Wednesday, January 21, 2009

are you crazy?

Maybe. We are opening our home to three little ones...a little 3 year old girl and her twin 2-year old brothers. Yes, 3 toddlers at once. Perhaps we've lost our minds.

At first they'll come just a couple of days a week and then they'll come live with us as foster children. We are so nervous and excited. These children have been through so much and have some emotional issues. We definitely have our work cut out for us.

So, that's our news. We're busy getting our home ready. I've been thinking of all the things I've wanted to do for the last year but couldn't. I realized that if I don't get them done soon, they'll be put off for another long while. Today, I decided that I've had enough of the dark walls in the living room. I hate painting so much but I tackled one of the walls today, covering it in primer. Tomorrow, I'll prime another wall and paint the one I primed today. I've got some ideas to switch that room from stuffy formal to friendly fun. I'll share pictures along the way.

I also want to do the kitchen update that I have been planning...sweets shop inspired. Maybe next week. Oh yes...I am motivated.

In your comments maybe you can give me suggestions for handling 3 toddlers...besides putting them in cages. I already asked the agency and they said no. ;)

81 comments:

The Rose Room said...

Congratulations, 3 little broken birdies for you to heal with your love! Toddlers are tough! Taking away a fave toy worked with mine! Sending good wishes to your new family! Rachaelxo

Donna said...

Oh Amy, that is such good news. You are truly AWESOME. You'll all be just fine, love is what you do best. I can't wait to see what you do with your house, nothing like motivation to get you going :-)

Donna

Molly said...

How lucky are you? How lucky are they?

A regular schedule, time at the park, art projects, lots of books, and fun outings will go a long way. (I have four little girls). Don't underestimate the power of Sprout shows, or the movie 'Babe'.

You are an absolute inspiration to me. Keep doing what you are doing, you do it so well (and you will keep doing it with three)! God bless!

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

I wish I had a magic formula for handling toddlers. I have four children...my youngest are two boys ages 3 and 21 months. All I can say with twin boys headed your way, is make sure anything breakable is up high and that all markers and crayons are locked up. I routinely get "art" on my furniture and walls when my older kids forget to put away their markers. It's crazy, but it's a lot of fun. Congratulations and best of luck to you in this amazing endeavor. :-)

Diane said...

Amy,

Just from your description, I was thinking twins, triplets?? All I can say is a 3 year old and twin 2 year olds might as well be triplets. WOW!! You and Rich are saints. Those ages are really fun and much different from baby during his infant time. Many congrats!! Diane

Malinda said...

I adopted two little boys (7 years ago today!) that are 7 months apart so it was like having twins. A consistent schedule/routine was truly what saved me. I kept a regular bedtime (still do) because they need their sleep and so did I. I joined a playgroup which was also helpful to meet other moms and exchange ideas with them. Also, you might want to have a little help for the first few weeks--like having someone do laundry/ cook meals while you take care of the kids. Congratulations!!

lonnie jenck said...

Oh Amy...

I'm so excited for you and Rich. What a loving home these 3 children get to be a part of. When my kids were little (6 under the age of 7--twin girls in the middle) we found together time was the answer. Nobody likes getting left out!! And patience. I know mine didn't come with emotional issues but it will be amazing. As amazing as you two are I'm sure it'll be better than you expect.

Congrats...my prayers are with you!

xoxo
Lonnie

Joy said...

Brave woman! And so soon after the trip to see Baby. I am so proud of you! God bless...

As a mom to four under six, I can tell you that a regular schedule/routine is a big must. Not an ironclad, minute by minute blow by blow, but a rhythm and routine- like morning tasks are always done by 9am and they are: brush your teeth, wash your face, make your bed, (and for me) dishwasher loaded, laundry started. Aim for same naptimes every day, and a routine to go with- a particular book that is read, a small snack, whatever you feel comfortable with. Night time is a similar deal, this happens, and then this happens (dinner, then bathtime, then family reading time together, then prayers individually, last call for water and bathroom.)

This helps in two ways- one, when the days go absolutely sideways (a sudden Dr.s appointment, etc. or all the kids get sick at the same time) it helps to find your bearings. It becomes so ingrained that you almost don't have to think about it.

Secondly, with foster kids and emotional issues, the regular routine really helps behavior wise because the same things happen at the same time. They often haven't had a whole lot of consistency in their lives, they bounce from place to place- having the comfort of routine and rhythm will help to calm them. My only warning is to not making this a very didactic authoritarian thing- and it might also help to observe the routine they already have- it's supposed to be flexible and movable yet familiar and safe.

From reading about Baby, you already had a rhythm like this- you'll just have to tweak it to the new birds coming to nest. Many people swear by one big nap, but my younger two (2.5 and 1.3) actually take two short naps, around 10:30 and again at 2:30ish.

