Monday, March 19, 2007

ramblings of a burned-out mind

Because I can't quite tell if the horse is dead yet ... I thought I'd give it another swift kick.

This art of finding the "perfect home" I've deemed is a huge waste of time. Because we spent another fine weekend looking at houses ... and didn't find a single "perfect" one for the price that we want to pay.

Not. A. One.

The kitchens were too small.

The bedrooms were too small.

The floors were ludicrious. Why would anybody think that white tile looks good with red grout ... in their dining room?

The yards were tiny.

The views of the ocean ... if the upstairs windows were spotless clean, you squinted really hard, and the leaves on the trees were aligned JUST so, was questionable.

The price tags of $850,000+ were mind boggling. Particularly when you'd have to spend more money to replace the nutty floor job.

The house-hunting expedition ... which led us all over San Diego County while the kids napped and watched The Lion King twice ... was a colossal waste of a beautiful day. At the end of the voyage, we were again planning to move out of state and buy a ranch in Montana.

Or, completely change our lifestyles so that we could swing THE house we really liked.

Or, scrap it all and stay where we are.

It's a scary proposition to sell our house. A house we know and love ... that we've lived in for the past 10 years .... and can happily afford. Albeit a house that feels very cramped and will feel even more cramped in the coming months.

When I spoke with various realtors and told them that our plan involved selling our house - and moving in to a new house before our baby was born in July - they looked at me like I was absolutely crazy. Especially when I followed that statement up with "We haven't listed our house yet, because I'm a total chicken and afraid it is going to sell in a week and THEN what?!?"

The reality is ... this pregnancy has been completely surreal for me.

Yes, I've had several tests show a positive result.

Yes, I've seen the heartbeat and I've heard the heartbeat.

Yes, I've been to the doctor and seen the baby via ultrasound.

Yes, I've had carpal tunnel syndrome, leg cramps at 2 AM and insane cravings for mu-shu pork.

Yes, I've packed on a whooping 32 pounds, none of my pants fit and I've gone up three cup sizes in a bra.

Still - it didn't seem real that I could get pregnant without medical intervention.

It doesn't seem at all possible we would have four children in less than three years.

Sometimes, I completely forget that I'm pregnant ... in large part because this pregnancy is so incredibly different than when I was expecting the triplets. With this pregnancy, I don't have spontaneous nosebleeds. There has been little to no nausea, little to no heartburn, and although I do get tired in the evening - I credit that to the fact that I chase three 2-year olds all day long.

Six months in to my triplet gestation, I was measuring full-term and was on self-imposed bed rest. I had a handicap placard for my car and would use the electronic carts that beeped when you backed up - whenever I went to the store.

Six months in to this gestation, most people can't even tell that I'm pregnant. Except for the fanatical nesting and mood swings ... this pregnancy has been barely noticeable. But now, all of a sudden it is real.

And the reason is because I feel baby Nemo all the time. He kicks, he squirms, he flips in circles. The other night while laying in bed with the remote control perched on my stomach ... he kicked so hard that the remote went flying to the ground.

At first I was worried and tried to remember what in the world I had eaten to upset my stomach such that it was capable of launching electronic equipment across the room. Then I was reminded of the mosh-pit feeling that had been my stomach when I was pregnant with our trio.

And I remembered.

We're having a BABY.

A baby that ideally, I'd like to have in his own room - so that his triplet siblings are not trying to climb in and sleep with him. (I know for a fact - they will attempt this.)

The other day, I had a complete meltdown in the garage. I had walked out to talk with Charlie, who was in the midst of washing the car, when I spotted a baby mobile. I started to babble where in the world the crib would go - that the baby mobile needs to fit on and I couldn't think of a single place.

Soon, I was hyperventilating ... running in circles and trying to sweep up dog hair. Dog hair that covered almost everything in the garage, including the brand new mats I bought for our kids to tumble on ... the toys that are temporarily on out-rotation ... and the boxes of baby clothes that I'm stockpiling for our newest addition.

A pile of dog hair that was larger than the pile I swept up two days prior and would easily cover our floors, wall-to-wall. I don't know how it's possible a dog can shed so much.

