Thank you all for your ideas about strollers and sleeping arrangements! I actually got the double stroller we do have out of the garage yesterday and gave it a whirl while I was babysitting my nephew (who's about four months younger than Jamie) and wanted to take all three boys out for a walk. It worked just fine, really, just maybe needs the wheels oiled and DEFINITELY needs hosed down! Yes, it's big and cumbersome, but any stroller is, to a certain degree, so I guess it's not a big deal. I haven't tried snapping in the infant carrier in awhile, but even if it's as annoying as I remember, it's probably not enough of a pain to justify buying an entirely new stroller. I didn't even think of this until yesterday (embarrassing) but there's also the whole being good to the planet and not wastefully buying up more and more plastic junk for no good reason issue, and I guess the double stroller not being EXACTLY what I want is not enough of a reason to get rid of it and buy another one.
I should look into more baby wearing options, though, because I am DETERMINED not to be house bound with four little kids this summer, even if I have to put them all on leashes to get out the door. I did have one sling when Eli was a baby, and he loved it but then it got recalled. I tried a few different borrowed slings when Jamie was little and he didn't like being in any of them for more than ten minutes at a time, so I kind of gave up, but it's true I never tried the Ergo! Maybe it is the magical solution.
And speaking of being determined to get out of the house, Eli just started taking a combo gymnastics/swim class two days a week, and I can already tell such a huge difference in the way our days are going. Between pregnancy and winter blahs and Eli's general lack of cooperation on outings, it has been so long since we've been leaving the house on a regular basis. But here we are, trying it again for all of our sakes, and so far I am loving it. His class starts at nine fifteen, so that means when I get up in the morning I actually have to get us ALL ready, not just Addy, and then after we drop her off at school we head to the Y for Eli's class. He gets some exercise, he's having to deal with other adults and kids (something he can always use more practice with,) I am forced to shower before two o' clock PM... it's just good all around. So far I've even taken us out to do MORE stuff after class in the mornings, too, because it just feels so good to be out and about that I'm reluctant to return! We've gone to the library and the Babies R Us and to get coffee. Just little trips, but enough to feel like I've given our days a little bit of structure and a little bit of fun.
Not to mention the delightful fact that I so often forget: if you're not IN your house all day, it doesn't get as messy! I'm always wondering how families with two careers and multiple kids in school ever manage to get chores done and then I remember: because they're all gone a lot, not eating three meals and two snacks a day in their house, and there's also not three little people throwing toys and clothes and sippee cups all over the place twenty four-seven. I think I could face the weekly dust/vacuum/scrub routine if there weren't also the endless, endless picking up and organizing and wiping of stickiness that drains the will to clean right out of me. Lately if we even achieve tidiness I call it good.
But the reduction in messes is really just a side bonus. The main motivator is that it makes such a huge difference in my mood if I'm able to get out and do something every day, and the same goes for Eli. When I try to get him to do "activities" with me at home it's usually a bust- once in the house, he just wants to watch TV, play Super Mario or play by himself with his action figures. He rarely even wants to go for a walk, let alone do art projects or whatever. But when I force us out the door and into the world beyond our street, he really has much better days in terms of behavior, eating and sleeping.
How about you guys? Are your kids happy to be home, or is it worth the effort to get them out of the house and doing stuff? Do you enjoy ferrying them around, or is it more of a hassle than anything? ('Cause I'll be the first to admit that dealing with car seats and strollers and hand holding can make even the simplest errand feel exhausting. And that's assuming everyone behaves!)