Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why should Christmas end?

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is hearing stories about people helping others, especially people who happen to be complete strangers. I really like the stories where gifts are given with no strings attached. Appropriately then, one of my favorite Christmas stories is Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," and since it has apparently never been out of print, I think a lot of people agree with me. I do think it's rather sad that most of us forget the last part of the story, when the narrator says, "and it was always said of Scrooge, he knew how to keep Christmas well." We don't talk about how Scrooge changed and made a huge impact on his world afterwards.

This Christmas season I heard of an old college friend who enjoyed the random gift of a stranger paying his restaurant bill, just to say "Merry Christmas." There's also the layaway angel trend that started in my area of Michigan and spread nationwide. People walked into stores like KMart and WalMart then paid off the layaway bills of random strangers.

These are the type of stories I love. It's small stuff, it's not solving world hunger or poverty, it's just people doing random acts of kindness to strangers in their community. It's simple, it's something that can easily start a chain reaction and it's something that nearly anyone can do. These random acts don't have to involve money, it could be as simple as offering to help someone pack up their groceries in their car, writing a thank you note to give to the nurse you see at the doctor's office, etc. I know how important these gifts of kindness can be, I've been the recipient of them more than once. It gives you a smile that you can't explain. It makes you more capable of facing your day - whatever that day may bring.

"And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year older, a new year just begun..." This song of John Lennon's always reminds me that I have a whole year to impact other people in a positive way - it doesn't have to just be a month of December thing. So here's my challenge to myself and to you (even if you don't believe in Christmas, God, Jesus or any of that stuff). Find a way to keep Christmas throughout the upcoming year by helping or giving to a random stranger each month. I'm committing to doing one random act of kindness for a stranger each month. If I do this, I think it will make it easier to do random acts of kindness more often. Maybe, just maybe, it will become much more natural and maybe it will encourage those who have received a benefit to do the same thing. Imagine a world where people willingly spread love, joy and peace all year long. I think I'd like to see that world. Are you with me?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Occupy Christmas Tree

99% of our Christmas ornaments are adorning just 1% of the  Christmas tree - the upper echelon of the tree, actually. The other 1% of the ornaments are broken and awaiting repair or are functioning as new seasonal toys for three 3-year-olds.

Occupy Christmas Tree!

My mother-in-law assures me that from outside the house, in the dark, nobody knows what's really going on with our tree.

Actually I think that new Elf on a Shelf idea should really be about an elf who will magically repair all decorations destroyed by exploring 3 year olds - on a nightly basis. After all, aren't magic elves supposed to alleviate work, not make more?

All I know is Lotte is really hoping for a truly decorate-able Christmas next year. The triplets will be 4 by then, here's hoping.

Christmas in the midst of triplets.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Transitions, transitions

Tripped Up Daddy and I both accepted new full-time gigs this past week. His new job with a local company, offers a nice salary, excellent benefits and an easy commute. Mine offers really, really long hours, crappy pay, no benefits to speak of, yet somehow the rewards are amazing. Tripped Up Daddy will take his computer geekiness self out of the house to work full-time at the company he just recently joined. At the same time, I begin my role of full-time Mommy/education director/recreation supervisor/chauffeur/cook/household manager/domestic goddess, and part-time blogger/freelance writer/communication specialist/marketing strategist.

It sounds like we're all in for some big changes. Tripped Up Daddy has not been away from the triplets for 8 to 10 hours a day since they were just a year old. Me? Well, I haven't spent 8 to 10 hours a day with them alone since they were 15 months. The 3 months between 12 months and 15 months are kind of a blur. He was home, yet not, as we worked through the beginning of a long two year transitional period that encompassed unemployment, job search, full-time schooling, full-time work, internship, part-time single parenting, and so much more. Our triplets are nearly three years old - it's a different world for both of us - for all of us.

I think it's pretty amazing that my younger daughters had the opportunity to spend so much time with their daddy early on in life like that. I hope they each established a strong relationship with him that will always hold an extra special bond. Recently I have been fascinated by the role playing Sunshine triplet is doing in her play. Her Barbie-type dolls have a Daddy and a Mommy, with a small girl. Daddy is the doll who holds the little girl and comforts her. While the Mommy doll gets plenty of hugs and kisses from her too, it's still the Daddy she gravitates toward. And, for some reason, there are more Daddy dolls than Mommy dolls in the container (not sure exactly why... these are leftover toys from Lotte's younger years that Sunshine simply happened upon one day). It's interesting to watch your kids play and reflect their life - I hope it means that my daughters will grow up to expect their own children's fathers to take an active part in the child-rearing.

I used to think we were a fairly non-traditional family - a blended family with multiples, a Mr. Mom family. In fact, we're not that unusual at all. More and more families have a stay-at-home dad because of the recession. This television season is filled with pilots that feature stay-at-home dads in some way. However, our Mr. Mom is headed back to work full-time, and Mama is coming home to take care of the kids again while working from home. Maybe we do still buck the trends a bit as we head back toward traditional while it seems like others are doing the opposite. Who knows? Anyway, I hope you're ready to take a ride with us as we move through all these transitions. It ought to be fun!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Lotte's pumpkin should not be a surprise for any Phantom of the Opera fan. Alas, we never had time to carve the 3 little girls' pumpkins.

Trick or treating was short but sweet this year. Sunshine triplet figured out the whole deal after the first house. While she still wasn't sure about "choosing her own candy when offered," I'm sure she'll have everything down next year.

Princess and Angel enjoyed parts of the evening, but I think they were too tired and maybe too cold to really put it all together. We had a Green Bay Packer cheerleader leading the way, followed up by a University of Michigan cheerleader and a Detroit Red Wings cheerleader. Poor Sunshine took a fair amount of grief for her family's staunch support of Mom's Wisconsin heritage.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Naptime = Jumping on Beds

What exactly do you do when naptime turns into two little girls jumping in their cribs so high that they actually get air in their jumps? Unfortunately it means nighttime is much more painful because those same two girls are so exhausted that they're beside themselves - crying and fussing their way to sleep.

Sometimes the transitions of three nearly three-year-olds makes Mama really tired.


Friday, October 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo

There may be a writer in her somewhere!
November starts Tuesday and that's the beginning of the National Novel Writing Month - where thousands of people (maybe even millions, I don't know) pledge to write a novel in a single month. Not necessarily a good one, just a novel of moderate length - the length of "The Great Gatsby." November is also the the next National Blog Post Month by Blogher - the one that has prizes available.

I will not be doing either this year. Don't get me wrong, I think both ideas are great and can help writers to work through writer's block, help you find your voice, exercise some discipline in writing, and much more. Sometimes the output isn't the greatest because it's all about quantity and not quality, but for writers (like me sometimes) who tend to self-edit themselves out of writing at all, it's a really good technique. But this year, I think I'm bowing out of both.

