a gorgeous PNW day, I coaxed the kids out of their PJs to go hiking. This was harder than I expected (aren't kids supposed to love being outside?). In the end, I bribed them with a promise of McDonald's (just embrace the fast food). I packed the kids into the car and we set off on an adventure to scout out a new (to us) nature preserve.
The nature preserve is now one of my favorite places! Because I had the two younger kids in the Mountain Buggy, we were kind of limited to the main trails. But it was still awesome. Next time I'll bring the Babybjorn so that we can hike all the way to the water. And despite the fact that I had to resort to bribery to get the kids outside, once I set them loose, they were in heaven. Jacob had a friend over and they hiked ahead while Ryan and Jon and I made our leisurely stroll through nature and mud. And I got to put my Hunter boots to good use!
And we're off!
No one was happy about my impromptu photo session. Seriously, kids just don't appreciate important things like perfect lighting or amazing photo backdrops.
Ryan is erupting into full-blown tantrum
Make it st-AH-p!
MOM, WHY DID YOU MAKE ME DO THAT?!
So I took a photo with just the baby. He's the cute one anyway.
I told Ryan not to look at me. That's how I finally got a smile.
Brown eyes? Maybe?
Such a beautiful day!
Speaking of enjoying the babies I DO have....every once in a while we have a magical, golden day. That's a day where the fighting is minimal, the boys are playing nicely, and they are mostly obedient. These days are jackpots. Today was one such day. After I picked Jacob up from his early release school day, the boys played with blocks, Jacob practiced his reading (he is an awesome reader!), and the older boys huddled around Jon as we all laughed and talked to him.
A baby tower
After dinner Jacob did his homework then I got all three kids into the bath without any resistance! They played nicely in the bath and only spilled a little bit of water on the floor. When I took Jon out to get dressed, I heard Jacob and Ryan giggling from the next room as they continued to play with their bath toys. I cuddled Jon to sleep, slipped him into his bassinet, and then laid down with the big boys for a little bit. Ryan asked to hold my hand, as he usually does. He grabbed my hand and cuddled it close to his body as Jacob told me a story about a kid in his class. In that moment, I felt so happy. Deeply, insanely, heart-throbbingly happy.
Through all the tears and the frustrations and the timeouts and the tantrums and the defiance and the backtalk that I face each day, things are perfect. Having three kids is exponentially harder than having just two. But the rewards are also exponential. And why am I so bleeping positive and sappy right now? Maybe I'm too exhausted to be in my right mind. Maybe I'm still basking in the Seahawks NFC Championship win. Maybe I sniffed too much finger paint today. Or maybe it's just impossible to be negative when all your kids are in bed at the same time.