Recently, we transferred William back in with the girls. This is not an ideal arrangement, by any means, but is mandatory when we have people come from out of town that sleep on the pull-out couch in William's room. Because we have people lined up to visit from now until the end of April - we've decided to leave William in with the girls rather than break down and move his crib five separate times.

Which means - nap time has once again, turned in to a free for all.

Even though the new baby will sleep with us for a while in the beginning, I don't plan on keeping him in our room indefinitely. So - unless I want to wedge another crib in to a 10x10 room and have an infant sleep next to a toddler (makes me shudder thinking of the sleeping schedules) ... the only other option is to keep William in with the girls.

Which means - nap time will remain a free for all.

The morale of this story is that we need to move in to a larger house.

And don't even get me started on the toys that overflow from our house to our garage, to our backyard to our car. I seriously don't know how they have so many toys - since I never buy them. It's like they're breeding and multiplying ... almost worse than dog hair.

But, unless we want to return to work, more than full-time for at least one of us (hence requiring us to bring in additional help during the day), we need to stay right where we are.

I've decided it will never be an easy time to move. I can't imagine it will be any easier with four children, as opposed to three. Not next year, not two years from now. Probably not five years from now - provided I last that long and don't implode.

And when we do move ... unless we plan to move out of California ... we need to be prepared to spend a fortune on a house. That's the plain and simple harsh reality of the real estate market.

If we stay where we are for the next few years - we can both continue to work 20 hours a week. We can take off for the beach at 11 AM on a Wednesday. Or, go to the Zoo at 2 PM on a Friday.

Best of all, we can raise our children - together.

Although, I wonder if we have it in us to remain cramped for a few years so that we can continue working part-time and spend this time with our children before they head off to school.

That is the question.

For the next month, we're going to ramp up our work hours so that we are bringing in the kind of money necessary to support the mortgage if we were to move in to THE house. Because, we want to see what kind of change our work schedule would make to our daily lives and the amount of time we have available with the kids ... if we're working 15-20 additional hours a week. The extra money that we bring in - we'll apply to our current mortgage, so it will be paid off that much faster.

Unless, we decide that we really need a vacation and head off to Hawaii.

And, wouldn't that be wonderful?!

To have the kind of flexibility that we could take incredible vacations with our family and not be tied to a mortgage payment??

Wouldn't it be glorious to take off on a moment's notice and go somewhere grand??

Because - after having gone out a total of three times to dinner and a movie since our children have been born (without them), we might be struck with the desire to jet set all over the world. Even though the thought of leaving the City without them makes me queasy.

After hosting a triplet playdate at our house a few weeks ago and watching 4 sets of 2-year old triplets play in our bathroom ... I questioned, again, how much space we really need.

If I can fit 12 2-year olds in a tub ... or have my trio sleep in diaper boxes ... I again wonder if my priorities for having a BIG house are in the right place.

There is a feeling of peace that comes with knowing we can live in San Diego, but don't have to work all the time to make ends meet.

That feeling of peace is slowly rapidly eroded when I think of where the crib and baby mobile will go. And when I see Elizabeth climbing out of her crib carrying me a dirty diaper - that belongs to her brother. Removed by his other sister. Who is in his crib.

That's my cue. The kids are up from their 25-minute nap.

Oh, if only I could have a glass of wine.


  1. You are hilarious!!! I love reading your experiences!!! God Bless YOU! I am sure making a decision like that is extremely hard especially pregnant....

    it is pretty impressive the work week you guys have though, and can still afford to live where you live- THATS AWESOME!!!! ( and pretty priceless:))

    Thanks for sharing:) By the way, I got your blog from my cousin, who is due the same day as you- she has a blog that I check regularly and I didn't recognize you so I clicked.....and started laughing!!:) and then got hooked....

