On Having 4 Kids in 5 Years

It’s a common debate: What is the ideal spacing between kids, and what is the ideal number of kids?

I have never heard anybody say they regret waiting so long to have another child, or wish they would have spaced out their kids a little more. The fact is that you are used to what you have and see all the benefits of your own situation. Sometimes the spacing is unavoidable, but usually couples have a plan for how their family will be built.

Come March, we will be adding our fourth child to our family. She will be here a couple weeks before Calvin turns 5. That means 4 kids 4 and under for a tiny bit! It sounds crazy when you say it like that. It sounds crazy when I think that my oldest will still be in preschool when I have three more back at home. But in practice, it feels natural and not at all weird. Overwhelming at times, yes, but not necessarily crazy, as some people like to tell me.

Here are some benefits we see in having our kids so close together:

Friendship
Our boys play fairly well together. When they’re in the right mood. And it gets better and better as time goes on. When kids are around the same age, their play levels are more equal and they understand each other. Perhaps even as they grow up, they will share friend groups at school or youth group. 

Less to Purchase/Store
There isn’t enough time between kids to have plastic baby things crack, or paint peel off the furniture, or for car seats to expire. Our original bucket seat is still usable through this year. It’s done us well! We don’t have to store things for as long. Once this baby is done with the swing or the Bumbo or the jolly jumper, out it goes! It’s only been around for 5 years, and then no more soon after!

My Sanity
I don’t necessarily enjoy toddlers and preschoolers. I don’t know how to play with them. I didn’t even enjoy playing when I was little! They don’t have common sense yet, and they don’t know how to keep their faces clean when they eat. They require me to talk too much because they don’t listen.

So I’m glad that our years going through these stages are condensed. We may have to deal with more at once, but it’s for less time on the timeline. 

Other Things That Will Be Condensed
My hormonal ups and downs – I can say that my hormones have not been normal since being married. First the pill, then pregnancy and breastfeeding ever since. Does Tim even remember who he married?! 

My physical ups and downs – pregnancy and breastfeeding change the body a lot. I’m glad I’ve not had the in between moments when everything is the size and shape they will be from here on out, only to have it change once again. My body is just always changing! And once it’s done, then maybe I’ll have the time and energy to put some focus on my physical health. I know I could have been doing that all along, but I’m a one-thing-at-a-time person. Get one thing done then move on to the next! Right now I’m working on being done child-bearing.

Time spent in diapers, car seats, bath tubs and bibs – I certainly wouldn’t want to be done with a stage only to have to start it all over again a couple years later. Car seats are probably the most annoying. At least Calvin is now in a booster and can buckle himself. Victor needs to grow faster! He’ll probably be in a regular car seat until he’s 6.

On the flip side, there are some things that are not ideal about having our kids so close in age:

Energy Drain
Many aspects of raising young children requires a lot of physical strength and energy. Multiply that by 2 or 3 or 4, to the power of pregnancy, it’s hard. At the end of the day, I am the happiest if I can just sit on the couch and watch some TV, preferably with a bowl of ice cream. It requires no mental or physical input, and that is just fine by me. Sometimes I wish I had the drive to do some sort of hobby type thing, but there’s just no energy for that right now.

Less Couple Time
Tim and I barely gave ourselves time in our marriage to be just us. We will be celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary in April, and aside from our honeymoon, we’ve had two weekends away together. And a 5-month-old Patrick tagged along on one. Breastfeeding babies certainly limits the time you can spend away from them (yes, okay, you can pump and leave baby with somebody, but I’m not going to be pumping enough milk for a week-long vacation, and I’m not going to pump while on that vacation). But I will tell you that we have big dreams for when our last baby is weaned. Dreams of sitting in one spot somewhere warm for 7 days. And how glorious those 7 days will be.

Kids Aren’t Much Help
If you have older children when you have a baby, they can likely help you out with baby duties. I wouldn’t quite trust my oldest yet with even holding a little baby unassisted. It would be quite amazing to have another person around who could help change bums or retrieve toys or even clean the bathroom that has little boys learning to pee in it. 

I’ve heard it said like this: It’s better to run through the fire than to walk through it. And at least this particular fire has lots of pockets of cool, fresh air. 

One last pro: it’s easier to fit all the kids into a selfie frame when they’re still all little!

What do you like or not like about the spacing of your kids?