OOoh, and lots of activities that they can do together...finger painting is very popular in my house (and vinyl tablecloths are a godsend). Sorting things, and stringing big chunky beads, all sorts of stuff. Big wood blocks (or the cardboard ones) that can be built into bunches of different imaginative things and then knocked down bring on lots of laughter around here.

Basically, I don't really have a chance to do anything adult-ish unless it's naptime or after bed time. But it's a worthwhile sacrifice!

I know you'll do wonderful!

Lisa said...

Wow! Amy! Congratulations to you and them! Yes, I agree with the above ~ you will need a schedule but also boundaries. Lots of love but also love enough to not let them walk all over you.
Good luck with getting your projects done and can't wait to read all about your new adventures!

Linda said...

You have your hands full. Time out in the corner is not a bad thing, if you are misbehaving. Lots of activities too because they are small and very active. But the best thing for these children is an extra special dose of love which you already have.

Linda

Mary Ellen said...

My only advice (as someone who has taught pre-school and had children 14 months apart)is that your days have a fairly predictable rhythm and routine. And lots and lots and lots of songs. It might be heresy, but I don't thing there's any harm in tivo-ing some favorite shows (Blues Clues is a good one) and use them sparingly when your new tribe is on your very last nerve. I'm sooooo happy for you and your husband.

marianb said...

A cleaning lady every other Friday (or every Friday if possible)!
Everybody likes starting out the weekend shiny and bright! And a kidless date night now and then. Bless all of you.

Yin said...

Oh Amy! I've no advice to offer but I'm sending you all my best for your new adventure! Congratulations to you and Rich!

KatieRae said...

I just read your blog today and your story of your first foster baby was so sweet/sad! We have babies 1 yr apart turning 1 and 2 next month.

routine- yes- you had good pointers on that already.

with that many little tornados you will have a lot of stuff everywhere! One way to deal with the toys/stuff is to divide it all into several containers. Rotate to a new container every few days emptying the contents of the current one to the shelves or wherever you have the toys that are accessible to them. this way, they can't get out as much stuff at once and when the new bin comes out all that stuff feels fresh and wonderful. I also try to watch for the things that they repeatedly just toss off the shelf but don't actually play with. When I pack up the current container of toys it is the time that those things get passed along or saved for a later developmental period. also a good opportunity to cull out the things that are broken, annoying, or bad quality. (toys from restaurants, well-menat gifts, etc) a toy with many bits that they really love and will ask for even if out of sight I store in its own container.

Anonymous said...

Amy! This is huge! Congratulations! The only advice I can offer, is stick to what you say. If you say one more book, then one more book ONLY...otherwise, you and Rich are toast! Weather permitting, going outside DAILY is also huge, HUGE! And try to get a routine going for the car ASAP because getting three kids in carseats would be a challenge for anyone. Start a routine getting in and out of the car, so everyone knows what they do when and where they wait until you say, etc. You'll be amazing! My TWO oldest (not three) are 16 months apart, and these are some things that helped me! xo corinne

Anonymous said...

Oh my chicken and stars Amy! How exciting and wonderful this is! My advice? A few things have been mentioned...routines rock! And so does art, and church on Sundays (with or without a preschool/toddler room), and making Rich be home at the same time everyday! Library time-perhaps one near you has a day for little ones to attend and listen to a great story or watch a puppet show, etc. Walks and strolls to the park. A friend nearby to walk widdle people with....oh I wish the best for you guys! This is gonna be great!
xoxo
Teresa McFayden

Lindsay said...

What you are about to do is amazing and beautiful. I am a child therapist and work with so many foster and adopted chiuldren, most of whom have been neglected and abused. They all have their own difficult and emotional responses.

Please feel free to contact me at ANY time if you are in need of suggestions

amy h said...

Honestly, I think taking care of one for the first time is a bigger shock than moving up in numbers. Of course, I only have two right now -- 3 and 16 months.

My biggest thing is to have at least part of my house so completely babyproofed that they can just go and play. No worries.

Leave lots of time for going anywhere. Just getting to the car is an undertaking. We average about 15 minutes from snack/blankie-gathering to last-minute diaper changes to coats and out the door.

Try to avoid the 3-year-old activities unless the young ones are asleep. Legos get eaten. Skinny crayons get broken. It upsets my three year old. She gets her own time after #2 is in bed.

Blocks! Both of those age groups love them, at least in my house. They actually play together.

Good luck! It will be crazy at first, but you'll be fine.

Lynne said...