  2. Poppa and Kathleen3/19/07, 7:45 PM

    Der Jen and Guy (Charlie)

    In our meditation this morning "Dwelling in Peace" we read from Proverbs 107.1
    "Better a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife."
    Can you have the joy and security that you have now on Annadale in a bigger house, with bigger stress and bigger mortgage payments and more work hours away from the chidren?
    We look forward to seeing you on the 29th of this month so that you can get away to restore each other.
    Any 63 year old grandmother who can swim from Alcatraz Island can surely give 3 little kids a bath and tuck them in and Poppa is the best story reader with tuck in kisses and hugs.
    Enjoy the moment as this is all we really have.
    Poppa and Kathleen

  3. Just think of the pioneer women who raised four kids in a one or two room dugout...of course they didn't have four kids in THREE their oldest were old enough to be enlisted to help with the youngest. I always think of the pioneer women on Sunday mornings when I don't go to church yet again because my 15 month old won't stay on my 6-mo pregnant lap for one minute, much less the duration of a sermon, and I won't put him in the nursery because of the germs. The pioneer women did not have a nursery, did not skip church, and I have a feeling their babies were not running up and down the aisles like a rock star. How did they do it?

    That said...the picture of your ultimate "dream house" looked really over the top kick butt. Your "intermediate" dream house just might not have been on sale THIS weekend. Give it time?

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  5. Your blog is great to read, especially since we have identical almost four-year-old girls and have some similar experiences.

    We've been in the same quandary for a while... do we stay or do we go? We have three adults and the twins in a 3 BR, 1 BA, 1060 sq ft house. I feel your pain.

    I've just never been able to put it as succinctly as you have. =)

    Thanks so much!

  6. For what it's worth, here's the best advice we've ever been given: "Don't sacrifice lifestyle for square footage." It has been a hard pill to swallow sometimes, even as renters, and we ignored it a time or two and HATED being strapped financially - the space didn't make up for the lack of freedom to make emergency or even impulsive little luxury purchases or have a weekend get-away every now and then.

    But oh, do I feel for you. Kicking baby, frenetic nesting and all. Hang in there!!!!

  7. Wow, I can practically FEEL how torn up you are about this...

    Make sure your husband brings you a glass - no, make it a bottle - of wine upon your delivery!!

  8. hire an architect for two hours and a space designer and have them come look at your present home. They may be able to assist you in adding a small number of sq. feet that could make a BIG impact without losing a big amount of your backyard or your sanity. Its worth a thousand bucks or less to get professional advice. :)

  9. uThis is a big dilemma, I don't blame you for worrying about it all the time. I will tell you a couple of things though. First- I moved about 3 months before I had my third baby, then again when he was 5 months, then when he was one. For five years we lived in a 1400 sq foot, three bedroom, 2 bath house with 3, then 4 kids. After a while it started to feel small. Now we live in a 2 bedroom apartment with about 800 square feet and one bathroom, 4 kids and one on the way. Now I wish I had my old "small" house back. You can survive anything- if you have to. Having triplets, I'm sure you're already well acquainted with this concept. And by the way, if I could move into a home before this baby is born, I'd do it! I'd do it the day before she's born if I had to! Then I'd paint her room pink while in early labor, because I have 4 boys and have been waiting almost 14 years to finally have a girl!
    Good luck!

  10. I think Poppa and Kathleen are wise...listen to what they say and pray about it.

  11. Wow, I can't believe you are 6 months pregnant already! Time is just flying. And looking to buy a home and move in the next 3 months? Yikes!

    If it helps any, we had 3 kids in a 1000 sq ft 2 bedroom, till we finished the basement and expanded to a whopping 1400 sq ft 3 bedroom. Not ideal, but it is doable.

    Good luck on whatever you decide!

  12. no baby belly yet?

    Good luck with the house dilema!

  13. Jen- I think you'll have to put the baby in with you guys. Not ideal, but he'll need to sleep 17 hours a day and he will need his sleep. You can't throw him in the lion's den.

    You really NEED a bigger house. Can you convert your garage or do you have a homeowner's association? Can you add on the back? Is there any possible way you can enlarge your current setup?

  14. you crack me up on so many levels. the party in the bathroom and diaper boxes--loved it!

  15. Hi Jen,
    Thanks so much for visiting us and leaving a glad to find other triplet families out there. I am new to the blogging world and I LOVE finding new friends out here in bloggerland. Anyway...Congratulations on the baby on the way. You have been blessed with 4 miracles:) I will be checking back for updates--or maybe for advice since yours are a bit older than mine! Your 3 are very cute....

    Take care,