Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dr. Daddy

Congratulations to my husband for successfully defending his dissertation today! The title, in case you wanted to know, was "Exploring Mentoring Relationships in College Student Affairs: A Q Methodology Study." Doesn't that just sound smart? We are all so proud of him and have been referring to him as Dr. Clifford as much as possible by saying things like, "Excuse me, Dr. Clifford, would you mind, Dr. Clifford, passing me the salt please, Dr. Clifford"? What an amazing accomplishment, especially considering he began writing his dissertation right when the triplets were born and keeping us up all night. We all love our Dr. Daddy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swing Me!

Here are some pictures from this past weekend. The triplets are starting to love the swing set in the backyard at their grandparents' house. Sam can even climb the ladder all by himself! I think Adah would swing all day long if you would let her. Peyton loves the slide. They are growing up so fast! It's great that they are becoming independent little people, but it's sad too.

This is Dad's newest game in an attempt to swing them as high as humanly possible without falling out. I close my eyes when he does it, but they love it.

I told you she would swing forever ... look at that face! It's pure joy.

Sam doing his thing.

The girls love the slide too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The "B" Word

So if you are someone who cringes when you hear the word "breast", you may want to stop reading this and move on to something else. Don't worry, it's not explicit or anything, I just know some people don't want to read that word over and over again. As for me, I used to be one of those individuals not too fond of the "B" word. It just rubbed me wrong ... kind of like the words "moist" and "supple." But, as I'm sure all new mothers do, I got over it. The word is just too prevalent in any and all baby products to have an aversion to it. They just throw it around like any common day noun or adjective. There are breast pads, breast cream, breast shields, you name it. There's even a nursing pillow called My Breast Friend (seriously, this stuff is too good for me to make up).

I tried to avoid the "B" word as much as possible leading up to the birth of the triplets, but once I had them, it was useless to resist. Because my babies were 9 weeks early, they were in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for a month. The most precious commodity a premature baby can receive is breast milk. So, while recovering from my c-section in the hospital, I became friends with the biggest breast accessory of all - the breast pump.

Most of my friends having babies registered for and received breast pumps at their baby showers. I didn't register for one because they were super expensive and I just didn't know how the breast feeding would go with triplets. Sure, I wanted to try to do it, but I wasn't sure enough to ask someone to spend $350 on a pump for me. Once we discovered that you could rent pumps, we thought that would be the best route. Don't worry, you just rent the actual pump, not the accessories. The hospital actually gives you the accessories after you give birth and lets you use their pumps. Once you go home, you can rent a pump from most local pharmacies. You have not felt humiliation until you have to walk into Walgreen's and announce that you need to rent a breast pump. It gets worse after that because they make you carry it out in a large, hard plastic container with "Breast Pump" stamped all over it. But because I could not be with my babies all the time, I had to have the pump to feed them as much breast milk as possible. So I took one for the team and marched out of the Walgreen's with my breast pump suitcase and my head held high.

I guess I should mention that when you rent a breast pump from the pharmacy, you are renting the mother of all breast pumps. This thing is way more powerful than anything you could find in a baby store. I almost felt like I was operating under cover in the black market of some secret breast pump cartel when I brought it home. This thing is big and it is LOUD. The people at the beast pump company must have known what they were doing when they named this particular model the "Symphony." I had the sound of the breast pump in my head non-stop. I sang songs to its rhythmic beat and even had dreams with the sound in the background.  Learning to use the pump was a feat in and of itself. I won't go into details, but it definitely took time and practice. Luckily I learned most of the tricks in the hospital and got a lot of help from my sweet husband. Girls, you don't know how much he loves you until that pump comes-a-callin'.

If you do decide to breastfeed or pump, you have to know up front that you are throwing all inhibitions to the wind. So many years ago when I was just a novice pumper in the hospital, I was so modest about covering up or making sure the doors were closed and locked before I pumped. Little did I know that I was fighting a losing battle. I didn't realize that breast pumps were created as a modesty-stripping device by a mother years ago. See, now-a-days I have no qualms sniffing my kids' behinds in public, talking about pee and poo with my husband, or buying a potty video at Target. Apparently the use of the breast pump is just the way to break you of any anatomy-related modesty so you are prepared to tackle everything that comes in the future with your children. I learned this first hand at the hospital the day I was checking out after giving birth to the triplets. I was slowly starting to master the pump and I had just managed to hook myself up when the nurse knocked on the door. I flinched and my husband jumped up and told her as she was walking in that I was pumping. We assumed that was all the hint she would need to turn around and come back later. However, imagine my surprise as I watched in horror when she simply walked in the room and sat down in front of me while I was pumping to give me my discharge instructions. I guess she was too busy looking over the instructions to notice the look of complete embarrassment upon my face. And that began my transition from modesty to bare-it-all. I am breastfeeding my last baby right now and I still use the pump when needed. I can't just leave the triplets unattended while I go pump discretely in another room, can I? So, yes, they are familiar with the pump. My hope is that they are too young to remember anything later in their lives.