Whoo-eee! This is going to be a wonderful new adventure. Two tips- 1. Get your hands on "Don't Move the Muffin Tins" and Together We're Better" by Bev Bos. The first is the best art book ever for young children, and the 2nd is full of cooperative play ideas. Simple stuff, simple philosophy, but tried and true fun.
2. Join a parent co-operative nursery school. A few mornings a week is terrific for social experiences for the little birdies, and you will have a built-in support group and parent ed. as well. -Plus they will get to paint and do lots of messy, fun stuff everyday they are there...!
Lynne (before I was a sahm, I was a nursery school teacher for 15 years-)

kas said...

love ~ love ~ love, sweet whispers, and singing songs about everything you see and do together, you being you and blessing the socks off these three beautiful ones coming to stay with you. my heart's sweetest thoughts are coming your way too.

Doreen said...

Oh my! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Those little kids are so very lucky to have you and your husband!! No advice from me! I've been reading the advice you got so I can use with my 2.5 year old. I feel like such a wimp with just one - but he's definitely a handful! Oh, I'm so happy for you and the little ones. I knew by your clues you were getting more than one, but three! You are wonderful and brave and selfless. Bless you!!

Annette D said...

What I have to offer is my prayers daily for your new expanded family!

TinkerBlue said...

I have no advice, just wanted to wish you lots of good thoughts. And to say I admire what you did for the little one, and what you will do for the next 3 kiddies.

Tina said...

wow - cool for you guys.

You just have to remember that anything within reach will be played with, broken or lost. There should be nothing off limits to them (ex...any china or heirlooms, put away) make sure to have your coffee early so you are energetic when they wake up. most importantly remind yourself that not much will get done around the house (maybe not even daily showering) but that is o.k. just relax and enjoy them and play - play alot...not only will they be happy but also tired and bed time will be easy to get done.

Have fun - but do know it will max your sanity to the limit. But so worth it ....really - there will be no more ME TIME - but later on into the relationship - be sure to make some ME time and ME & RICH time...Be calm...if you lose it so will they....trust your instincts..and have a blast.

p.s. I have 4 - you'll do great.

Mary said...

amazing amy! i like everyone else's advice and agree with the above poster that felt like a wimp-- with just my one little 13 month old :)

we try very hard to stick to a routine and i can imagine that more kiddos would make this even more neccessary. good luck :)

Keri Tate said...

Congratulations Amy! I have a small preschool in my home - with a dedicated classroom space for them to use. I have 3 two year olds, 2 three year olds, and a four year old. My best advice is to try to remember that while most of us as adults tend to focus on "getting things done", children tend to focus on what they are doing at the moment. So, while our days are made up of tasks we need to get done, their days are made up of moments and memories - try to stay in the moment with them. From reading your blog and your experiences with the little guy, that will be easier for you than for some. Also, have lots of open ended things for them to do as individuals and together. The children I care for seem to know instinctively when they need to do something alone and when they want to be more social.

My last piece of advice, if you call it that, is to say yes as much as you possibly can. They will hear enough nos (is that a word?) from everyone else. I try really hard to say yes to anything that isn't dangerous or completely crazily over the top - like when my daughter asked for a horse at age 8 (we live in the city and had NO money). I don't mean spoil them, although I'm not sure that's really possible anyway. Just try to show them that you honor their requests enough to take them seriously and try to make them believe in the power of being positive and trying to find a way to make things happen. Often times, I see parents and other caregivers offer no without a real thought. It's just a simple no. Even when I say no, I explain why it's a no (unless it's a dangerous situtation and I don't have time for a lengthy explanation at the moement) and acknowledge their desire for whatever it is they requested. Most of the time, their requests will be very simple and only require some time.

Just my two cents - or dime perhaps.

Best of luck and we'll all be pulling for you.

Lilli said...

Wow! The Good Lord wouldn't have sent them to you if you couldn't handle it. It will be wonderful for all of you, give or take a few days of adjustment.

Good Luck!

Claudia said...

Amy, I don't have kids, so I won't offer you any advice. What I will do is tell you how terrific and brave you and Rich are! You have so much love to offer these children that they will blossom and heal under your loving guidance. My thoughts are with you and your expanded family! Bless you.

Patty G. said...

Hi Amy ! I have just recently found your blog and can't help but wish you the best of luck ! At one point I had 4 boys under 5 with twins in the middle - my oldest is now almost 11! Everyone is right on with a good schedual. It will keep you sane. Your church may also have a toddler/ mothers group for no charge or free. You will need to speak to people who are taller then your belly button . We used to have theme days lined up on the calander ie . Animal day with animal crackers and playdoh cut out animals and a Diego animal show ( whatever ). The kids start to look foward to what day is what and can help plan too. Playdoh and Crayola makers that only work on the "special" paper and not the couch were a godsend. Send your lamps and breakables to the attic. Two babies get in alot more trouble then one . One year we even put the Christmas tree on the front porch and everyone could watch it thru the window . They like to try and climb out windows too ! You'll be great ! Patty

Chris Worthy said...