The Girly Things Box

In my last post, I showed you a picture of our child clothes storage closet. In the bottom corner of that closet was a box labeled “girly”.

The Box. And my teddy bear from when I was little.

The Box. And my teddy bear from when I was little.

That box was filled with stuff when Calvin was born in the hopes of pulling it out again in the future. Now, 4.5 years later, I get to use the contents! I have only looked at the stuff a couple times in the past years, and nothing has really been added, but now you get to look with me! Some of the stuff is unremarkable and I’ll probably get rid of it. But some of it is kind of special!

I received these mini Chinese lanterns from a friend for a birthday, and thought they would make a great mobile! I had them up in the nursery before Calvin was born, but took them down and replaced them with some blue tissue poms my cousin made for a  shower decoration. They are yellowed and fragile now, so they’re likely destined for the garbage.
The pink wash cloths were a throw-in in when I purchased my diaper bag online, so I could get free shipping. I’ll probably get rid of them. There is really no need for specific baby cloths.
And then there are a few handmade items. The hat is from a family friend; keeping. The blue sweater I believe was given to me by a coworker who bought it at a random market in Victoria; not keeping. The yellow one I don’t remember who made. Maybe Tim’s mom? I’m keeping that. It’s cute!
girl-box-1 And then a random assortment of clothing. The blue one is the free onesie from Thyme Maternity, the pink one I believe was a shower decoration, the sleepers were from my Oma who thought they could be boyish, the green stripes came in a hand-me-down box, and that plaid shirt….no clue. Not keeping that, but all the rest is staying!fullsizerender-1 And here are the special items. We have my own blankie from when I was a baby. Still in pretty pristine condition because that was the child I was. Also my piggy bank.
And a couple more blankets. The white crocheted one is from my great aunt, before Calvin was born. She asked what colour I wanted for the trim, and when I replied “purple!”, I was met with “Are you sure you don’t want something more gender-neutral?” I said “No way! I like purple!” So now I have a beautiful, fresh hand made blanket for Baby Girl.
Under that one is a flannel blanket from Tim’s Aunt, when Calvin was born. The colours are boyish, but the pattern is butterflies and flowers. I could have easily used it, but we had so many blankets already, I decided to keep this one back to stay fresh for a possible future girl.

Baby me in a bonnet, with my blanket and my aunt.

Baby me in a bonnet, with my blanket and my aunt.

And that’s the box! Other than this, I’ve already been blessed with a handful of hand-me-downs, and of course I’ve made a few purchases of my own. Just waiting on them in the mail!

Girls are fun!

It’s a Girl!

It’s a girl! It’s actually a girl!!

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Today we had our ultrasound and the tech confirmed it. We are so thrilled to be adding a daughter and sister to our family! The boys are excited too, although they probably don’t super understand what a girl actually means. Here’s a little video of us telling them. They aren’t the most excitable or expressive children, so don’t watch it with too high of expectations. Haha!

Only a few people know, but this was actually our second ultrasound. Our first one was last week, and the tech then said the thought it might be a girl, which is probably the worst answer you can get. A definite Boy! or Girl! would have been better. But he showed us something on the ultrasound (three lines…if you know what that means, great…if not, google it) that had me pretty convinced, so hearing it confirmed today wasn’t an ultra amazing experience, but we are so happy to have a girl to welcome into our family! One part of me is saying “of course it’s a girl, was there any other option??” and another part is saying “we get a girl? For real?!” It’s a weird experience.

And then there’s this…I get to dig into this box in the bottom corner of the closet that has been sitting around for 4.5 years.image2

My 4th Pregnancy

Hello again! It has been a handful of months since I’ve been here, and I told myself that I wanted to finish documenting our summer and such, but I think I’ll just skip right over it (because nobody will miss it, and I broke my phone and lost a bunch of photos anyway). So, skipping over…

…We found out we are pregnant again! Baby number 4 is on its way, due March 20, just a couple weeks after my 30th birthday. I guess I’ll have to over look my unofficial goal of being done having kids by the time I’m 30. 14021492_10157192166415315_1104246136592307456_n

I feel like going from 3 to 4 is a big jump. 3 is still normal and very acceptable. Having 4 kids puts you over into the world of “wow, you have a big family!”. Only one other person in my peer group has a fourth child on the way. How in the world is it going to be okay for me to ask somebody to watch our brood now?!

