Emergency Bags

As I was, once again, pulling something out of an emergency bag in my car tonight, it occurred to me that I’ve never shared this on the blog. We’ve been using them for years, so I’m honestly not sure where I originally got the idea. I have a feeling. It stems from my “ah an earthquake is coming!” phase of crazy that I went through postpartum with Twig. Not saying planning for a natural disaster is crazy, just that I was a little bit obsessively crazy postpartum and for a bit I fixated on that.

Anyway. So emergency bags. I can’t even count the amount of times that these things have been used. I tend to bring too many things when we leave the house, yet there’s still always times that I’ve forgotten something. I guess that’s just life when you have three tiny people to manage out the door! And when I forget something, something that would normally really suck to forget, it’s no big deal. I have emergency bags!

What’s in them? For the bigger kids (one for each) it’s:

  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • Undies (multiple pairs)
  • Socks
  • Sweater
  • Pjs
  • Blanket (though these aren’t actually in the bag, we just keep them in the car for when they get cold)

For the baby, all of the above plus:

  • Diapers (just a few)
  • Blankets
  • Burp rags (for younger babies)
  • Baby carrier (my least favorite sling, better than nothing)

I make sure they’re the right size and weather appropriate when I switch clothes over for new seasons or sizes. Like I said, these things get used like crazy. And I usually stock them with the less-than-ideal outfits (a hazard of hand-me-downs) so it’s not like the clothes are missed.

I also keep a general emergency bag with stuff for everyone in the family and a few things for specifically my husband and myself:

  • Water bottles (I try to avoid using these so they’re available for a true emergency)
  • Pullover (that either of us could wear)
  • Receiving blankets (great for messes)
  • Shirt for my husband
  • Shirt and cardigan for me
  • Grocery bags (great for holding dirty clothes)
  • Huge ziplock bags (for puking, right on top)

And that’s it! It seems like a lot, but really it doesn’t take up much space. It worked well when we were in a car and even better now that we’re in the van. They fit perfectly right under the seats!

Do you keep emergency bags in your car? Feel free to add to my lists if you think I’ve missed something!

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Our Routine

It takes time to get used to having a new baby in the house. To find your routine. Now Banana is 4.5 months old and I can say we’re pretty firmly planted in the routine. I’ve found that days that we follow it, life is easier. We find more time to do things together (like playing a board game with Peanut while Twig naps), more gets accomplished that needs to get accomplished (though still not much beyond the absolute needs), and life just feels easier. Having a routine now makes me think back to my days of one child and no routine and cringe. I don’t know how, but life with three kids and a routine just feels so much easier to me than life with only one and no routine.

Anyway, we’ve found something that works for us. I wanted to share it here in case anyone on the World Wide Web may find it interesting or helpful. I know that in the early days of establishing a daily routine were hard. Finding the balance between a schedule and over-scheduled, figuring out where in the day certain activities fit, those kinds of things. So here it goes!

7am: Wake up. I’ve found that everyone in our house (well, except my husband, he wakes later), functions best on a 7am wake up time. It doesn’t always work this way, like recently when Peanut kept waking up at 5:45, but this is our aim for a wake up time. To solve that recent issue with early waking, I put a timer on a dim light in her room and the light turns on at 7am, which signals to her that she’s allowed to get out of bed. If she wakes up before the timer goes off, she has to stay in bed. Within a few days she was back to a {semi}normal waking time most days.

7-8am: Breakfast, girls get dressed. We still often take a little longer doing this than I would like (and end up getting Peanut late to school or barely on time), but we’re working on it. Banana usually is awake and socializing with the girls during this time, but sometimes is still asleep if I’m able to sneak out of the room without him.

8-8:30am: Take Peanut to school. 

8:30-11am: Twig time. Sometimes we run errands (today we went to the grocery store and took the dog to the vet), sometimes we come home and hang out, sometimes we go to the Treehouse Museum, and recently we started going to a weekly preschool for Twig once a week during this time. Twig doesn’t mind me multi-tasking our hang out time and I’m way less stressed if I run errands with only two kids (the older two start to bicker the second we step into a grocery store). Banana usually naps during this time.

11am: Pick up Peanut and snack. We started doing the snack consistently at this time when Peanut started school and was always hungry at pick up. Now they have to have a snack at this time even on weekends because it’s so ingrained. Our snack consists of two items, one of which must be a fresh fruit or veggie. Here are some examples we’ve done recently: apple slices and a graham cracker, clementine and string cheese, cucumber slices and crackers, carrots and baby bell cheese. Sometimes we do two fruits/veggies. No dips because it’s just too messy to do in the van. I just throw them together real quick and toss them in bowls that we got at a secondhand store for their play kitchen (pretty similar to these). The girls eat it on their way home.

