A day in the life with 3 kids under 5

Probably the most common thing I hear when I tell people the ages of my kids is ‘Wow! You’ve got your hands full!’. I despise that comment.  It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. I would much rather hear ‘Wow! Good for you for raising tomorrow’s future!’ or ‘Wow! I can tell you are really trying to do a good job!’ or ‘Wow! Can I carry your groceries?’  But really, I do have a full plate. Here’s what a day in our life looks like. Mind you, this is a day when I’m home, not at work, and J is at work.  We didn’t have any appointments or whatnot, which is not always the case either!

1:20am My day begins by waking up to a crying Amelia. Nurse in bed and fall back asleep.

5am Amelia wakes up, again, to nurse. Can we say growth spurt…?  I contemplate getting up now and exercising, as I was planning to do today. I tell myself some bogus, but true, excuses such as ‘you worked 11 hours yesterday’ or ‘you are feeding a baby’ or ‘it’s too dark to exercise’ that make me feel better about falling back asleep in my warm bed and wasting any chance of a workout I may have had for the day…

6am Amelia is up again, unhappy. I realize she has wet through her diaper and sleeper. Proceed to change her diaper but am too exhausted to get a different sleeper, she falls back asleep, so instead I leave her like this:2014-03-28 06.50.40

630am Jeremiah gets out of bed. I am mad at myself for not getting up to workout. But then I fall back asleep.

650am Drag my tired bones out of bed and throw on some clothes.

653am G and L throw open their door and greet the morning (haha) and come into our room.  Lucy has Princess Baby and her purse in tow. Already. At 653 in the morning.


Good morning, sunshine!

Good morning, sunshine!

7am Get G and L dressed, make them breakfast. Have a debate about whether or not they can watch Curious George while they eat, which does not happen because then they don’t eat!  Pump. Talk to a very concerned G about how a bug got into our house. He proceeds to scope out any minute holes where they may have come from. L tells me ‘Mom, you need a headband; your hair is crazy!’

724am Amelia wakes up. Change diaper, nurse more, dress her.

735 Begin putting coat and shoes on kiddos, pack A in carseat.

743 Leave to take G to preschool

830am Get back home

845am Start a load of laundry, including G and L’s jackets which are covered in mud, yogurt, other icky things…yuck. Realize I am now out of homemade laundry soap. Mental note to make more this weekend.

9am Agree with Lucy to start working on her birthday dress.  I bought the fabric over a month ago thinking I would get a head start on it.  We get everything out and I realize I am going to need a pattern, not just the tutorials I had saved awhile ago. Realize printer is packed away due to house showings. Realize I am not printing a pattern right now. Instead make some jean skirts out of G’s old holey, worn out jeans that I have been meaning to do for awhile. L specifically requests a pink one.

915am Aunt Mel calls. Talk for next hour. Hey! That’s what sisters do!

1010am Amelia wakes, nurse again, change diaper. Lucy sings a song while pounding on the piano. Amelia cries listening to it.

1020am Participate in grocery store scenario with Lucy…..something about ketchup on her waffle.  This turns into a tea party.

1030am Tear Lucy away from tea party to go pickup G from school.

1035am L has breakdown because her jacket is in  the wash. Luckily, jacket is now in the dryer. Retrieve jacket and let her wear it. She dons purse and Princess Baby once again for the outing.

1045am Leave house once again.

1136am Arrive back home. G immediately wants to go outside and play. Fetch snowboots from the basement and dig out a few toys that he has requested to play outside. G comes back in as soon as I get my shoes off from getting those things. He needs blocks, Mom. I return to the basement and again dig out the box of wooden blocks for him to construct with. He’s golden now.

1140am I simultaneously keep an eye on A sleeping in her carseat carrier, watch G through a window playing outside, seam rip a pair of jeans, and play ‘restaurant’ with L.

Noon G comes back inside. He feels left out that I’m not crafting anything for him, just the girls. He requests me to make him a Ninja Turtle shirt. Ummmm.  I suggest maybe I could handle making him a turtle shell.  He agrees. Add that to the list.

1215 Eat lunch. Get frustrated with my sewing machine which has decided that it does not want to ruffle fabric any longer. We cannot have a skirt without ruffles!!!! Let G and L watch Caillou for a bit.

130pm G and L down for ‘quiet time’. If I say ‘nap’ there is protest. ‘Quiet time’ seems to be more acceptable to them. Come downstairs and realize as I am kicking toys out of my path that I really should have made them pickup toys prior to ‘quiet time’. Clean up lunch.

145pm Fold laundry. I’m trying this novel new approach called ‘Fold the laundry as you take it out of the dryer’ to try to keep the mess to a minimum with showing the house. It works sometimes.