My two children are five years apart, so I have no words of wisdom -- only words of encouragement:

You can do this, even though I suspect there will be days when you think you can't.
These children will find beauty from ashes, with your help.
I can only imagine how multiplied your love is about to become.
You were chosen for this time and place.

Best to you and your husband as you get ready for this adventure.

Jane said...

I love your blog! Now, I am even more excited to read! My tip (from years of babysitting two toddlers only 16 months apart and a set of triplets once)is to have an early bedtime. Bedtime takes longer than you expect too, but start early so that you have some adult time during the evening. It's important to do the things that feed you and your relationships as well. I am so happy for you and for those children! Didn't they just find a soft place to land!

dede warren said...

Well I like you, LOVE children. Years ago I was part time Nanny to three year old triplets. I LOVED it, and found it tons of fun. Their little lands and hearts so wide open and ready for the world. You'll do great, and yes it will be overwhelming at times. Have fun with them, play with them, give their young, inquiring minds something to focus on, and absorb.

enjoy, Dede

Peggy. said...

Congratulations!!!
The best advice I can give you is what I learned from taking care of my granddaughters. They need to know that you are there for them and that they are loved. The girls had a huge fear of being alone so when ever I left the room I told them even if it was just for a second. This lasted for months so be prepared. They were also afraid of loud noises and anyone raising their voice even when just playing around. I spent alot of time just sitting on the floor with them that seemed to calm them. If you don't have a wagon you need to get one and take a walk everyday.
If you need to talk to someone who has been through something similar please don't hesitate to call me or email me...anytime day or night.
Good Luck you will do great just relax and have fun.
Peggy

Anonymous said...

I love following your blog. I will keep you and Rich in my thoughts and pray with you all as you welcome 3 little ones into your lives. Kris

Sunny Tuesday said...

Toddlers are my very favorite age! They're so much fun.

As a nanny, I found that "toy jail" worked wonders. If the child misbehaves, you put one of their toys in toy jail. If they go a whole day without misbehaving, they get a toy released. We used a large rubbermaid container, but you could also use a shelf. The 2 year olds might be too young, but it could work for the 3 year old.

We also did sticker charts. Every time they did something good (doing something without being asked first, being especially nice to a sibling) they could put a sticker on their chart. Once they filled a row (for us, 7 stickers) they got to pick a prize from the prize drawer (filled with inexpensive tattoos, dum dums, party favor-type toys).

KF said...

Exciting news for you!

I'm not a Mom, but I am an aunt, and here are some random things that work in our family:

- Take naps when your kids do.
- Have some one-on-one time with each kid. They love undivided attention. Call on family members - we aunts love being pressed into service, especially those of us who don't have our own kids.
- Kidproof your cabinets w/locks.
- Vinyl tablecloths transform a kitchen/dining room table into a craft table - easy cleanup!
- Sticker charts work in our family and help kids adapt to being in a routine: hand washing, getting dressed, etc.
- Kids love to help. Even the two year-olds can help set the table with napkins, put bread on plates, scoop popcorn into small bowls, stir banana bread batter, etc.
- Have you decided how you'll handle the twin wardrobe issue? Matchy or not?
- READ TOGETHER IN BED EVERY NIGHT. It is often the time of day when our little ones are at their sweetest. It can cement your bond with them and also introduce a lifelong love of reading. If these little ones are entering foster care, it is likely that no one has ever told them stories or shown them how a book can be an escape into another world. Oh, the power of books!
- Library visits are wonderful. Some libraries even have programming specifically for 2-3 year-olds, including a toy room. You can watch what they like to interact with (if you want to purchase later). Also, our local library has parent bags sorted by the child's age that contain toys, books, and a puppet.
- Cheap underwear while potty training. :)

Debe said...

There are angels on earth. You and your hubby are two very special ones. Been too long since I had 3 year olds, sorry...no ideas. Bless you!

karen said...

I wish you all the best. I have a sister and twin brothers who are on either side of my son and when they were little I would take all of them for a day or overnight to give my step mom and dad a break. So I had four kids within 1 1/2 years of each other.

Get a good stroller and wagon that fits 3. Spend alot of time outside at the park/playground and on walks or in your yard.

Have very low expectations about what you wil accomplish - having kids fed and entertained and reasonably clean is an achievement anything more is a bonus.

Do laundry every day so it does not pile up.

Routine as others have said is key - you seem to have a really good handle on that.

get a babysitter for one evening every week for you and Rich to have some adult time.

Prepare simple natural meals and snacks - and always carry healthy snacks and wet ones with you every where you go - avoid giving sugary items. Kid really do well with 4 or 5 small meals throughout the day.