I am so thankful to my breast pump for helping me through those early times with the babies. Sometimes I can still hear her old rhythmic sound in the back of my mind when I think back to those days of endless pumping for the triplets. And though she stole my modesty, she helped my babies get to where they are today. I can truly call her my "breast" friend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Top 5 things NOT to do at the pumpkin patch if you have triplets:

#5 - DO NOT tell your kids they can each pick out their own pumpkin. Although this sounds nice in theory, they will inevitably all fight over the same pumpkin that, coincidentally, is the largest (and most expensive) pumpkin in the lot. This is what you get for trying to be "fair."

#4 - DO NOT go in the middle of the day. Remember, we live in Florida. October still counts as a summer month and a mid-day trip to the pumpkin patch means you will be sweating within 90 seconds of entering said patch.

#3 - DO NOT teach your triplets to say "pumpkin." This will begin with all three of them happily repeating their newly learned word upon your arrival at the patch and end with them screaming the same word in protest as you try and drag them away when it's time to go home. I guess three kids crying and screaming "pun-kim"! is better than them screaming "This isn't my mommy"! or something like that.

#2 - DO NOT delude yourself into thinking you will get a family photo on the bales of hay with the pumpkins all around you. Trust me, it will not happen. You won't even find someone willing to take the picture. Apparently gluttons for punishment do not frequent pumpkin patches.

#1 - DO NOT assume that 22 month olds know that you aren't supposed to consume raw pumpkin. In case of bite marks or chunks being taken out of the pumpkin, it is advised that you discreetly rotate the pumpkin counter-clockwise in an effort to put the pumpkin's best "face" forward, so to speak.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fun at the Park

We have had some gorgeous days here recently and what better way to enjoy the weather than at the park?

Sam got his moneys worth out of the 44 oz Big Gulp from the gas station (don't worry, we didn't let him drink the whole thing).

The girls enjoyed their lunch too ... or at least the part that didn't get on the floor.

Adah LOVES apples.

They love playing on the choo choo, or the train, wait, I'm confused ...

Luke can't wait to join in the fun. Some day buddy ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes

Here are a few more pictures I thought I would share ...

Sam has a new found affinity for all things with wheels. This includes buses, trains and TRUCKS (this is in all caps because he insists on yelling, quite loudly, "TRUCK"! whenever we see a truck in the car). Here he is demonstrating the correct way to choo choo his train.

In this one he is actually making the choo choo sound for the train (as evidenced by his "choo choo face").

Luke has now discovered the exersaucer. He doesn't really like it as much as he likes watching the triplets play with all the exersaucer toys while he is sitting in it. I thought they had outgrown this thing, but I guess not.

One last one of Luke and Wilson chillin' ... Wilson apparently had a rough day.

Peyton's favorite meal right now is spaghetti. This is unfortunate for those who have to clean up after her.

I know Adah will kill me for this later in life, but that's what moms are for, right? Here she is in all her "hair raising" glory eating her snack. I guess I should add that she just woke up from her nap.

I also thought these were pretty neat. I was looking through old pictures the other day and came across these. These pictures were taken exactly a year ago. It is amazing how much they have all changed in a year.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gangsta Toddlahs

We attempted to get a shot of all 4 kids together this weekend. Here's what we got ...

Despite 16 attempts, I couldn't get one with them all smiling. This one at least has three of the four smiling. Notice Adah's fake "cheese" smile ... looks more like she's passing gas to me.

Here's Sam throwing up the gangsta signs at the end of the photo session ... they start 'em young here in the hood.