155pm Wash dishes. Talk again to Aunt Mel again 🙂

200pm Hear yelling from upstairs. L has to go potty and G states he already slept. Riiiight. Sneak laundry out of their rooms and start another load.

210pm Try to get my online bank account unlocked as I have entered the wrong answers too many times. Ugh. 30+ minutes and 2 phone calls later I can access it. See that our tax refund has come through. Hip, hip, hooray!

240pm Return to and try to make nice with my sewing machine. Amelia wakes up. Nurse and change diaper. Realize she took a 3 hr nap. Growth spurt…..  Talk on phone with friend for next 30 minutes.

300pm L wakes up

340pm G wakes up. And he says he didn’t need a nap…… Kids have snack and I attempt to keep them from killing each other over popcorn. Jeez.

400pm Finally finish those skirts. Dang that took a long time. Fold more clothes.

Started with 3 of these. Thanks G!

Started with 3 of these. Thanks G!

The final products

The final products

415pm Leave for a walk with all 3 kiddos. Venture to the city park and the school playground. I am uber impressed with L’s advancement in her gross motor skills. Not sure if it’s the new glasses or the fact that we have not been able to go to the park since October, but she is a totally new kid!  She climbs, slides, swings, negotiates the obstacles like a pro!  Lucy melts down the entire walk home because she wants to ‘go to ‘nother park!!!!!’  Arrive home with kid’s treasures consisting of 2 acorns, 1 very large stick, and a lot of mud.  All but the mud stays outside.


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L swings

G climbs trees

G climbs trees

A stays cozy in the stroller

A stays cozy in the stroller


515pm Back home, begin dinner, which I have not planned. I can’t eat dairy. It’s Lent. It’s Friday. We’re Catholic…..Not many options.  J arrives home and we figure out a mish-mash of food.  First we have to clear a spot on the table from my sewing stuff. Nurse baby.

600pm J gives baths to G and L, and I give A her cereal. 3rd night of cereal, and she is all about it, eating 2 baby-sized servings. She wolfs the stuff down.

615pm We trade roles and I give A a bath in the tiny tub, L insists on helping. Her job is to always wash A’s feet 😉  J takes the older 2 upstairs to get pj’s on and comb L’s mop of hair. Fold another round of laundry.

645pm Persuade kids to pickup toys throughout the entire first floor of the house so we can watch a little tv after they are done. Projectile spit-up. I’m convinced to go change my clothes now.

700pm We play Operation game several times. Then, hide and seek….on the 4th round I am never found so I decide to come downstairs.  No one has noticed that I went missing. Not sure how I feel about that!

745pm Kids are starving again. I give them a snack to share. They fight over it, of course. Nurse the babe.

815pm Bed for G and L. Not too much resistance. They both have colds and are tired already.

830pm Relax. Play with A. Watch shark Tank (love that show!). G is still awake and yells down the stairs that J’s laughter is too loud and he can’t sleep. Of course….

915pm A gets fussy. I begin walking, bouncing, humming, shhhh-ing.

930pm A is out like a light.

952pm Read aloud this blog to J for proofreading. He just now realizes that I was actually playing hide and seek when I went missing. J laughs hysterically. Not sure how I feel about that….

10pm Publish this blog and goodnight. I’m ’bout spent.

Photo courtesy of G

Photo courtesy of G


Have a great week!

-The {growing} Costellos


Rockin’ the weekends

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Spring has supposedly arrived, and we have gotten to have 3 great weekends where we have had so much fun!  This has been a long time coming; this winter has been rough!  I have been looking forward to these 3 weekends for a long time….pretty much since I put them on our calendar!

Rockin’ the 50266

The kids had been asking to visit Aunt Mel’s new place since the end of January, when she first moved there. She relocated to West Des Moines (50266), which is about 2.5 hours from us.  Seems like a short trip, but with 3 little kiddos, any trip ends up being a bit more work 😉  We were unable to help her move due to weather, could not visit the next weekend (due to weather), or another weekend we had thought about (due to weather). See a trend here? So we finally headed out to see her, the sun was shining, and the kids got their Aunt Mel fix 😉

We stopped at one of Aunt Mel’s new Target optical stores and I got to get some new glasses! HOORAY!!!! This was a big deal for me, as I had not gotten new glasses in almost 8 YEARS!!!!! Yes, mine were a bit outdated, but just hadn’t had a chance to get some new ones, since I wear contacts 99.9% of the time.

Finally, my new specs!

Finally, my new specs!

We ate some great Mexican food and spent the rest of the night in her indoor pool. What a nice perk! The next day we visited St Francis Catholic Church, just down the street from Aunt Mel’s. Lucy fell in the baptismal font and Melissa ran into someone she knew, so it was an interesting visit! We had lunch and did some shopping and headed home. The kiddos were so tired! Lucy spent from 5pm to 7am the next day sleeping like this:

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And Gabriel like this:

Where he spends a lot of time!