Read together.

boys will go in different directions and can escape in a blink of an eye - Re check all that baby proofing you did before. Put latches high on exterior doors or rooms you dont want the children to get into. Make sure bedroom windows have a limiter on them.

Set up a pattern of who holds whose hand when you go outside. When I babysat my three siblings I had my little sister hold the hand or the more active brother and I held his other hand and then I also held the hand of my other brother. That really saved a lot of tears and fighting. (on one on one time with my sister she would hold my hand so happily)

Double your estimate of time to do anything.

Be in the moment with them Enjoy your time with them

Have them help you on some tasks, even if takes longer than doing it yourself. A two year old can put his pillow on the bed, put his (plastic) dishes at his place to eat, can empty the laundry basket.

Ask for help

I am going on too much ... really you will do fine

Hugs to you and give Rich lots of hugs too

Thrifty Miss Priss said...

Yay for you! I've been following along for a long time and I'm so happy your are jumping right back in with both feet! You'll now how six little hands to hold! I did homedaycare for ten years while my first two were babies...it was interesting! I could give you some fun, cheap games/activities. My number one word of wisdom-keep the art supplies OUT OF REACH!

Mrs. LIAYF said...

Wow! You are wonderful, Amy and Rich!! I have just an 18 year old boy, but used to work with Kindergarteners and direct a daycare program for 30+ kids of various age ranges. Some advice (which may echo what has been written above)c

Routine, routine, routine - from your past posts I can tell you are intuitive about this, so you should have no problem.

Outside time every day - we go before morning nap - so get a three person wagon. Cheap places to visit include the park, the fish tanks at the toy store, or the local library. You don't even have to go anywhere, just take some buckets and collect stuff!

Arts and crafts at least a few times a week - this could also include arranging your collected stuff from your walks, simple cooking, or just painting. There are lots of books on these activities (check out the library). My son loved making playdoh! http://liayf.blogspot.com/2008/12/rollin-in-dough.html

Silly, silly songs! Everything is more fun when singing - even cleaning up. Check out They Might Be Giants albums and get some instruments if you don't have them (my son LOVES his harmonica!!).

Saying "yes" as often as possible - It's such a gift to children and helps them explore their world (which is much more interesting than ours). My only rule in daycare was that we didn't hurt anyone's feelings or bodies, including ourselves. Everything else was negotiable.

Quiet, snuggle time in the evening for everyone - make reading books part of your evening routine - it's such a nice way to end the day.

Early bedtime - gives you and Rich some adult time every day. My husband and I use it to chat, have some ice cream, talk about our day, and sometimes watch a movie.

And, of course, all the excellent advice above. You are all going to have a blast!!!!

She'sSewPretty said...

Oh my goodness! You and your husband are brave. You've been given some excellent advice. As the mother of three, I've always believed in lots of books, lots of hugs and kisses and love...lots of love.

Liss said...

Hi there

A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of your blog - I now have a 4.5 year old and 3 year old twin girls.

My advice:
*Routine
*Consistency
*Loving discipline (the Supernanny has some great stuff for handing multiples)
*Creativity - kids that age love drawing and cooking - stuff like cookies and make your own pizza etc.

The 3 year-old would probably benefit from some outside activity like nursery school or music - etc some away time from the siblings.

Be kind to yourself and either get a cleaner or a mothers'helper - have one dedicated takeaway night and one date night a week or fortnight to have some time to yourselves. That's very important to keep perspective!

Good luck with it all!

Wanda said...

Amy, I would just say go with it and do what feels right to you. You don't have to be SuperMom, just be someone they know loves them...the rest will fall in place. What did you love about your childhood....do that. Remember it's a home not a school. Routine is nice, but it doesn't always happen...so don't feel bad when it doesn't. Just remember that you are the best mother that you can be. Good luck, we are all rooting for you and can't wait for you to post about those sweet little ones.

Jen Kershner said...

You dear, wonderful, brave woman. I have to say, hands down toddlers are my favorite. They are like kittens, playful, funny and a little nuts. Routine will be your friend. Also children that age are very opinionated and I always find it helpful to give choices on matters that they are opinionated about. Usually just 2 choices but it makes them feel empowered and that's important to all of us. Also, I know that my girls loved art and exploring at those ages so ample opportunities for that are good. Good luck Amy! Hugs, Jen

Teacuppy said...

Just Love them good or bad!

Maija said...

A martini, perhaps????

Anonymous said...