I am just finishing the October NaBloPoMo where I committed to writing a blog post every day. I've been fairly successful - only 2 days of "oops, I posted after midnight" so that's really 2 posts on 1 day. While sometimes it's been hard, it's also been surprisingly easy in some ways. I guess I just like to write. However, after last year's unsuccessful attempt at NaNoWriMo and with as much transition going on in our home, I think it's wiser to ease the pressure cooker a bit. That's not usually my MO though - I'm usually more about adding as much pressure as possible it seems, so I'm trying to keep it real this year.

I do have a great novel idea - still. I do want to write it, but NaNoWriMo just isn't the month to do it this time. And even though the chance for a free Blogher 2012 Conference Pass is oh so enticing, Tripped Up Daddy promises Blogher 12 will still be mine even if I don't do the November NaBloPoMo and won't qualify to be entered into that prize drawing.

I wish all the writers of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo well. You will make it and it will be great! In the meantime, I may follow the #Iamwriting and #amwriting hashtags on twitter and simply live vicariously. Go on - get writing!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye

Halloween 2010 - Isn't there room for 1 more year?
Even when it's only Piglet.

I have always loved Pooh - with his simple yet somehow profound comments. The innocence of childhood is so compelling to me too (you know, childhood before we started trying to teach our kids to read while they are still babies and work hard to get them into AP classes to save college money, etc.). I've read AA Milne's fabulous stories again and again - by the way, they're so much more wonderful than Disney's view, although in reality I don't complain about the initial movie... just all the new "adulterations" of the classic.

Anyway, with that Winnie the Pooh obsession in place, it's not so very surprising I jumped on the opportunity to dress my triplets in coordinating 100 Aker Woods Halloween costumes two years in a row. I was visibly sad when I realized they couldn't really wear them again this year, well, not unless I expected them to walk stiff-legged while trick or treating. I figured that might be construed as child abuse. So... a Craigslist post was made this year.

Just two nights ago we said goodbye to Piglet and my love affair with all things Pooh was suddenly reduced to a mere $15. It's a good thing I still have the photo from last year. The girls still want to hear about Pooh bear and they still watch the video. The hard part will be when they all say "Not Pooh, Mama, he's only for babies." Yes, I've heard it before, and it made me cry then too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No, I didn't sell my firstborn

It's not unusual in today's economy to see signs for "We buy gold" on street signs. Pawn shops also seem to be doing a steadier business. Craigslist, eBay, and the normal classifieds have undoubtedly also seen an increase in certain types of items to sell, like wedding rings and family heirlooms.

As Tripped Up Daddy and I work through our own transitional time periods, i.e. going back to college, looking for full-time work, triplet toddlers that still aren't potty-trained (uh, do you know what diapers cost for triplets?), we've had our own spots of "maybe we need the money more than this thing, so let's sell it." And recently we decided to start simplifying and de-cluttering.

Photo credit: calsidyrose Creative Commons Flickr
The most recent transaction may end up leaving me disowned from my family of origin. You know - my mom, dad, sisters, brother... that family of origin. You see, I sold the French Horn. A musical instrument.

In my family, we don't sell instruments (unless we're getting a better one of the same kind). No, instead we name them. Musical instruments are like children, something to be treasured, to learn to take care of, to share with the world, but never, ever to sell. Especially not the one that your Grandma bought for you.

But here's the thing. I think I should get credit for not selling an actual child. I mean, really, I do have more children than I did French Horns. And, honestly, the French Horn was actually quieter than the children - especially in the middle of the night. To be honest I really don't think I've heard that French Horn at all since 1987 - that's pretty darn quiet.

I never did name the French Horn and for the life of me I can't even find a band geek picture of me with it at all. I guess my horn never officially hit the musical instrument "child" status anyway. The money it's bringing in is definitely more than "some," and we have plenty of ideas on where it can go.

I promised I'd keep you posted if I turned into a millionaire overnight by selling off worries, it hasn't happened yet.

I could have danced all night

All glittery & sparkly
My blonde haired girl who used to say things like "you know what's the funnest place in the world, Mom? Disney," has grown into her golden-chestnut-auburn locks and recently donned a glittery dress and heels for Homecoming. It was her second year for this occasion.

Part of the updo
I should be used to this growing up business, right? I'm not. That's why it took me almost 2 weeks to talk about the dance and the fact that my eldest girl is growing up faster than I like. I still see my little 4-year-old girl with her short bob style haircut sitting in the midst of a ball pit, smiling from ear to ear. In a pink dress, because she was convinced at the time no one would know she was a girl if she didn't wear dresses every single day. (It made for a long kindergarten year, let me tell you. That's since changed, she only wears dresses for Homecoming now, it seems).

When they tell you it goes fast, you smile and nod. You look at them as if they're crazy. Wherever you are in the season of early parenthood, you're convinced that it couldn't get tougher and that potty training tasks, tripping over strewn toys, and crying through separation anxiety will never end. After a while, you realize they're right. It goes fast. Faster than you ever thought possible.

Besides cheering her high school football team on to victory the night before and taking the PSAT test as a practice exam that morning, Lotte spent Homecoming Night with friends and slept over at a best girlfriend's house when it was over. Super busy and using her dad's house as home base, I saw her for about 20 minutes during the whole weekend. That's when you realize you're really not the center of her world anymore, and she's doing all the things teenagers are supposed to do. The next time I blink, she'll be at college, and I'll be so glad to do her laundry when she comes home, just to get a few moments of her time.

Yeah, it goes fast. So I'm trying to make sure I enjoy every single dance step along the way. Soon that clock will strike midnight and childhood will turn into adulthood. It brings new meaning to the famous song from My Fair Lady.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unexpected nursery gig

I normally work in the church toddler nursery once every couple of months. It's not a horrible thing, I mean it makes sense. We use the nursery as often as we can, so we should help staff it. Today the room was understaffed and I couldn't bear to leave them with three more kids and no more help. So... it was an unexpected nursery gig today.

I used a line I stole from one of my nannies a lot today. "Mommies and Daddies always come back, because they love their kids so much. Mommy will come back, she always comes back." I also realized how difficult my own children must be for other nursery workers as one continually stole every child's pacifier and proceeded to put it in her mouth, one constantly wanted to climb on the table and sit in the middle, and the other simply couldn't find anything to do for any length of time. My quota for crying children is a little tapped today. Thank God my own girls are in a nap now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's time to simplify

No, we're not moving, but you couldn't tell could you?
We have too much stuff - do you know that feeling? I'm not exactly a "clutter-free" housekeeper, but I think the area in the basement is nearly a fire hazard. Perhaps it could be an episode in Hoarders, okay humor me and say maybe not quite.