Like usual, this pregnancy has been fairly easy on me, physically. No sickness or anything. Just my usual nasal congestion, and an added aversion to snack foods. Why don’t I want that delicious kettle corn?!

However, I have been feeling a lot more anxious this time around. I was super nervous going in to my dating ultrasound. My blood pressure was measuring on the high side at a checkup around 12 weeks, which has never been a problem before. You know what I attribute it to?

1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. This is my 4th. I’m due for one now, right? My mom lost her fourth. Like mother, like daughter? Friends and acquaintances are experiencing loss. It can happen to me too! And we are currently in a month of infant loss awareness, where women everywhere are coming out with their personal stories of heartache over little ones they will never meet this side of heaven. As great as that is for those who need to hear – or tell – those stories, it just reminds me of the possibilities and makes me nervous.

Thankfully, at 18 weeks, I am starting to feel the baby move, so that has definitely calmed my nerves. There is just so much time before that of unknown. Is there actually a baby in there?! My growing belly says a definite “Yes!”

And then there’s the thought of what the baby will be. The same thoughts that my friends, family, and strangers alike are thinking. Is it going to be a girl this time?! It is a huge desire of my heart to have a girl! I want to be a mom to a daughter. I want Tim to be a dad to a daughter. I want our boys to be big brothers to a little sister. I want our family to have a different perspective. I want others to have a different perspective of our family. And also, I need more floral in my life!

When we found out Patrick was a boy, I cried in the ultrasound room. It only took a few moments before I was able to say “three boys is going to be awesome!”, but I feel that this time around will be different, as it will likely be or last child. For almost the entire first trimester, this was a more-than-daily thought process:
What’s it going to be?
I hope it’s a girl!
What if it’s a boy?
Oh no! What if it’s a boy!
I get anxious.
I pray for peace and thank God that he knows best.
I think about all the future daughters-in-law.

The anxiety surrounding the gender has greatly diminished since thinking of a boy’s name about a month ago. Knowing that we have a name to attach to a possible boy makes things a lot easier. It’s a real person in there, with a personality and everything! And knowing that a 4th boy would still be different than the other 3 is comforting.

But until we hear otherwise, the hope for a girl is still strong.

15 weeks

15 weeks

 And that’s where we are now. I will have my ultrasound in the next couple weeks. If you can pray for continued peace for us as we go in, and with the outcome, we would be so grateful. Knowing that God loves us and has a plan that shows us that is very comforting.

Camping Elk Island

It had been 5 years since Tim and I last went camping. 4 if you count the time we drove the two hours from Victoria to Port Renfrew with friends, couldn’t find find the rest of our group, so turned around and ended up pitching our tents in our backyard. My family never was super big on camping growing up because we had a family cabin, but the few times I’ve gone, I’ve loved it! So it’s a wonder it took us this long to do it again. So when Tim’s sister suggested going together, we said “yes!” knowing the boys are at a great age for camping (really, what age ISN’T a great age for camping?). We decided to stick close to home and drove an hour to Elk Island.

camping 1 camping 2

Upon driving up to our site, I was a little disappointed because there was literally zero separation between our site and the next, and hardly any sites really had privacy, but it turned out alright. The neighbours didn’t show up until after lunch the next day, saying they had looked at the forecast and there was a chance of a storm (never manifested). So they hung out that afternoon and went back home at supper time because it was supposed to storm again. And they had a son a couple years older than Calvin so they basically entertained each other the entire afternoon. Wonderful!

camping 3 camping 4 camping 5

The storm for Saturday night DID manifest. For about 2 hours (or more…I never checked the time). It was massive and sat right above us, giving us an awesome light show and thunderous thunder that the boys miraculously slept through. If I was a little braver and didn’t care about sleeping the rest of the night in wet clothes, I would’ve gotten out and watched the lighting. The next morning was soggy and it drizzled a bit here and there, but luckily, right on the other side of our neighbour’s site was a large group-sized covered area with picnic tables, so we set up for breakfast under there. Mark and Michelle had actually moved their tent during the night to under it because they ended up in a puddle.

camping 6

All in all, it was a wonderful time of simply hanging out, reading books, cooking food, playing frisbee and resting in a simple weekend. The boys were happy as long as Calvin had somebody to throw a ball with, Victor had sticks to be his “pewers”, and Patrick had a muddy ground to crawl through.

We are all so excited for our next trip, and my secret inner camping enthusiast is emerging!