Before we get to the questions and answers, I wanted to share with you all a little tidbit from my day yesterday. My friends on FB found it hilarious, and I'm pretty sure you'll think it's funny too.
Yesterday, while the boys were finishing lunch outside, the mailman went by and the boys stood up and started yelling "Bye, Daddy!" at the mailman. Talk about awkward! Thankfully I don't think the man could hear the boys. Oh, and to be clear the mailman looks nothing like Nick.
I'll scatter some random pictures from the park throughout this post today, because I've been lax in posting pics this week. (I've also been lax in keeping my 365 Blog caught up, so I'll be trying to do that later today too.)
What are some of the boys' favorite meals? This is a tough question to answer, because the boys will eat pretty much anything. I guess there are some foods they clear off their plates in record time though... For now I'll say favorite meals include the following: pancakes and fruit, eggs, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and last night's was a pretty big hit - grilled chicken, rice and cut up cucumbers and red pepper strips.
Do you have any tips for planning menus in advance? I'm probably not a good one to ask about this! Back before we had the boys I was great at planning out our meals every week. Now? Not so much. In fact, usually what happens is at about 4pm I think "hmmm... wonder what I should make for dinner". Here's the thing though, because I follow the stock-piling method of grocery shopping I almost always have a wide assortment of stuff in my house. I've become quite good at throwing meals together and kind of making it up as I go along (I think I must have inherited that from my mom). When I was meal planning (in the pre-kids days) I would go through the weekly sales fliers, look at what was already in my cupboard and plan based on those two things. My goal always was to buy as few "extras" (i.e. things not on sale) as I could each week.
Do you plan to have more children? This is a topic Nick and I have been debating for a while now. I'm firmly planted in the "yes, one more" camp and he is firmly planted in the "nope, we're done" camp. Only time will tell I guess!
Do you think you will ever go back to work? I think I probably will at some point. I miss working now! I miss the adult interaction and the gratification of finishing a task and being praised for it. (I don't get any work reviews on my cooking or care-taking skills!) What I'll go back to and when is the real question though. I'd love to go back to radio if I could but then I've also toyed with (ever since the boys were in the NICU) of going to nursing school and becoming a NICU nurse. We'll see I guess!
Do you plan to have the boys attend public school? If yes, what age? Kindergarten? Nick and I haven't spent a whole lot of time talking about this yet. We do know there are a ton of Christian school options around here. We also know it may not be something we can afford (unless I go back to work sooner), so when we bought our house we made sure it was in an adequate school district. It's not the best district in our area, but it's also not the worst. It would be nice if we could find something private we could afford, but we've still got 3 years to figure that out before the boys would go to Kindergarten (they miss the school cut off here so won't get to start until they're 6).
If you could take the boys anywhere in the world for a vacation for free, where would you go and why? Oh this is a no-brainer for me! Disney World! I have such fun memories of Disney World as a kid and I know the boys would find it so magical right now!
How would you react to finding out you were having triplets again? Honestly? I don't think it would phase me that much with the exception of two things - our home and car wouldn't be big enough and we can't really afford bigger of either! Multiples don't scare me now because I've been there, done that. I know how to schedule, I know how to handle three screaming kids, I know how to change diapers at the speed of lightning, etc. If I was having triplets again I think a call to Extreme Makeover Home Edition would be in order, don't you?
How many children did you imagine having when you were younger? Two, I think... I always wanted twins! Ha! When Nick and I got married we agreed we both wanted one or two of our own and then adopt another (so 2 or 3 total). Turns out having 3 at once changed my perspective because now I want 4 and I'm still open to adoption down the road.
Do you cook every meal for the boys? (You guys don't eat out much, right?) Correct, we hardly eat out. I would say we eat out on our own (just our family) 4 or 5 times a year. When family is here visiting we usually eat out a couple of times too. Now as far as cooking goes, yes I cook most of the meals. Sometimes I get lazy and pop a frozen pizza in the oven or something convenient like that. That's really for my own sanity though! And I'm not sure you could call pouring cereal or making a PB&J "cooking", but yes I make all the meals.
How do you keep up on the housework with 3 boys? I struggle with just 1! Nick is a HUGE piece of that puzzle. Without him I suspect this house would go downhill in a hurry. Every night before bed we make the boys pick up their toys. We've done that since they were about 15 or 16 months (it's just throwing things in baskets really). There are nights I don't feel like picking up the rest of the stuff (stray toys, vacuuming, dishes, etc), but Nick will remind me it'll only take a few minutes (20 or so) and if we don't do it the house will get worse and worse. He's right. Sometimes he's nice and lets me just sit on the couch while he does all the picking up. Yup, I married a keeper :)
How do you manage your stress level? I don't really feel like I have much stress. I think part of it must be because I'm a glass half full kind of person. When I sit and think about the future, I'm thinking about all the good stuff that could happen not the bad. The boys don't really stress me out. They make me mad sometimes and when that happens it's usually either just before nap time or just before Nick gets home, so it works out for me to get some space. Honestly, I think a lot of our lack of stress comes from a solid marriage and a solid handle on our finances. When we lived in Michigan we were paycheck to paycheck and I can remember being constantly stressed about money. I broke down a cried one day in a parking lot when we found out we needed $700 work done on one of our cars. Nick says we live on a tight budget now so that those breakdowns don't have to happen. And you know what? Between November and April of this year we had $6,000 in medical and major car repairs and I didn't have one breakdown. Not one.
Do you have any parenting books you recommend? This question stemmed largely from my story about taking the boys to the Post Office and how well behaved they were (until Chase's tantrum when we left). As far as discipline goes, we use the methods from 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12
The book says you can start at the age of 2, but I'll confess we actually started with the basics at more like 20 months. I was tired of the biting going on then and needed something to help curb it.
That being said, I think a lot of the success we've had with the boys comes from consistency, following through on threats all the time, and giving the boys some freedom in areas of their life. My theory is kids just want to do things by themselves. They want that feeling of satisfaction for completing something themselves. I let the boys pick their own clothes (most of the time), I let them pick what they want for breakfast and lunch, we let them walk on the sidewalk without holding our hands (but the moment they bolt for the street they have to hold our hand for the remainder of the time which was not popular), etc. The boys know there are certain things they have to do in public and they know I have expectations for them and we started with all of that very early on.
Don't question yourself too much and just find something that works with your kids! Your mom instinct usually won't fail you.