Still, believe it or not, there's a door behind the blanket hanging on the wall (covered because that door should be replaced with a more energy efficient one). And, if that "storage corner," as we call it - were cleared out, we'd actually be able to someday use our walkout basement. Hmmm, you'd think that'd be incentive enough wouldn't you? Alas, it hasn't been so far.

Wouldn't this be more appealing?
Some of it is just the leftovers from the triplets' last stage. The triplet stroller, baby clothes, baby gear, etc. Some of it is stuff we've moved at least two other times and it's still in the same boxes. A lot of our leftovers can be sold, perhaps for some money, perhaps for a little more than some and perhaps little of nothing. We need to sort, list,  donate, freecycle, and finally dump. Because honestly, I'd prefer a different look.

It's time to purge, because I feel the need to simplify. Who knows, maybe I'll find something worth a fortune in there... I'll keep you posted.

Between a rock and a hard place

I live in Michigan, a place I love because of its natural resources and its friendly people. I love it for its sense of history and for the feelings of compassion and generosity I've seen time and time again. I love my own part of Michigan because of its interest in the arts and desire to continue to remake itself.

I recently came upon an article (thanks to a friend's link via Facebook) bringing up a whole side of Michigan that's not pretty. It's a side of Michigan I'm afraid of, a side that makes me question our compassion and generosity. I firmly believe we need to be engaged in helping others around us, on a regular basis. I fully admit it can sometimes be difficult to know when you are helping someone and when you are enabling them to continue in behavior that's not healthy. I never expected my blog to become political, but I think I may have hit that spot for a moment. You see, Michigan will be changing how it deals with the chronically poor in a month, and personally, I'm more than a little afraid of the fall-out of this decision.

Next month, 11,000 people who used to receive cash assistance from the state will simply stop receiving it. There is no program for helping them move on. There are no real steps provided to help move them out of poverty. There is no discussion of how to help them build upon their strengths so they can break out of a cycle they may have always been a part of. From my understanding, it is simply a "we can't help you anymore after this date" proposition. This whole way of thinking and acting makes me feel as though we as a state, and indeed even a nation, are pursuing the methods "dealing with the poor" the way we read about in many of Charles Dickens' novels.

I don't know exactly what will happen next month, but I expect we will see an increase in people who are completely disenfranchised from our society. This is a situation that scares me. People who can't see a way out of bad situations become very desperate. Desperate people tend to make poor choices in the midst of stress. A vision of a recent mini-series I watched comes to mind - Bleak House. It's dark and it shows how hopeless life was in a time when the only helping hand for those less fortunate were workhouses, poorhouses and orphanages.

Perhaps this situation strikes at my core so strongly because I've faced poverty myself, or because I've lived as a single mom before, or because I understand how impossible it is to find a job when you can't pull enough money together to pay for daycare for your children. So I think I need to find out how I can help. Maybe it's a tutoring program, maybe volunteering at a local agency, maybe packing sack lunches for children that will become their only dinner at home - I don't know. I do know I will have to act somehow. My little area of the world will be changing soon and perhaps taking steps closer to a world I only have known in historical literature - a world I never would have imagined could be anything like my own. I intend to do what I can to help alleviate suffering and to show compassion toward my neighbors. I may not be able to do a lot myself, but God help me, I better do something or I will be no better than those who allowed Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist to run an orphanage.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Steampunk edition

Lotte has changed her overall style this year. All that's left is an aviator hat, I'm told. Welcome to the world of "Around the World in 80 Days" and other Steampunk stories.
It started here with a simple timepiece

and here you can see parts of the bomber jacket

and the 4" heels were quite the birthday gift.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's a good day to hug Daddy

Daddy plays ball with triplets
I know it's not Father's Day, but it's still a good day to hug Daddy. If you have someone who's a great father to your kids - it's worth giving him a hug (or if a hug is awkward, at least a genuine thank you - like I will do with Lotte's dad).

Why the sudden concern about fathers? The past week has brought up the fragility of life for me - only this time through many losses of fathers of young children. Let's start with Trevor Slot from West Michigan on Thursday, Oct. 13. The life of a police officer is always subject to some measure of danger, but Trevor's typical work activities had him working as a court officer. That Thursday, however, Trevor left his duties to respond to a call, and unfortunately it was the last call he ever responded to. The two suspects fleeing from a bank robbery apparently aimed their vehicle directly at Trevor as he set up stop sticks on the road. He was run over by the vehicle and killed. He left a wife and two young daughters.

Next up is Kevin Bruins, who went missing on Saturday, Oct. 15. He loved to jet ski and when the waves on Lake Michigan got big that Saturday, he decided to enjoy them. Although a highly experienced water athlete, Kevin apparently got into some trouble when he didn't have a buddy nearby. He went missing without anyone realizing it until the middle of that night. His body wasn't found until early the next week. He left a wife and three young sons.

The national news on Sunday, Oct. 16, showed the horrific Indy car crash which took the life of Indy Car driver Dan Wheldon. Certainly race car drivers know that any race could end in tragedy, but Dan was apparently very passionate about safety. In fact, he had helped test a new and safer Indy car that will come out next year. The racing world is still mourning Dan and he left behind a wife and two young sons.

So many stories of Daddies leaving children behind. I feel bad for each of those children. I can't imagine losing my own dad at all, let alone at so young an age. It makes me grateful for Tripped Up Daddy, the daddy to my triplets and stepdad to my teen. It makes me grateful for Lotte's dad too and all the ways he parents her.

Yes, today, and maybe in fact, every day is a good day to hug a daddy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cold, achy, tired

And I want my mommy...

Send soup and ice cream. I'm finding a warm bed to climb into.

So much for date #4 with gym.

Monday, October 17, 2011

He freed a nation

Last night, I caught glimpses of coverage of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication. I saw a few seconds of President Obama speaking, a few of the King family, and a few of Al Sharpton. I haven't really paid close attention to the news regarding the memorial, although I do remember reading an article or editorial that questioned the idea of using white stone as the medium - as if that was somehow making Dr. King into a white man. Not sure how I feel about that - I can see that it could be offensive, and yet, to me personally it doesn't make Dr. King "white," it's just stone. The memorial itself is what is important. What did strike me last night, however, was that the credit for all of the civil rights movement and the positive changes it brought seemed to be laid exclusively at Dr. King's feet.

