Not my plans: Funky frugal writer recounts eventful year

by Tanner Cangelosi

In September 2013, I received some pretty startling news. As I sat in the chair of the ultrasound room and was told Cory and I would have three babies, I about fell out of the chair. Nothing could have prepared me for what this year would hold. 

The next few months would require many trips to Little Rock followed by months of bed rest. These months were very hard but well worth the sacrifice. I spent the months of bed rest journaling and praying for these babies. Many people came to help with my three older children to take them on dates, have them spend the night and babysit.

Triplets on average are born at 32 weeks gestational age. They were very worried with my body type that that would not happen and that I could not reach 32 weeks. Only the Lord could’ve made this happen. 

When I reached 36 weeks gestational age, they delivered my three precious, healthy babies, and I was able to take them home. I had prepared for a stay in the NICU with my babies, so when I was told I could bring them home I was quite overwhelmed with gratitude and terrified. 

When we got home, I felt as the day I did whenever I brought my firstborn home. I had no clue what I was doing.

This year has taught me how much I need the Lord. My life depends on Him. It has shown me how much of a sinner I am and how desperately I need Jesus in my life. 

Months of sleep deprivation will make anybody crazy. I honestly don’t remember the first few months the babies were at home. All I know is that all the children are alive, and mostly happy.

At eight months, the babies started sleeping through the night. I was so thankful as I was on the brink of going crazy.

The three big children responded beautifully. The two girls, who are 4 and 5, were little mother hens. They would hold their “baby dolls,” and it would help mama big time.

The girls would feed the babies and entertain them whenever they were crying. 

Now our 2-year-old son was a different story. He is kind of our wildcard. Sometimes we would look at each other, Cory and I, and say, “Where is JO?” He is so sweet and keeps us laughing, but we always have to keep tabs on where he is.

Many people ask me “How do you do it? How do you organize all this?” And the answer is simple: God has given me a lot of help. I have never seen the body of Christ like this before. People I’ve met from all over Hot Springs, and all over Arkansas, have come to help us with these babies. People have come who love to feed, to hold and to rock these babies. I have made friends that come to help with my big kids, to take them on dates and have fun. With six kids that are 5 and under, I want to make sure they each get special time to feel loved and cared for.

A typical day starts at 4:30 or 5 a.m., with the babies waking up and needing a bottle. Then I change diapers and get the babies’ clothes on and our 2-year-old’s clothes on for the whole day, or until someone spits up. I then unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. 

Next, I get my two big girls dressed. Then it’s time for breakfast at about 7 a.m. My 5-year-old is then off to school with her daddy. The big kids and I play outside if it’s nice, or inside we might watch a show while the babies play before their morning nap. At 8:30 a.m. I put the babies back down for their morning nap. My two big kids that are at home go to room time while I do my Bible study. Then, I might take everyone to the gym or get up and make a craft. I try to have some special activity for the two big kids at home as much as I can. 

Lunch is around 11 a.m., followed by a nap for the younger children. Getting the babies to sleep at the same time is a fine science. 

We’re back up at 2 p.m. having a snack and playing and watching a show. I usually have help in the evenings putting everybody in bath time, dinner and bedtime. By the end of the day I’m exhausted, but I’m thankful for everything that I have and all the children in my life.

I usually wake up once or twice a night with one of the six children who’s had a nightmare or needs a bottle. This has been the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. On the hard days I have to remember what I’m thankful for and the many women who have lost a baby. That helps keep my focus on what I have and not the rest that I don’t have.

I have a husband who loves me. I am thankful for our home. I am thankful for our six healthy children.

It is a privilege and honor to persevere through the hard days and celebrate the precious moments of these tiny blessings. This was definitely not my plan, but it was God’s plan!

Here are the words I wrote for a book I made for my children:

Heart Full

Our house is so noisy and fashion so crazy, sometimes I just want to be quiet and lazy.
Stains on my shirt and slobber on my face, taxiing to work and school in a haste.
Batman and Robin playing soccer at night, Three a.m. wake up, I turn on the light.
To hug you and remind you, “HE is our strong tower. We can rest secure in the Lord’s mighty power.”
Sometimes I’m tired of toys on the floor, but one day of the memories I will want more.
I want to hold you when people are mean, and they try to take your God-given dream.
Stay strong! Don’t falter.
Just get on your knees at the foot of the altar.
God gave me a great gift when He gave me you.
You’re loved and prayed for, forever it’s true.
The King has great plans for you
but I’ll miss you when you’re gone and grown.
Quiet and clean will then be my home.
So I choose thankfulness to guard our way, and see the joy of sticky fingers, dirt and play.
“You’ve got your hands full,” some people may say, but my heart is so full at the end of the day.


A graduate
of the University of Central Arkansas, Tanner Cangelosi owns
her own business – – and has done a variety of projects, from individual home décor items to painting murals in private residences. For more information, Tanner can be reached at 501.908.1338 or [email protected].