I forgot the most important thing...when friends ask if they can help you...SAY YES!!!! Let your friends/family clean your kitchen, fold your laundry (wait until you see the laundry), scrub your toilets. If they offer to help, they mean it, they want to help! Think of all the times you've wanted to help another woman and she hasn't let you - you would have gladly run her errands, vaccuumed her floors, whatever. Please make sure you let people help you! I wish I was there (don't worry, I'm not turning into your stalker or anything), but really! I wish I could help! xo corinne

Anonymous said...

Great news! I had 3 boys under the age of 3. You have to be super organized to survive. Remember even with your your husband home you will be out numbered and sometimes you just have to keep them safe. I always tried to treat them as individuals and not a group as each one is so different. sometimes I would put them down for naps at different times or got a sitter for the younger so I could do something special with the older ones and visa versa. And some days you need nap time alone just to survive.But you have so much love that is one thing they are missing and is the most important thing for any child. Don't wear yourself out painting the house they won't care it's the hugs, kisses and praise they yearn for.

Linda said...

I am so excited for you!! You obviously have a calling... what a joy for all that will be loved.

Dori said...

Amy, dear heart, your home is just going to be filled to the brim with love! You and Rich will do just fine! :) Be flexible, set some reasonable routines, accept help, trust your instincts, and just love 'em up! God bless!

Amy said...

Wow! How Exciting!!!

Those little sweeties are lucky they are going to a home filled with so much love!

-Amy

Anonymous said...

You are my hero! Those little birds are blessed to be going home to you. We all are blessed that you share your life with us via the blog. - Amy James

Li said...

Congratulations!!!! The two of you will be the world (a wonderful world) to this little ones.
All the greatest suggestions you asked for, I think that are already posted on your blog. I have no other ones because I have not that much experience (just a 5 months old motherhood). And I have to confess there are moments that I think I can't do a well done job. But soon after that I am filled with a strong feeling that I will do it, I will do my best.
God bless you, your husband and people like you.

Bev said...

You both are blessings to these children and I know God will guide you. It will certainly be very busy...LOL...rest while you can but it doesn't sound like that is what's on your agenda. I guess my words of advice....enjoy!!

Nicole Valentine said...

Truly those kids are very lucky to have you... as for pointers I would say sleep when you can - make sure you have babysitters lined up for your sanity - and put away all breakables. :)

When my daughter was that age her favorite show was Peep and the Big Wide World - can be found on Discovery Kids and also on dvd. I loved it too - funny, not loud and distracting and educational. It buys you a good 30 minutes of quiet.

Satsuki Rebel said...

Routines are important when toddlers are young. They may resist new bedtimes and quiet times (naptime) at first but routine helps them feel safe. We all need those constant things in our life so we can feel free to explore, knowing that some things won't change (at least not right now). This goes doubly for toddlers.

I haven't gotten to the 3-year-old stage yet but some mothering things don't change. Don't feel bad about yourself if all you have energy for (and all they want) happens to be macaroni for dinner. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been helping me out for the last year or so.

And probably the most important thing- love and treasure them. Any other gift pales in comparison.

Jan said...

You have gotten much good advice and I am far removed from having toddlers around, so I will say May God bless you and your husband for your willingness to serve Him in this way. "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me." (Mark 9:36-37)

Susan said...

Oh my, Amy! Baby was just a warm-up! I think you've gotten lots of good advice in these comments already. I second the need for structure and routine to the day, and with those 2-year-old boys coming, to lock up ANYTHING fragile in your house! Make it as childproof/child-safe as you can and then you don't have to worry when they toddle down the hall away from you. I also second the notion of not having too many toys out at once, but put some away in bins and rotate them out every few days. That has always been very helpful for me with my toddlers. And do try to find some playgroups or other things to do like storytime at the library or Gymboree or something. Getting out each day becomes crucial with 2s and 3s (even if it's just a walk around the block.) If I think of anything else I'll email you.
I'll pray for you!

louisa said...

Oh, Amy... I'm so happy for you!!! And those children are so lucky that they were led to you and your husband.
Your life is going to be so full. Just remember to get sleep whenever you can! :0) Can't wait to hear more about your new adventure. Huge hugs all around xo Louisa

Missy said...

I'm so happy for you!
3 toddlers is crazy, but fun. I know I have three of them. We do a lot of music around here. Singing, dancing. Play dough is a hit with all three and painting.
Schedule is really crucial for my kids. I hope they'll all nap for you at the same time. That helps. I wish mine all still did!
Good luck and keep us all posted!

Shirley said...

I love your hearts for rescuing children and loving them enough to be their parents.

As has been already said, a time out corner for you is a necessity, so make sure to use it! :D

Love and laugh and relax. Milk will be spilt. Take pictures, roll in the grass, make forts with sheets.

Do have routines. Know what TV programs and eventually video games you want in your home because it will be invading before you know it!

Little Fragments said...