I'm not African American. I'm as white as you can get - with most of my ancestry from Europe, and mostly western at that. Maybe that means for some people that I don't really have a valid opinion about the Dr. King memorial, but I tend to disagree. As an American, I think I still get to voice my opinion even if the work of Dr. King did not benefit me directly (although I do think his work benefited all Americans, because whenever we sideline a group of people in society, we hurt ourselves more than we ever realize). Anyway, I'm a little uncomfortable with the tone and actual statements that were made about King. I believe it was Sharpton who said, something like, "This one man freed a nation." And the overall tone was that Dr. King was the man responsible for all the changes - for the overturn of Jim Crow laws. For everything.

I have a problem with that. As much as I admire who Dr. King was and what he did, I can NEVER believe that he acted completely alone. Yes, he was the face of the movement. Yes, he was the right and only person who could have spurred the action and results. I don't deny that. But still, do we not have to acknowledge ALL the people who took action during those days? Without the people who listened to Dr. King, those who then took action, those who were already taking action before Dr. King even started to speak publicly, those who came long before Dr. King was even born, without all of them, I firmly believe NOTHING would have changed. Without thousands of people taking stands, small though they may have been, our nation may still be wrestling the the whole idea of slavery itself, even.

I don't deny we need to celebrate the life of Dr. King. It's critical. I strongly support a memorial and the national observance of his birthday. Yet, I wonder, when will we acknowledge others? Like Fredrick Douglas? Like Harriet Tubman? Like all the other heroes who came before? When will we realize that every person plays an important role in the effort to change the world?

Okay, all right, maybe it's just me, but I'd love for us to someday acknowledge that anyone who moves forward against the norm, yet toward what is just, right and pure takes risks. They put their life on the line in a way. They sacrifice. How about the woman who had to walk miles to work every day during the famous bus boycotts, putting the "cause" in some ways in front of her family's immediate needs, this woman who just kept walking, that's all she did. Don't know her name? Yeah, neither do I, and that's part of my point.

It wasn't just Dr. King. It wasn't just Rosa Parks. It was that every day person - the slave who ran away, the Underground Railroad home owner who helped slaves, the maid who walked to work, the student who went to what used to be an all-white school. It was all of them. Every single one. They all have stories. And for what it's worth, I'm really interested in those stories - I've heard Dr. King's. Now tell me about the people that Dr. King inspired, because personally, those every day people who make simple decisions that may hopefully change the world, those are the people I want to be like.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Popcorn party

You know those nights when you leave the kids with a sitter - before dinner and arrive back home just after bedtime? You're hoping for a quiet evening and maybe a nice night of sleep and before the sitter leaves - all 3 children are back up, needing attention?

Tonight was one of those nights. The only solution? Watching XFactor together as a family with popcorn. Except with our girls that also involves getting the vacuum out for the massive amounts of white crumbs left all over the floor.

It's two hours after we arrived home. Girls are finally down and the big people are finally heading to bed too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fitness Goal - Day 3 - Week 1

Is it possible to start feeling better after just 2 or even 3 days of working out? Shouldn't I be dragging myself around with sore muscles if I'm really working out hard enough?

At this point, I'm trying to be realistic and starting very slowly. Since I've been very lax in physical exercise for a number of years, any movement is a move in the right direction, I think.

Amazingly enough, I've actually started to feel better, enjoying more energy and feeling better. Maybe I'm crazy, but I do think I'm already enjoying the benefits of simply moving my body more. I've been here before, and I used to workout daily, I felt so good then that I never would have imagined letting it go. Yet, I did.

Why is it so difficult to make a commitment to do things that are good for you, even when you know you feel, look and are much healthier and happier when you do those things? I don't have the answer to that, but I am committed to making this "Gym Relationship" work.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tell me your 5 moments

I've never had my life flash before my eyes, but if it ever did, I think these 5 moments would have to be included.

1. September 11, 1996 - The day I had my first baby - when Lotte was born. I'll never forget when I heard that first cry. It was amazing, after a very rough labor and delivery story ending in an emergency c-section, I heard my baby cry. I had never felt a better moment than right then.

2. September 11, 2001 - It started with a birthday breakfast for my 5 year old - before work, before kindergarten. By 11 a.m. the whole world had changed and I remember going to visit her at daycare "just to get grounded." She was with her dad that evening, and I had just started dating a guy a week earlier who happened to be of Middle Eastern descent. It was a weird time and that relationship didn't last through the weirdness. 

3. June 23, 2006 - This was the most beautiful day anyone had ever seen for an outdoor wedding. Tripped Up Daddy and I married that day and Lotte played us a beautiful rendition of "Simple Gifts" on her violin during the ceremony. We gave her a sapphire necklace after we exchanged our rings - it was a surprise and her smile was worth every effort of keeping that secret.

4. June 23, 2008 - "You have 3 healthy babies - all girls - and they are growing very nicely right now." This is what I remember from that 2 year wedding anniversary. That was when we learned the very high risk pregnancy we had feared would be ending, was now going well and would bless us with 3 beautiful baby girls.

5. November 18, 2008 - It was the sudden cry of Angel triplet that pierced the operating room first, then Princess, and Sunshine didn't cry at all at first (don't worry, she's made up for that since!). It took that first cry to remind me that "Oh yeah, this isn't just another procedure in this tough medical road, we're having babies!" Then the later realization as I looked at each baby crib in the NICU, that "they're all mine!"

Those are my five moments - now it's your turn. If your life flashed before your eyes, what are 5 moments you know would be included?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another new trick

Our "Mountain Goat" (otherwise known as Angel triplet) just pulled off another slick maneuver today. We thought the kitchen counters were safe. We were wrong. But how did she manage it? She pulled the oven door open, used the open oven door as a step stool and crawled along on the counter to explore.

It's Thursday and I suppose that means it should be Thankful Thursday...

I'm thankful the oven wasn't on.
I'm thankful she's determined - it will serve her well some day.
I'm thankful she's curious, it will help her learn
I'm thankful these days will not last forever.

Once again, Tripped Up Daddy wants the gate back.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She wants more applesauce!

When you have speech delayed toddlers, a new sign language sign used spontaneously is wonderful. We still get really excited when Princess or Angel triplets choose to sign "more" rather than simply cry for attention. While Sunshine triplet is moving forward and adding new words to her vocabulary every day it seems, we're still waiting for the same "light bulb" to click on with our other two.

At the last play group though, Angel triplet blew her teacher, Tripped Up Daddy and others away. She asked for more applesauce - "Mo appa." It was as clear as day. For the parent of a speech delayed toddler, this is a major victory! The same day, Princess triplet had a victory moment of her own during a diaper change. Her daddy said hi to her and asked her if she could say, "Hi Daddy." She replied by mimicking his words.

