One of the biggest decisions we had to make when we realized we were going from a family of four to a family of five is where to put everyone. We are fortunate to have a four bedroom house, but the fourth bedroom has always been a playroom for the girls. We purchased a double bed for Natalie two years ago when we transitioned her from a crib with the thought that the room would serve as a guest room if needed.
Steve and I had decided that we wanted to move Natalie and Megan into the same room. Natalie’s current room is now going to be a guest room, and Megan’s room is going to remain a nursery for “baby brother”. Their new room is going to be the playroom. We had already cleared out lots of toys that were missing pieces, not being played with anymore, or that they had outgrown. We boxed up the toys that were gender neutral and would be appropriate for “baby brother”. We debated about what type of bed to get the girls for their new room. The room isn’t small, but two twin beds would be rather tight. We didn’t think that a double bed was a good idea, and we felt like the girls were too young for bunk beds. We decided that a trundle bed was the best idea. Steve found one for us on Craigslist that we were able to purchase at a good price.
The girls have enjoyed the trundle bed and getting to help pick out the bedspreads for their new beds and helping to bring over their clothes to the new room and organize everything.
We are still working on “baby brother’s” room. I have never been a mom that had a theme for the nursery. I have also never had a true crib set for the crib. I realized that I didn’t want the bumper pad, partially because of the SIDS risk, but also because it is easier to peek in on them without the bumper pad. I also never used the quilt because we just swaddled up the little ones or put them in a sleep sack when we put them to bed. The only thing I really used was a dust ruffle that a friend made for us when we were expecting Natalie. I had a friend from church pass on some little boy curtains that work great with the colors we have in the room. I have some pictures on the wall that will work for a little boy, and I just use white crib sheets. I am always the one who sticks with white sheets because they can easily be bleached. ;)
We have had to do other things besides set up new rooms for the girls and for “baby brother”. We realized that we needed to break down and buy a mini-van. Steve was driving a four door sedan that I had bought when I graduated from pharmacy school ten years ago. I was driving a mid-sized SUV that we bought five years ago, before we even had any children. The SUV can seat seven people and we can get a booster seat, a rear facing car seat, and a forward facing car seat in there, but it is going to be tight. Steve knew that it would be difficult, especially for me, to be alone with three kids and try to take care of daily errands and get everyone in and out of the car. We had narrowed down our choices to either a Toyota Sienna or a Honda Odyssey. We didn’t want to take on any debt with buying another vehicle, so we found a 2006 Honda Odyssey on Craigslist that was in the Richmond area. We looked at it, talked to some people, researched it on-line, and prayed about the decision. We were able to negotiate the price down a little bit more and decided that this was a good deal and that it was the vehicle that we were suppose to buy. So, I am now a mini-van mom. I didn’t think I would like driving a mini-van, but I have to admit it is easier to get the girls in and out of the vehicle. I also like all of the remote open doors. Mini-vans have come a long way from my parent’s 1988 Plymouth Voyager I grew up with and learned to drive.
One other thing that I have been working on to prepare for the new baby is stockpiling and making freezer meals. I worked on this last week. I began this task by taking advantage of one of the “cooler” days. I cleaned out and inventoried the contents of my freezers in the garage. I took a few hours over the course of about 3 days to make and freeze several things. Our church is always very thoughtful and generous to new moms and different families provide meals for the first two weeks that you are home from the hospital. I figure that after those two weeks I will have enough meals to last us until almost October.
Here is a picture of one of my days of cooking:
In this picture I have one batch of three cheese baked pasta that I divided into three small foil pans so each pan will work for one night. I had leftover sauce that I made for the pasta that has Italian sausage and onions that will be great just to go with spaghetti one night. I browned up a pound of ground beef and already added taco seasoning so we just have to pull it out, heat it up, and we have a ready to go taco night. I also tried out a recipe that Savingourway sent me for individual macaroni and cheese cups. I think these will be great for a quick lunch for the girls.
I spent another day cooking chicken. I made a large chicken casserole and divided it among two foil pans. I found some chicken breast on manager’s mark down in MARTIN’S on Saturday and baked them then pulled the skin off and the meat from the bone. Steve helped me chop it up into chunks and divide it into about one cup portions and froze them. I plan to use at least one batch of the chicken in these Spicy Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas. I already have one batch of these ready to go in the freezer that I divided into two foil pans. I made an extra batch of waffles one morning and froze them. (I am definitely stocked up on waffles now that I hit the Kellogg’s deal at MARTIN’S.)
I have also prepared one of my favorite freezer cooking tips. I picked up an extra London broil last week and placed it in a freezer bag with a bottle of marinade that I had picked up earlier in the summer. Now, I just have to pull out the meat let it thaw in the refrigerator and it will marinate while it thaws. I have several pounds of ground beef and boneless skinless chicken breast that are uncooked and were frozen in one pound portions so I can pretty much with a little planning have a variety of meals just from “shopping” from my freezer. I not only have my freezer stocked with meat and already prepared meals, I have plenty of frozen vegetables. Now if I don’t have a chance to get to the store for fresh produce we can still have vegetables.
I am sure it won’t surprise any of you to hear that I also have a huge stockpile of diapers and wipes waiting for the little guy. Megan is probably ready to potty train, but with a new baby on the way I am putting that off until we establish a new “normal” to our household. I made sure to stockpile diapers for her as well. If she potty trains before I run out I will just hold onto them for the little guy.
So, all in all we are ready for “baby brother”. He still doesn’t have a real name. There are things that I still would like to clean and organize. But, if they don’t get accomplished he will have clothes, diapers, food, a place to sleep, and most importantly love.
Check back later in the week and hopefully I will have some pictures to share of the little guy and his big sisters.