Amy- I am almost at a loss for words....... You and your husband are so wonderful. I wish you all so much happiness and joy......

limefreckle said...

you'll handle it......I'm a lurker here, just starting to post on blogs that I've lurked at forever (starting my own blog made me realize I SHOULD BE COMMENTING AT OTHERS!) Anyway Amy, learning about you and all the love you have for these little kids assures me that you will no doubt handle this all with grace and humour.....it won't be easy, especially if these kids have emotional issues (I have a son on the autism spectrum, and have learned a lot in his lifetime!) but so what, nothing good is easy...and you will learn so much from them, it's just amazing what these kids can teach us! I look forward to reading all about it!

Sue

Leah said...

Congratulations! My heart swells for the love & challenges you are about to undertake. I have no advice, you will be just fine in whatever you do. My 3 are 7,3 and 2 and although it can be a hard slog, to think you are bringing (dragging) up future adults is a blessed thing. My thoughts and prayers will be with you & your family! x*

janapl said...

You and your husband are amazing. I'd suggest finding a really awesome babysitter that can come weekly. Having planned mommy time to look forward to can really help- keep us posted. I truly admire you!

Arlene said...

Wow...what an exciting time. My sister raised 14 children. Seven hers and seven his...they all became 'ours'.
At one time she had five preschoolers, and thought it was a vacation to have the other nine
She taught me so much. One thing she said was, "When people ask me how I do it, I always say..well, how much time do your children take, and they would respond, 'All of it." and my sis would say, me too."
That is just it...one or three or five..they just take all of it. So in many ways it is no different than one.
Second - she gave up fussing over the small things, like - folding socks and t-shirts and pjs. She had a sock plastic bin, a pj bin etc and that helped her with laundry.
She then color coordinated things, Linzy was red - so her toothbrush was red, her pjs were red, her coat was red, her blanket was red. You may not need to do that with three but 14, yeah.
Also...she let each child have 'their' day. On their day..they could say the prayers at meals, sit in the favorite seat in the car, stay up 15 minutes longer than the others, pick which video to watch, which book to read, etc to give each one some individual attention.
We only have four kids, but his idea worked great for us. If one of us had to run an errand and taking a child was an option - but not all four...we took whom evers' "day" it was.
We just assigned each child a day in the week and it stopped squabbles and gave each child some much needed - what about ME - time.
Oh Amy you are so inspired...LITERALLY - you will navigate thru this and have an enriched life....hoe you find minute here and there to keep us posted.
Good luck...

Maddie said...

The world in better having people like you in it.

Maddiemom6

Sharyn said...

Amy, I have always loved reading about you following your bliss. But over the past while I have truly been filled with amazement over your following a different kind of love. Opening your home and your heart to first one little child, and now three more. I had thought years ago that someday I'd like to be a foster parent...so this has been the best kind of inspiration.

Recycled Rita said...

Lots of love, structure for their day,bedtime by 7-7:30, more love, It always helped to do an after-dinner routine, a little play (quiet play) a warm bath, a story, maybe some quiet music....
Don't put out all the toys at one time, save some in the closet and change off.
Learn to make freezer meals....I could go on and on....I work with kids like you will have and I just have a hunch that you are going to rock at this!
Hugs to you and your hubby!
karen...

Tasha Roe said...

I didnt get a chance to read all of the other comments and this may have already been mentioned...
As a mom of 3 I would highly suggest a schedule and routine. It doesnt have to be down to the minute but include: eating, sleeping, snack, quite time/naps, play time, story time, bath time, etc. It eliminates a lot of chaos and helps give the children comfort in knowing what is next or what to expect.

The second thing that I would suggest would be a space of their own. It doesnt have to be elaborate but a bed, comfy chair, nap mat, something that they can call their own.

The third thing - a comfort item. They may have to pick it out themselves - a blanket, stuffed animal, a doll, toy, etc.

You and your husband are so amazing for opening your homes up to children that need love and a safe place. My heart goes out to you guys and the little munchkins. We'll keep you in our prayers!!

Jess said...

Hi! Wow, such exciting news, your life will be crazy busy, but oh so blessed!!! I am a Mum of 4 (they were all under 3 1/2) and i am expecting my 5th. My kids are 6 (JUST), 4, 3, 2 and about to be born! I am also homeschooling so i have them all at home ALL the time!My advice? Routine!!! I don't mean super strict, never to be moved from routine, i mean a set regular pattern to the day. I have found this to be a life saver. Also rest time in the afternoon....for everyone....even you!!!! If they find it hard, which they possibly will i would snuggle down on your bed with a big pile of books! Rest time in our house is a non-negotiable, i couldn't survive without it!
Most of all...relax, have fun, realize your house will never be perfectly tidy/uncluttered/clean, and hold on and enjoy the ride!!!!