Needless to say, those communication efforts are wildly praised by us and everyone working with the girls. I do know that the girls probably attempt to speak and communicate more often than we even realize. Sometimes it's not clear enough for us to differentiate from the typical toddler babble, sometimes it's simply too soft, and sometimes we're just plain too busy to notice. But we really try to give as much positive feedback as we can to every attempt we recognize.

I think my first real introduction to speech delays or milestone delays in children was through a movie when I was young, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. It was about a family who had a third child (a boy after 2 girls) and they discovered he was autistic. Back then, autism was not nearly as well known or understood as it is today. The parents were working their own therapies with their son, Raun, because they weren't happy with the accepted forms of therapy out there at the time. For some reason, that movie stuck with me (I wasn't even a teenager when I saw it) and I'll never forget the moment when Raun actually asked for juice. The father, at work, received a phone call from his wife to say their son had asked, had communicated in his way, to ask for juice. Her husband got so excited that he left work immediately to go home, explaining to his boss that his son had asked for juice, while his boss looked at him incredulously saying in his wake, "and you have to go get it for him?"

For us, the "Mo appa" and "Hi Dadda" moments were just as big. We're moving beyond making sure we have solid eye contact to being able to expect some real verbal communication. I think all three of my triplets may really be talking soon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I think I may be raising a mountain goat...

and I have to admit, I’m not sure I know the best method for doing it well. Perhaps I should explain.

The “mountain goat” in question would normally be called our Angel triplet - although again, the nickname Angel should not lead you to believe that she wears a halo very often, she just looks like she should.

Our mountain goat climbs everywhere and figures out how to get on top of things before we’ve realized how to make anything safer. Her response to “no” or redirection is laughter and to simply do it again. I’m sorry to admit it, but we’ve resorted to a swat on her backside at the 25th (I’m not exaggerating) or more redirection from something that could hurt her worse than the swat. The reaction is still laughter and more of the same behavior. If you raise your voice, she smiles and does the behavior again.

A recent escapade ended up leaving a triplet sister sitting in the midst of broken glass while Tripped Up Daddy was out of room grabbing clothes to change them into. She had climbed to the top of the entertainment center and knocked off everything that was there. Unfortunately, that included an empty drinking glass. (That resulted in a “time-out” of sorts in her crib – which has a crib tent she can’t get out of – Tripped Up Daddy was ready to keep her there all day, I think. After calming down & cleaning up broken glass mess, that went down to just 20 minutes).

She’s figured out how to defy many childproofing techniques. We keep the door to the kitty litter/food area closed and have a kitty door for our 3 cats to use. Angel has figured out how to squeeze her little body through the kitty door and go in all areas that aren’t childproofed. We locked the kitty door – she broke the door off the hinges.

The other mountain goat similarity? Angel triplet puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. As much as we work with her to keep that from happening, she smiles and pops a bunch of clover or grass (dirt, pens, any “found” item at all) in her mouth, and runs away as you attempt to get to her. And she’s super fast. If you try to take something away from her, it all becomes a chase game. Putting her in a “timeout” doesn’t work because she simply waits you out and then goes right back to the activity.

Perhaps it’s an attention need – so you try to give her more attention - you tickle her, read to her, catch her and snuggle her. That really helps while she’s getting the attention, but at some point, you have to care for 2 other toddlers at the same time, you have to make them food, etc., etc. If she wants to, she can sit and look at a book, or play with a particular toy for a really long time, she’s incredibly intense. Also, if she decides she wants to do a particular thing, God help you, it will happen, she never, ever gives up.

Like the other girls, Angel triplet will be 3 in November and although she’s still not talking much at all, she does surprise us with a word here and there. (Like “More Appa” - more applesauce - at play group this past week.) Whenever Angel triplet moves forward on her milestones - although late, she’s usually perfect – she crawled perfectly, rolled perfectly. She observes a lot, then suddenly one day decides to do something you’ve never seen her attempt before – and it’s perfect. 

Angel triplet has no fear of anything. Tripped Up Daddy’s brother, at age 3 or 4, was found on the roof of the garage of their home – because he was curious. I’m beginning to be afraid that mountain goat is just in the genes.

If you’ve even read this far, please know, I’ll take advice. I must admit, before the triplets came along, my experience with temper tantrums with Lotte was really easy. (She simply would lie face down on the floor and refuse to move - no tears, no screams, just silent protest.) In general, she was always on the compliant side of things, and my experience in “willfullness” feels completely inadequate now.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time for a new relationship

The name is Gym and today was our first date. It was a little intimidating, so I brought a friend, but sooner or later I'm going to have to face Gym on my own. I've heard from others who've managed a relationship with Gym that it can be quite demanding, so I'm somewhat nervous.

I haven't seen Gym since well before my prescribed bed rest during my triplet  pregnancy. At one point in my life, I had regular dates with Gym, but after a while, stuff kept getting in the way. One of the things I remember when I used to hang out with Gym was that I felt a lot healthier, weighed a lot less, bought smaller clothes and looked a lot more fit.

It's hard to make time for a new relationship, but I'm committed to making it work. I think regular dates with Gym will help me be a better steward of my own body. I also think it may actually benefit all the other relationships in my life - my husband, my kids, my work, even in some respects, my faith.

Don't worry, it's a public relationship and Tripped Up Daddy knows all about it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We love fall!

Princess triplet on an orchard tour
 We have lots of reasons to appreciate fall - five of us were born in this season, after all. We love playing in the leaves and visiting the local orchards. The tree shown below is in our front yard and always looks gorgeous this time of year. Yesterday, as I was taking a photo of it, a passing motorcyclist stopped and did exactly the same thing. We're on the local color tour now I guess. :-)
Angel triplet checks out the fallen apples

Autumn leaf pile - too fun!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ArtPrize - without triplets and without voting

Thanks to my lovely teen Lotte who babysat the triplets during their long afternoon nap today, Tripped Up Daddy and I were finally able to attend ArtPrize, a radically open art competition, during its last weekend. Voting was over for the contest, the winners already selected, so we were just there to view and enjoy art. We wanted to see the top winner's piece (which I did find a little underwhelming, personally) and beyond that, took everything else as it came. We took a lovely walk through a sculpture area and toured three separate venues while we were there. I must admit, doing ArtPrize without the triplets in tow was a little bit like heaven. Imagine our first year visiting in its inaugural year with a triplet stroller - we actually did make it into about 2 indoor venues, the rest, well it was mostly seeing the sculptures. Last year, slightly better, 3 umbrella strollers, but the opportunity to linger at a piece and wander at will was so very nice today.

Look closely, you'll see his story
My favorite of the day was a series of portraits of older people by Lauren Taylor, portraits that were detailed with words written into the wrinkles and details of the people's faces. The words were their stories from their own interview with the artist. The artist also presented the transcript of the interview along with each portrait. I guess as a writer it's not surprising I would be impressed with this way of merging life, art, stories and people together.