Where he spends a lot of time!


Costello’s Rockin’ Green

For the past 3 years, Jeremiah and I have been in charge of getting the Costello family in the Quad Cities St Patrick’s Day parade. We have so much fun doing this! This year we had 37+ people and it was a blast! The first year we walked the entire route, and the last 2 years we have had a float, complete with family banner and seats! The parade route is very long and is the only St Pat’s parade in the country to span 2 states. Always a blast! We ended at the Machine Shed restaurant which is always good with the entire crew.

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The crew

The crew

Rockin’ the Dells

A few months ago we booked a short vacation in the Wisconsin Dells with some family, meaning there would be 4 adults and 4 kids, and it just so happens our Expedition seats 8 people  🙂  Perfect!  Side note:: I love Wisconsin! I think the land there is absolutely beautiful. I love that you can buy locally made cheese at almost every gas station. I love to listen to the Wisconsin people talk, especially when they say words like ‘Sheboygan’. I would move to the city of Madison if all my family and friends were there.  I love that Wisconsin people are so nice! ::End of side note.

So this past weekend was our vaca. We took off Friday morning and there was at least one child crying before we were out of town. But, the drive went surprisingly well with only 1 bathroom break in 4 hours!  We stayed at the Chula Vista resort, which was so nice! I would recommend anyone to go there. We were able to upgrade our room and ended up with plenty of space for the 8 of us, and were able to make/eat several meals in our room which was worth even more with 4 crazy kids.

The waterpark there was awesome. However, the amount of stairs there was….not so awesome. I guess when the waterpark is 8 stories tall, you get your workout in just climbing to the top of the slides! G got into the hype and even ventured down a few slides where you go head first. The 3 littler girls…not so much.  Also not-so-awesome was the amount of injuries we all received; we left the park with a great toe nail badly ripped, abrasions too many to count, a bleeding scraped up knee (mine), a head knock to the concrete and Amelia accidentally got dunked underwater (by me…whoops). And that was just the first day!

We discovered my new favorite place, Monk’s, where you can get amazing burgers and wraps. We also discovered that if you drive 8 miles out of the Dells you can get the same amazing burgers for substantially less at the same place.  Tourist trap? I think so!  But why are there none of these in Iowa!?  We also got an old time photograph taken that is just about priceless and captures all of our kid’s personalities.  The riverwalk and boat tours and stores were a little slow due to the absolutely frigid weather that Wisconsin was having this weekend.  We visited St Cecilia Catholic Church and upon walking up, were greeted and immediately pointed to where the ‘cry room’ was.  We don’t have a ‘cry room’ at our home church, and I joked with the greeter that my kids don’t cry, ha. ha. ha.  She laughed and said she actually liked to hear kids cry/make noise/laugh in church, as it means the church has a future. I agreed and walked in. We were then ushered up to the last seats available in the place, in the very front row. I then re-thought the ‘cry room’ idea.  4 kids under 5, in the front row of an absolutely packed church that none of us have ever been to. I’ll let you imagine the rest.

And finally***drumroll***, our house is on the market!!! If you know of anyone looking for a cute, solid house at an affordable price, send them our way! We had 3 showings in the first 72 hours so things are looking up!

Have a great week!

-The {growing} Costellos

Lucy’s newest accessory

Lucy has a new look…..

Fashionista! I see a future Ray-Ban model :)


Yep. Our 2 year old has now joined the ranks of the rest of our family and claimed her very own pair of glasses.

For quite some time Jeremiah and I have noticed that there was something different about Lucy’s eyes. They are beautiful, don’t get me wrong; an intriguing combination of blue, yellow, brown, and hazel.  But there was something different, something off.  The past few months we have noticed that occasionally Lucy’s right eye would point inward when she was focusing on something. And of course once I started watching for it, I noticed it all. the. time.  Lucy is and always has been very clumsy. For awhile I just thought she was one of those ‘clumsy kids’ and thought she would grow out of it. I was starting to get a little concerned that she was reaching the age of 3 and was still quite clumsy; running into things, always tripping, falling over air, etc etc.

So after talking to Aunt Mel, who works in the optical world, Jeremiah and I decided to get Lucy’s eyes checked out.  I had no idea how in the world they were going to tell if Lucy could see since she could not read or do anything like that. She’s only 2 for heaven’s sake! We talked a lot about it with her and Lucy was stoked to ‘get my eyes check-ed’.  She thought she was hott stuff.

Lucy was the ideal pediatric patient in the ophthalmologist’s office.  I was so proud!!!!  She did and cooperated with every single test they threw at her, allowed drops in her eyes to dilate them, and conversed with the doctor about her dream birthday party coming up next month.  As soon as the drops went in, I immediately saw Lucy’s right eye constantly pointing in as she tried to focus on the TV at the other end of the room. The optician asked me a ton of questions, 2 of which being ‘was she premature?’ and ‘was she ever on oxygen?’ Yes to both.

