Friday, May 01, 2009

What an outing looks like for us

What have we been up to these days? Well, I am trying to get the kids and I out of the house whenever possible. We're not out of RSV season just yet (and now with the Swine or H1N1 Flu, I think we'll be keeping the girls at home until this thing blows over, just because they were/are preemies and a bad flu could send them into the hospital :( ). So we're not going out into highly-populated places just yet but I am trying to take them out to the park and zoo, especially before it becomes 100+ degrees here for the next 6 months. We've been to the zoo twice now (Yay!) and to a big park here in town once. Oh, and we ventured out to Jared's t-ball game on a Saturday morning. Here are some pictures of the kids at our park outing.

Jared did some rock climbingSuzan, giving me a silly grinAnna, trying to grab at my cameraBethany, playing with her sippy cup of waterBrielle and a "Brielle smirk"I have to note, again, that I am not going out by myself, alone, with the five kids. On weekdays, our morning helper, Mary, comes with us. On our outings to the park and to Jared's game, my mom came along. It helps me with 1) loading the van with kids, 2) unloading the van with kids and 3) pushing one of the double strollers. I think at some point I will be able to take the kids out by myself. The only trick will be getting our quad Runabout stroller into the van (oh man! that thing is a BEAST and HEAVY to lift up and put into the van!) and me keeping track of the 5 kids (double oh man!! i am sorely out numbered!!).

In case you are curious (and perhaps you are not ;) ), I thought I'd share what an outing looks like for us.

First, we have the BHV. AKA, Big Huge Van. It is a 12-passenger 2004 Chevrolet Express Van 1500. We purchased it (from Colorado) when I was about 12 weeks pregnant with the girls. We wanted to be prepared for the girls. That's me and my husband...preparers and planners ;) It took me some time getting used to driving it. I've only driven small, tight-wheel foreign cars so driving a big, domestic vehicle was an adjustment. Now, it's no problem. Why didn't we get a Suburban or Expedition or something else like that? In Paul and Maria fashion ;) , we did our research which included taking an infant carrier and convertible car seat to the car dealers and putting them in to the vehicles to make sure they would fit. Well, they didn't. Remember, we have 4 infant carriers to put into a vehicle and 1 convertible car seat. Jared didn't learn to buckle himself in by himself for a while so trying to climb way back and get him buckled would've been difficult. Plus, those infant carriers are very long, wide and take up a whole lot of space. Hence, the BHV.Second, we have two double strollers that we use for our outings, as you can see.They fold up pretty easily and compact down tight. One fits in the back of the van.And the other on the floor in between the two rows. Right now, we have two of the three rows installed in the van. We don't have extra seating space for friends, relatives and such but do have lots of space for strollers, bags and baby/kid cargo. That is the reason why only two rows are currently installed. Well, that and we are still using two infant carriers for Suzan and Brielle so we need the extra room between the rows for the carriers.

Third, we have who sits where. We have Jared, Suzan and Brielle in the back row.And Anna and Bethany in the front row. Plus an open seat, seen here being used as bag storage.Also, right now we have Suzan and Brielle still in their infant carriers. The skinny minis! They have not met the 20+lbs to move up to the convertible car seats. It works but does make for a lot of work for Mama! take them in and out, in and out of the carriers to be pushed in the strollers. It will be nice to have them in the convertible car seats! It's hard on Mama's back, arms and shoulders to lug those carriers around and lift them in and out of the BHV.

So there you have it. What an outing looks like for us :D I've never timed it but it takes a good amount of time loading and unloading the BHV with the 5 kids. A lot of jumping in and out of the BHV. A lot of squatting or bent over in the BHV putting and buckling girlies in their seats. And a whole lot of upper arm strength needed to get those strollers in and out. Uff! Mary, our morning helper, has commented that "it will be nice when they can walk and all!" Yup! Sure will ;)
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Jac Tubre said...

Looks like such fun!! Supermom!!!!

Love ya lots!

Cochran Quads said...

I often wish I would have gone bigger! We stand in the trunk of the mini to put Cannon, Gunner and Avery in their Big Kid Car Seats and Lauren is still in a carrier and then HN is in a booster. It's crazy nuts when we all get loaded! Have Fun!!! Luv YA!

Mary Anne Whiteley said...

You can use convertible seats with infants under 20 lbs, just make sure they are rear facing. The current recommendations by the AAP are to rear face the kids until they max weight of the seat (depending on the seat, 30-40 lbs, most in the 30-35 lbs range). I had my youngest in a convertible seat long before she hit 20 lbs because she was too long for the infant carrier seat. My oldest was under 20 lbs, too, and only 5 months when she had to go to a convertible seat!

Larissa said...

Wow!! You have really cute and lovely kids. Convertible car seat makes journey safe and comfortable for infants. Sears offers a large choice of car seats.

Jewels said...

I've got two friends with multiples who have struggled with the whole car seat thing (one with two sets of twins, all under 3, and one with triplets + a toddler). You might want to check out Sunshine Kids...they've got a convertible car seat that was designed to go 3 across on a seat called the Radian. They've got different models going from 5 to either 65 or 80 pounds. Check out the FAQ document they've got on their crash testing to NCAP standards...seemed pretty impressive.

Marilee said...

Glad to see you guys getting out. Must be exhausting, though! I imagine that just getting everyone dressed in the morning is an ordeal. I agree that it will be nice when they can walk. Even nicer when they can put on their own shoes. We're working on that here ...

I second the thoughts on convertible car seat before they're 20 lbs. Also, what we did before switching to convertible car seats was simply leave the infant carrier in the car on its base. We just took the babies out and left the infant carrier hitched up.

Sounds like you guys are having lots of fun!!

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