Just yesterday I was afraid I wouldn't even get to attend ArtPrize at all, and for an art-loving, creative person living in West Michigan, that's a bit unthinkable. So I'm pleased we were able to attend at all. It was fine not being part of the voting this year too. It simply made it about the art, and I guess I didn't care so much about everything else. I did enjoy seeing Rain, found the recreation of President Ford a little eerie, shook my head a bit at Rusty, greatly admired Mantis Dreaming and, as always, stood in awe of what Tracy Van Duinen produced.

 I mentioned that I might actually put up some photos from last year that were still on my phone and indeed I did download a few. I don't remember the artist or exactly what the piece was supposed to present. I just remember being impressed and stopping to enjoy and to think. I felt compelled to record the moment with a photo. The emotion captured on both of these figures was intriguing to me. Again the last two are from ArtPrize 2010 - yet apparently still hold my interest.

I'm grateful for ArtPrize and the entry point it provides for many of my neighbors into art. I'm excited that Lotte is actually considering creating some of her own artwork to enter into the competition next year. I hope you have an ArtPrize type of catalyst in your home that launches you into the conversation of art and creativity too.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Topic du jour - ArtPrize

Last night the ArtPrize winners were announced, and the winner of the first place will receive $250,000. It's year 3 for this radically open art competition that transforms the center of what I like to call my town into a showpiece for all kinds of art - some good, some mediocre, some bad - it's all in your point of view. There's even a website dedicated to showcasing all the worst that ArtPrize has to offer.

So what do I think of ArtPrize this year? (Keeping in mind that last year we actually hosted an artist in our home while she installed her work, and we really did bring the triplet stroller down on a weekend so the whole family could see as much art as possible during year 1 and year 2). So, what do I really think of ArtPrize this year? Ummm, I don't know, seriously, hardly have a clue. Apart from driving by a venue and dropping Lotte off at another for a weekly music rehearsal, I haven't seen a painting, sculpture, drawing, or anything else. Between work and home, taking time away to enjoy a leisurely walk through ArtPrize venues has been impossible. I never even registered to vote.

I do think it's interesting that we've reaffirmed the fact we're a very religious community by selecting Mia Tavonatti's piece as the number one of all those submitted. I haven't seen the piece, Lotte says it's amazing, but I haven't seen it. Just because it's religious and was commissioned doesn't negate it from being good art, in my opinion. After all, Michelangelo's piece at the Sistine Chapel was also commissioned and also religious. No one questions its value as good art. I guess I still don't know what to think about the fact that last year the top choice was a bunch of white guys going off to war and this year it's Jesus. 

Anyway, maybe I'll get to ArtPrize tomorrow and see a few things. In the meantime, I can remember the bits I saw last year... photos to come later... when I can get them off my phone (yeah, they're still on there).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I blame it on Netflix

We don't always follow the "must-see TV" for children at our house. We've been without cable for years and even when we did have it, we never let it stay on Nickelodeon for very long. Consequently, we've often been the only parents of young children who remain blissfully unaware of Yo Gabba Gabba, while the other mommies & daddies in the room groan about the program their kids can't live without.

I actually think I deserve to get through the triplets' early childhood without having to endure that particular irritating kid favorite. After all, I already did Teletubbies, Barney, and Dragontales with Lotte - (Lala exceedingly painful, in fact). We even began to joke about how wonderful it was to have dodged the Gabba bullet. At least until yesterday.

Yesterday, Sunshine triplet was interested in the orange fuzzy thing on the streaming menu. It only took one program. And there it was, the dancing, the running, and a little girl enthralled. A tilted head, a finger pointing, a sweet voice with a smile says, "More Gabby, Gabby!"

Yes, we're doomed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Life in the Fly Over Zone

Oh come on, you know what I'm talking about. It's the area between the East and West coasts of the United States, the middle, the area that reportedly foreign visitors to the US are encouraged never to land in (just Fly Over). Well, at least that's what I've heard, from others, who also credit the belief and statements to "snobby New Yorkers" or "Crazy Californians." (None of whom I actually know myself. Crazy how we as a country continue to foment divisions among us, even stupid ones like this, isn't it?)

Anyway, this is the area I call home, the region I've always called home. It's the land of all 4 seasons, although when you live as far north as some, that summer may only be a month or two long. ("Hey, that's a long time," my father would say, the man who lives 10 miles away from the Canadian border.) It's the land where Chicago is the biggest city around and my love of the blues is decidedly from there. It's the land of Packer football, Tiger baseball, Red Wing hockey, and the Big Ten Network. It's the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River (while it's still relatively clean), Sleeping Bear Dunes, and America's Dairyland. It's the Midwest, where people are so friendly they say hi on the streets and wave from their cars (well, at least as you get away from the metropolitan areas - I don't think I've ever seen anyone wave from their car in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Grand Rapids, or Detroit).

I've visited other places, but most of my life has been firmly rooted in the Midwest, amidst its open spaces, friendly towns, and down-to-earth attitudes. I raise my family here and am proud of the region, but still long to visit more exotic places - you know, like Buffalo, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; or Stockton, California.

I like the Midwest and the space we have to build and raise family. I like its lower cost of living. I enjoy all four seasons as much as possible and don't mind too much that I regularly drive through snow to get anywhere in the winter. I also raise my kids with an excitement for the larger world and with dreams of visiting as many places as they can in their lifetime. Maybe they'll even take me with them - to London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Tokyo, Delhi and Seoul. Maybe if I'm lucky I might even make it to New York or even San Francisco.

So go ahead, all of you on either sides of the country, and call my home region the "Fly Over Zone." In reality, it doesn't bother me. I'll enjoy our less populated land and dream of visiting your home - just never living there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Somewhere between old and young...

there is a birthday,

and a double chocolate cookie

that tastes like a brownie,

and it's all mine.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Road Trip - Don't forget the nanny!

Recently I read about a family with many small children (including 2-year-old identical triplet boys) taking a trip across the ocean to visit their ancestral home, Ireland. I applaud, envy, and in some ways, run madly screaming away from that type of courage.

Our triplets are nearly 3 years old, and we took our first big road trip with them this past August. It was a weekend trip for a family wedding, just a pleasant drive a couple hours away from us. They go across the ocean for 2 weeks. We went to Traverse City for 2 days. It's really the same thing, right?

2 out of 3 triplets enjoyed the lake
Our trip included a day at the cottage with the whole family (that includes 15 kids - the oldest being 11 and the youngest under a year old - one set of triplets and one set of twins). Our teen was ill and not able to go with us, unfortunately. That's 15 kids and a lake. That's 15 kids, most of who are under 8, and a lake. We made sure the triplet wore their Bodyglove swimsuits the minute we got out of the van.