Lucy the champ at the eye doctor

Lucy the champ at the eye doctor

The ophthalmologist came in and did even more tests. She let Lucy out of the chair and said she needed to talk to Lucy’s mommy now. DUN DUN DUN. Here it comes, I thought. Bring it, doc.

Doc said it was so great that we brought her in; we caught it early.  Lucy is extremely far sighted and due to this her right eye flips in, and eventually could have turned into a lazy eye. She can’t see anything close to her.  Her prescription is +5.75 in the right eye–almost double my prescription–and I thought I was blind!  She failed her depth perception test.  Kids who are a little premature (Lucy) or on oxygen after birth (Lucy again) are more prone to having this. Doc said she was confident that if we had not brought her in, she would have immediatley fallen behind in school, since she would have been unable to read! She may improve as she grows but will always need glasses or contacts. I was relieved that it is something correctable.

Trying to check her depth perception

Trying to check her depth perception

Finally it made sense. No wonder Lucy was so clumsy, never wanted to walk down stairs by herself, never climbs, trips constantly, runs into things, and is a terribly messy eater. SHE CAN’T SEE! She as smart as a whip and her speech is off the charts, but SHE CAN’T SEE!

So we went and picked out some frames, some sweet Ray-Bans to match her mama and daddy’s and Aunt Mel’s. Of course we got the protection plan for if when they break/get lost/stepped on.  Our new challenge is going to be getting an almost-3-year-old-going-on-16-year-old to wear her glasses. We’ve hyped them up a lot and she is the absolute queen of accessories, so it might go better than I imagine. I’m just hoping she doesn’t act like this every day:

By this time, Lucy was DONE with glasses and eye doctors

By this time, Lucy was DONE with glasses and eye doctors

Wish us luck!

-The {growing} Costellos

A new respect

In my line of work, I hurt people. You got it. I hurt them.  I have to! No I’m not some sick sadist, but sometimes, in order for their body to work in the right way after a procedure, we have to push their body beyond it’s limits to gain range of motion or strength. Now, there are a lot of instances where I do the exact opposite and make the person feel all nice, comfortable, warm and fuzzy inside.  I have a great respect for the human body in it’s ability to heal, shape, re-form, change and grow. I see this in my patients daily, and have gained a great deal of respect for it.  And since baby #3, I think I have the greatest respect for a mother’s body.

postpartum belly tiger stripes

There is some truth in the phrase of ‘new normal’ that is uttered frequently in OB/midwife offices. Anyone who has had a baby knows that their body will never quite be the same as it was pre-baby. You will never look the same. Even after that baby weight is gone, your body has new and different proportions.  You will never look the same.

But so what?

A mother’s body may never be quite the same shape as it was pre-baby, but it has a story to tell.

That pelvis may never shrink back down to a size 2 (or 4 or 6 or whatever), but it has earned its new size. It carried 3 babies to term and moved and shaped in a way to let them enter the world in a healthy way. Those larger hips are required to perch babies on, sometimes 2 at a time. And you can’t give piggyback rides if you are lacking hips to hold the kid up there!

Those thighs may always touch in the middle, but they earned it through 100’s of squats performed in preparation for childbirth. A larger lap is needed to cuddle 3 at a time anyways!

And of course, that belly may never be a washboard of muscle, ripped with lines. But why would a child want to hug a washboard? That’s not comfortable to nap next to 😉

::::Step on soapbox::::

I cannot stand all this pressure on mom’s these days. It is everywhere.  Your kids have to be clean–all the time. Your house has to be spotless. Your body needs to be ripped within 3 months of baby’s birth.  You have to volunteer for everything….. The postpartum body is only one of the many pressures out there for today’s moms.

Working in healthcare, I wish people would focus more on being healthy rather than numbers and sizes. Not the same size you used to be? SO WHAT!!!!?? Are you healthy? Can you do what you want? Does your family love you? Then you are good, in my mind. Carry on, friend, and stop getting so caught up in the number on the scale or the size in the tag.

Maybe your body needs those 5 extra pounds in order to feed or nourish that tiny baby that is depending on you for life. Maybe that time you spend each night playing with your kids is more important than gym time. Maybe your body has earned your respect.

::::Step off soapbox::::
So mamas, embrace it. Love that ‘new normal’ body and all it has done for you, your family. Forget about the numbers and focus on being healthy and strong. And for goodness sake, put away the airbrushed celebrity pictures that make us all feel bad about ourselves!!!


Ok, I’m done with my rant now.  🙂

Have a great week!

-The {growing} Costellos