11:15am-12:30/1pm: Play/TV while I get lunch ready. I don’t spend this entire time getting lunch ready, but more like picking up the kitchen a bit/nursing the baby/changing the baby/getting lunch ready time. I generally have lunch ready to go between 12:30 and 1. Sometimes we end up leaving the house during this time and I inevitably end up regretting it.

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch. Simple stuff like leftovers, quesadillas, tuna sandwiches, etc. I always have some sort of fresh fruit or veggie with this too. Really trying to make sure we get some produce!

1:30-2:30pm Quiet time/naptime. Peanut still does quiet time (and if your no longer napping child doesn’t, I really recommend implementing it). Twig is in that weird in-between stage where she isn’t always tired enough to nap, but isn’t really ready to completely let go of it either. So she gets the option to nap or get quiet time. If she naps, it’s usually two hours. If she chooses quiet time, it’s an hour like big sister. Yeah, there are some days when she should probably choose to nap, but does quiet time (and she’s choosing nap less and less these days), but this has eliminated her fighting nap-time and thereby making me stay in the room with her for the whole time Peanut is in quiet time. I really need a bit of time to myself too, it really helps to keep me sane. If I’m lucky, Banana naps during this time too. When he doesn’t nap, I try to spend time interacting with him one-on-one.

2:30-5:30pm Free-for-all. The girls play. They may watch a show or two. I play with them at some point. Gideon is generally awake, but starts to fuss towards the end of this time period. I get dinner ready if I’m even getting dinner ready (sometimes my husband cooks when he gets home, we go out, we get fed by awesome family, or we eat leftovers, so often I’m not cooking during this time). If it’s warm enough I’ll send the girls outside (which sadly it mostly isn’t at this point in time). If Twig didn’t nap I try to give Peanut some focus during this time.

5:30pm Daddy’s Home!

5:30-7pm Dinner and Hang Out. Sometimes we watch some tv as a family (we’ve been enjoying How We Got to Now on PBS). Sometimes we play with the girls while my husband watches basketball. Sometimes we play board games. Just fun family stuff.

7-8pm Bedtime. PJs, brush teeth, potty, hugs and kisses, then reading. Generally we start this at the same time for both girls because Peanut gets more reading time so it makes up for the later bedtime. Really though, I’ve been contemplating moving this up for Twig (or at least getting her asleep on the earlier end of this hour) since she’s starting to drop her nap.

So that’s it! Our days still vary quite a bit, but most days have this general routine underlying them. I think it really helps the kids to kind of know what’s coming next. We don’t get many fights about quiet time because quiet time is always after lunch, that kind of thing. I think it helps me too because I just know at this point what times of the day are bad to do things (leaving the house after dinner is a nightmare that just doesn’t happen anymore) and that helps me avoid stress. It also seems like Banana naturally fell into a napping routine that coincides with our routines as a family (he had a schedule much earlier than is “normal”) and while it still isn’t a perfect nap schedule by any means (he often decides to take power naps and things of that sort), I still think it helps.

What are your routines as a family? Did you have difficulty finding your rhythm? 

Sunday Surf: Preparing for the Babe

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

With this babe’s arrival around a week away (given my prior pregnancies gestational length), I’m hoping to start participating in some more Sunday Surf posts in the near future. From what I remember (and it’s not a lot!), I do a lot of reading and “hmmm…. that’s really interesting” during the first few months after baby is born, but not a whole lot of intelligent, unique thought. Even now at my incredibly pregnant state it’s just hard to get my brain to function in a way that makes sense to others. So I’m going to start keeping track of the interesting things I read throughout the week and posting them as part of the Sunday Surf! Then I can keep in touch with you lovely folks while still being in my post-baby haze.

Most recent pregnancy picture: 38 Weeks 3 Days

Daddy changing the brakes on the van while Twig changes the brakes on her car.

Peanut’s first day of kindergarten!

Race and the Babywearing Community from Manic Pixie Dream Mama. Some interesting thoughts on how mamas of color are viewed when babywearing as opposed to white women. I love all of her suggestions for how we can open the babywearing community to mamas of color.

We’re getting hysterical about child safety from The Daily Mail. I’ve already voiced how much I love Free-range Kids and this is along those same lines. It even has this awesome quote from Lenore.

“There’s been this huge cultural shift,” Ms. Skenazy told Ms. Brooks, who sought her out. “… This shift is not rooted in fact. It’s not rooted in any true change. It’s imaginary. It’s rooted in irrational fear.”

One of our Breastfeeding Cafes stirred up a bit of controversy. I’m honestly pretty happy about the comments from the Police Chief. Smart man upholding the law.

And we can end with a funny. Breastfeeding In Public Should No Longer Be A Taboo For Mothers Who Are Conventionally Attractive from Clickhole.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a handknit wool diaper cover knitted by no other than ME!