Tadpole Chapel - Frog Pond Village
The wedding was scheduled for 5 p.m. the day after the cottage day. So the triplets would attend a wedding just before dinner time probably on the second day without a nap, since we had yet to successfully get them into a nap anywhere but at home. An outdoor wedding at what has been voted the #5 best outdoor wedding venue in Michigan by The Knot, they tell me. Better yet, since it was Tripped Up Daddy's sister getting married, the whole family was scheduled to sit in the 2nd row of the audience at the wedding. There wasn't a lot of hiding space if any one or all of the girls started acting up. Yeah, you could say we were nervous about it all.

Wedding venue - Frog Pond Village
When we hired one of our summer nannies this year, we specifically said we'd need her for this particular weekend. That may have been the best decision we've ever made in reference to the triplets. While we weren't able to stay as long as we would have liked at the cottage, the girls did well and we had a 1 to 1 ratio for watching them thanks to our nanny. Even better, because of our nanny, we were able to have an adults only evening out after the rehearsal dinner with many of Tripped Up Daddy's cousins.

We took the girls to a children's museum the morning of the wedding - hoping we'd tire them out and they'd nap before we had to get ready for pictures at the venue. Wrong, yes it became day 3 without naps (they also decided not to nap the day before we left). At the ceremony, the girls were fairly quiet and then enjoyed the chance to run and play with cousins at the reception. (Thank you Aunt J for picking such a kid-friendly setting). For their first real sleep away trip, the triplets were doing remarkably well - no naps, but actually sleeping through the night in a strange place. Without our nanny helping us the whole weekend, I don't know how we would have managed the wedding or the trip at all for that matter. (This may be the closest I'll ever come to really bragging about our nanny, I've said before there are specific reasons why I  usually don't.) It went so well I think I've decided that no large family event should ever be attempted with triplets unless you bring a nanny.

So that's my road trip advice to all families of multiples who are 3 and under. Do your best to pack all the food, clothes, comfort items, etc that you need, but rest assured, you can probably buy whatever you forgot. Just don't forget the nanny!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Between = In the meantime

When I think of the word between, it evokes transition to me - like when someone says, we're between sitters right now, or I'm between sizes, or all too often in these economic times, he's in between jobs. Transition, in the meantime, or meanwhile - they're all words I use a lot these days. Actually I think it's an excellent description of The Tripped Up Family. We're in transition in so many places, sometimes it's hard to keep count of all of them.
Sometimes the sands pass slowly

Now that Tripped Up Daddy has officially graduated, we're in a between space for him. He's looking for work, working part-time from home and watching after the triplets - which will all change, we hope, once he obtains a new job in his field. He lives now in the meantime.

I'm in my own between space with my career. I'm blogging as I can pull time away from other responsibilities. I contract full-time as a writer in an eCommerce department of a local company. I expect that will continue as a long-term assignment, but don't know how a new job (as yet unknown) for Tripped Up Daddy may affect my activities. I contemplate going back to school for an advanced degree - for what, I'm not sure or exactly how that may change my career path. I live now in the meantime.

As a child of divorce and a blended family, our teen Lotte also lives in a between space of her own. She travels between her father's house and our house regularly. As an only child in one home and the oldest of 4 in the other, she bounces between lifestyles often. She's starting to think about career choices and colleges and requirements and applications. In her own estimation, life really doesn't begin until you can drive and date, both of which aren't allowed until she's 16. She lives now in the meantime.

Our triplets are all moving forward on their milestones, some quicker than others, but they are slowly beginning to catch up. Still, there are activities that are tough to do right now because of their developmental stage (think potty training for Angel and Princess). They are roaming the house much more freely now, and that has led to both joy and frustration as they learn what's appropriate and what's not (climbing into booster seat on her own - good, climbing onto counter to pull knife out of butcher block - not a good plan). Someday our 3 busy toddlers will be really good at following directions, but we're not there yet. They live now in the meantime.

I don't know how long each of these meantime situations will last, but I know they won't last forever. I hope I can live in the present enough to learn every valuable aspect I should while we live in the meantime.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A daily commitment for October

Last year I signed up and attempted to write a novel in a month, with NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to complete that task. This year, I've decided to start a little smaller, by joining the October NaBloPoMo sponsored by Blogher in which I'll commit to writing one blog post every day. My intention is to write at least one post on its theme - between.

The theme between seems to fit this Tripped Up Family well, and I think it will be good discipline to commit to a month of daily posts. I'm looking forward to trying this out and if you'd like to join me by posting daily to your own blog that would be awesome. If you want to encourage each other in this endeavor, just comment below and I'll be sure to check your blog out too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Random acts of mothers and strangers

Have you ever reached the end of a day, looked back, and thought, "OMG, everything I did, all day long, was so random, I have no idea what I actually accomplished?" 

Ummm, "Tripped up," you say, "that's MOTHERHOOD, didn't you get the memo?"

When I stayed home full-time with the triplets for their first 15 months, I really did sense that randomness every day. It was only as I was able to pull away here and there from the constant needs of the baby x3 world, that I could begin to see those random acts adding up to something more, something that could be considered vital, as vital as helping babies to someday become people who can help change the world. (That may be the longest run-on sentence I've ever written in my life, but that's also how those days felt too).

A recent errand Saturday brought up another view of random. It began with a shopping excursion that may seem random, but is actually intentional. It's hard to get our toddlers out and into the world often, especially when we take all 3, but it's important for their development to see new surroundings and have new experiences. It's also important for us to give prime attention to one at a time. So every Saturday I try to take one triplet with me on what we call a "singleton outing." It usually involves the farmer's market, grocery store or other errand and may include lunch out with mom. Saturday's was Sunshine's turn.

A simple trip to the mall to return an item, lunch, and grocery shopping was on the docket. It started out okay in the van. Then a (lunchtime is nearing) start time, toddler slightly battling a cold, and the long ride through a construction zone culminated in some edgy behavior at the second waiting line. As we waited, I did what every mother would when a temper tantrum feels 10 seconds away and she’s just 1 person away from being helped. Talk, distract, hold, smile, sing, tickle, and finally ignore the fists being pounded on the floor in frustration. Two women interacted with me at that time (besides the clerk). The one was clearly full of disdain for a mother who couldn’t control her nearly 3-year-old at noon in a department store waiting line. The other smiled and said, “I have days like that sometimes.” I mentioned this was one of our triplets and was a special outing just her and I, but she seemed a little “off her game today.” It seemed to impress the kinder lady, while solidifying my inability to parent for the other. (Keep in mind, there was never an out and out tantrum, just some frustration from a toddler who would have been completely happy to hold my hand and walk around the store or to be pushed in a moving stroller – JUST DON’T MAKE HER WAIT IN LINE!) We managed to finish the errand in relative short order without irritating too many people and then it was off to Red Robin for lunch.