Amanda said...

You are so NOT crazy! Those children are so blessed to be welcomed into your home. I look forward to reading more about your evolving family.

bonnie said...

Oh wow they are so lucky to be coming to you :) routine, consistency and of course love is all they will need to feel secure and happy in their surrounding. I was fostered as a small child along with my little brother and I remember just wanting to be loved and wanted, our foster families were wonderful compared to our life before being fostered and we had such a happy time with them which we will treasure forever. I have such fond memories because I was so happy with them and those memories have stayed with me. Love is what you do best and that's all that you need :)

melanie said...

well, you are just the coolest! i'd say keep the errand running outings to a minimum, but lots of outside time. also they are still napping age so some outdoor play will wear them right out :)
you'll be awesome! i can't wait to follow along with your romper room.

Angel said...

Oh congratulations!!! That is so exciting! I have twin 3-1/2 year old girls and a 3 month old boy. Make sure you get your shower in before rich leaves for the day, or you may not get one. Oh and don't be in any hurry to move the twins to big boy beds. Buy mesh crib tents that zip up, they will be a lifesaver, becasue if you don't nap time will go bye-bye and that 2 hour or so break will be your saving grace, trust me. You will have so much fun, try to get outside every day and the best time will be after lunch just before nap time so they are good and tired and sleep well. Story time at the library or Barnes & Noble is a favorite if you are up for venturing out by yourself. Save your grocery shopping for the week-end or evenings. I sometimes even go at 5am. Just remember to laugh at the mishaps because someday you will even miss the worst of days. Hugs to you and I know you will be great at it.

~Angel/TaDa!Creations

natalea said...

Bless you dear Amy!! WoW!! you are amazing- taking on 3 toddlers?!!?!
I wish you all the best, and besides that cage idea, all I can say is I hope you enjoy wine! Best to you and your husband- you are one (two!) of a kind! xox

deb said...

How wonderful! Twins too? I'm partial to them. :) You'll be wonderful with them. And I adore your new living room!!! Darling.

Gina said...

My two oldest kids are very close in age. I just have to say a big dose of patience. If I could do it over I would have stuck to a routine. It makes a world of difference I found out. I also would hide half the toys. When they started to get bored with the ones out. I'd hide them and pull the others out. It was like brand new toys to them and kept them occupied for quite some time.
Just play and have fun with them.

Kim in Carlsbad said...

I knew you would bounce back! You and Rich are great!

It has been many years since my people were little but the key for me was to plan. I had something to do most days of the week from a picnic to a go feed the ducks at the park to rainbow colored rice bins to play in as a surprise. I didn't worry about tidying up the house till about 4:30 each day and I tried to keep things simple. Yes, and pack up the breakables and anything you really care about keeping. Good luck - as alway I am praying for you!

Supercool Hotmama said...

I salute you. You'll have your hands full. Like everyone says, routine is the key.

As a Mom of 6, laundry is the bane of my existence. One of my favorite things is what my kids call their "weekly". It's like a shoe hanger that attaches to the closet rod. There is room in it for 5 outfits and 2 pair of shoes. As I do laundry, I like to separate it into outfits, complete with undies and socks. No more struggles about appropriate outfits, or hustling to find socks in the morning.

Each of my kids have their own brand of socks. No stripes or polka dots in this house because that requires matching mates. Everyone gets a drawerful of their own brand of white.

Sometimes it feels like everything I do gets messed up the next minute (laundry, dishes, floors). To combat that, every morning, after kids are dressed and eating breakfast, I do my basic maintenance (load of laundry, unload dishwasher, swish and swipe bathroom). Then I try to get to one thing that doesn't get undone easily - organize a shelf, wipe the cabinets, clean the fridge out, etc.

I do most of my crafting or sewing late at night, when kids are in bed, so babies (mine are 2 and 4) go to bed at 7 p.m., middles (10 and 12) at 8, big kids at 9. Then I have time to create things. Good for my sanity, good for the kids. "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Also, for Christmas my sis gave us an "I'd Love to" jar full of tiny treats. (She filled it with candy, but marshmallos, fruit snacks, goldfish, or pretzels would work too.) Each time I ask a child to do something, they have the opportunity to earn a treat by saying, "I'd love to" and doing it happily. When my 4 yo refused to stay in bed, I began using it to motivate him. If he'd stay in bed after tuck-in, prayers, and story, then he could have a treat in the morning after breakfast!

Sorry. I'll stop now, Enjoy those beautiful blessings!!

OldBagNewTricks said...

Amy -- Congratulations!! You don't really need any adbice from me -- I had only one child. What would I know about multiples? I just wanted to extend my warmest wishes to you and Rich. Big, big hugs.

Jenny