Sunshine and I truly enjoyed each other at lunch. Get a little food in a hungry toddler's belly and it's amazing how quickly edgy behavior can disappear. We practiced talking, we looked at colors, she ate a very soupy macaroni & cheese meal with a big girl spoon and loved it all - especially the pink balloon at the end. I went to pay for our meal and here's really where random comes in. 

"Actually," the server said, "that's all taken care of."

"What?" I said.

"You don't have to pay, that was taken care of for you," she replied.

"By who? I don't know anyone here," as I looked around, confused. (I don't live in a huge city or anything, but my metro area is too big to always meet a neighbor every time you go out).

"It's a secret," she answered. "Don't question it, just enjoy it, and have a great day."

One of my dear friends, D, who is the most generous woman I know and also has much to share, often feels impressed by God to buy a random stranger's lunch, or something like that. I've seen it happen and it's beautiful, but D was nowhere near that restaurant - I know that. I did think I may have glimpsed that kind lady from the check-out line out of the corner of my eye, but really I'm not sure. I have no idea who bought our lunch that Saturday; I can tell you the gift sure put a smile on my face.

Have you ever been the giver or the recipient of a random act of kindness? Have you ever felt like the random acts of motherhood weigh you down so much that you forget the bigger picture and what you're doing with all the random (cleaning kitchen floor, again, changing dirty diaper that was clean just 5 minutes ago, washing same dirty t-shirt) sort of activities? I'd love to read your stories!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Give toddlers room to grow

and amazing things happen... they start turning into preschoolers right before your very eyes.

When you have triplets, containment can be your best friend, like a fenced-in backyard, a triplet wagon, high chairs, a 12' baby gate, you know, the basics. When you struggle with milestone delays with the same triplet toddlers, containment can also be part of the problem.

Recently Tripped Up Daddy decided it was time to remove the biggest baby gate in our household. I don't know that I was completely ready for that, honestly. It meant little girls running with wild abandon throughout the house and anything not "safely out of reach" would be fair game. Maybe not so scary for those who find it easy to keep a neat house, but unfortunately the Tripped Up Family tends to be more "cluttered" than "spartan" in our decorating techniques. So this new world of "no major gate" was pretty intimidating.

Amazingly enough, it really was the perfect time to allow more freedom to the girls. All 3 of the girls seem to be advancing rapidly in development now (with little to no scary side effects - you know, like broken limbs, cracked heads, or cut fingers). They love the opportunity to roam and chase each other, climb up and downstairs at will, explore the kitchen while we cook, and chase the cats with greater ease. It's been so much fun that just two days after the "wall came down," I said, "let's pull the booster seats out and have the girls sit right up at the table for meals." So we did, and now we feel so much more like a family of 6 instead of a family of 3 and 3. It feels good and in some ways it's easier, and in some ways it's harder.

Raising triplet toddlers seems a lot like gardening. You never are completely sure when it's the ideal time to transplant a houseplant into a bigger pot, but there does come a point when there's no other choice. If you don't move a growing plant to a larger location where it can spread its roots, it will stop growing and could even die. Perhaps it didn't take a public figure like Ronald Reagan to say "tear down this wall" in our home, but I think we do realize the girls were getting a little "root-bound," if you will. Today, they have a lot more freedom to grow.

And yet, if you ask Tripped Up Daddy today, at this very moment, whether he supports his decision or not, you might get a different answer. Today's fun activities included: Princess triplet taking off pj's and dirty diaper in middle of living room while he was gathering clothes for day upstairs (who knows where that tush went), Angel triplet climbing onto top of changing table, then proceeding to pull all the baby wipes out of box and throwing them everywhere while he was making lunch, Princess triplet grabbing all the lunch plates off the counter and throwing them on the floor as Daddy rushed to rescue Angel. I haven't heard anything specific about Sunshine triplet, but there may be stories when I get home.

I think Tripped Up Daddy wants the gate back today. Instead, I think the next step is potty training, in triplicate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's here! It's here!

And we can hardly contain our excitement! But we must. If we open it, we'll put together. If we put together. it will be that much harder to hide for the next 2 months.
It's the major birthday present for the triplets this year. They turn 3 this November. 

No, trust me, it's more than a box. Although, sometimes with the way the triplets play and fight over boxes, that may be an even better present. Certainly much cheaper.

Thanks to Pampers and the Gifts to Grow Rewards program, however, we are adding another Radio Flyer toy to our toy-filled home. It's the Radio Flyer Big Flyer to be exact. We earned the 5075 points needed to order it, all through our purchases of diapers and wipes. Since each wipe refill package is worth 5 points, that gives you an idea how long we've worked, or more realistically, how many diapers and wipes triplets really need.

The next time you see the Radio Flyer Big Flyer on this blog, it will have a HUGE pink bow on it. Maybe even 3 little girls with pigtails looking it over. In the meantime, you'll have to look at it here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - A day to remember

The first thing I said this morning was "Happy Birthday," and I was greeted with a smile.

Today is a day to remember. For me, it's a day to remember one of the best days of my life. Fifteen years ago, I became a mother for the first time. It's also a day to remember the pain of a nation, the horrific loss of lives 10 years ago. A local ski area has been set up as a Healing Fields with 3200 flags to remember those who died that horrible day. My family will not visit those fields - at least not today.

Our family, today, will attempt to act normally. Although we celebrated our eldest daughter's birthday with a special dinner and cake last evening, it is officially her birthday now and I don't want to grieve today. Instead, I give my daughter the freedom to be happy and know that we believe this day brought our world more sunshine, happiness and joy 15 years ago. That means this day is a day of hope for our family anyway.

It is my hope that our small celebrations, a bonfire with friends and smores, will be simple ways to also celebrate all the lives that were lost 10 years ago. If we focus on hope today, isn't that another way of embracing the life of those who had been here? A way of saying we're glad your families had you for the time that they did? Or, we're glad you lived and we hope for a better world where tragic deaths like yours will not happen again?

Another mom blogger, Mom-101, far better and more famous than I, mentioned how she feels 10 years after 9/11 - a day that's also her birthday. She thinks it may be too creepy to celebrate at all. Reading that made me want to cry for her, my daughter and everyone who was born on this day.

I hope you will all forgive me for not immersing myself in remembrance activities and services today. They're certainly there on the edges of my mind, forming the frame of this day that I still want to be hopeful. Please forgive me if all I really want to say today is "Happy Birthday, Little Lotte"