Warm Wipes

I will shamelessly admit that when the triplets were younger, we really only bathed them every three days. I can see the expression on your face right now as you are most likely disgusted by this. Babies really don't get that dirty. Sure they regularly spit up on themselves and sit in a couple of poopy diapers a day, but that's the purpose of the wonderful, all powerful, omnipotent (wait for it) .... Baby wipe. Oh yes, you thought they were just for cleaning up those nether regions, but baby wipes have many useful purposes. Many times I have used them in lieu of a bath. When you have a baby  who has spit up on himself for the ninth time that day, are you really going to take the time for a bath? Not unless you are crazy or bored. You just whip out the good old baby wipe and voila ... clean and fresh in no time! I have used them to clean windows, the floor, anything you can think of. I even use those unused tossed aside ones that have dried up as make-shift napkins or tissues.

Although I do love the baby wipe, I never did invest in the baby wipe warmer that all the sales people at Babies R Us insisted that I have. I just didn't see the point in warming up wipes for your baby. My first question was about the temperature on that thing. How would I know if it was too hot? I didn't want scald marks on the babies' backsides to be the way I found out. My kids already fall down and get multiple bumps and bruises the day before we go to the doctor's office, so I don't think a burned behind would help my cause in avoiding a visit from Child Services. And my second question about the wipe warmer was ... why? Why do they need a warm wipe? Sure, I'll bet it feels good, but I don't get a warm wipe when I have a hard afternoon on the toilet, do I? In my opinion, they had just better get used to it now. I could just see my kids protesting down the road while in the midst of potty training that the toilet paper wasn't warm enough or something like that. The way I figure it, if it was so great, they would have figured out an adult version and we'd all be walking around with warm behinds all the time.

While I'm thinking about it, here are some other things I was told I just HAD to register for when I was pregnant that ended up being totally superfluous:

Baby Backpack
You know what I'm talking about. This is one of those huge backpack things that you can strap to your back and the kid can ride in it while you're hiking, out for the day, etc. This thing is HUGE. I don't know how I could carry it and a baby and not fall over backwards. Plus, I have no idea where I would store it. Also, anyone who wants to hike with their baby strapped onto their back is certifiably crazy. Don't you want to enjoy the hike? The money you could use to pay for the babysitter while you hike would be much less expensive that all those bills you would have for the the chiropractor once you had taken a hike with this thing strapped to your back.

Baby Walker
This is one of those contraptions that you can sit your baby in once they can stand and then they can walk around the house in it because it's on wheels. Um ... that description alone should just make you cringe in horror right away. Who wants to give an 8 month old the freedom to go wherever they want in the house? This is in addition to the fact that I am positive that my toes would be crushed multiple times as those little wheels ran over my feet over and over again. No thanks. After deciding to turn this registry item down it took me a couple months before the nightmares of the baby in the walker careening down the stairs stopped.

Any item the baby won't need before he is a year old
I'm sorry, but I just felt bad about registering for things for my babies that they wouldn't be using in that first year. They want you to register for things like potties, utensils, and booster seats for when the baby is over 35 pounds. I just felt like that was asking too much to register for things that they wouldn't be using until years in the future. I mean, I might as well have had a category on my registry where you could contribute to the babies' college educations. Babies already need so much stuff to begin with, I couldn't begin to imagine where I would store all this additional stuff that they weren't going to use for a couple of years. I think this is all a ploy concocted by the Babies R Us empire. They get people to buy you a potty for the baby when he's born, the parents store it away, everyone forgets about it, and then two years later we're off to Babies R Us again to buy another potty. Those so-called "registry consultants" at Babies R Us are a lot smarter than I thought.

I'm sorry if anyone really loved their wipe warmer or was strong enough to tote their kid around in a backpack while hiking ... I just couldn't find the reasoning behind these items on my registry. I liked the simpler things ... like the baby wipe! Too bad no one gave me those as a shower gift. I'll just have to load up on my box of 1000 next time I head to Costco!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Halloween Spirit

Here's Luke getting in the Halloween spirit while showing off his sitting skills. There is nothing cuter than a baby's fat rolls ...

Consignment Love

As any mom of small children can attest, kids grow fast. And it doesn't help that they only make clothes for babies and toddlers that fit for only 3 month spans. As soon as you put a baby in an outfit, he has outgrown it. Needless to say, clothing all four of our kids drains the money from our checking account like sand through a sieve. A year or so ago, as I realized how quickly we were burning through the clothes for the triplets, I happened upon some frugal mom's best invention ever: The children's consignment sale/store.

Now I was already aware of consignment stores, but I had no idea there were ones that specialize in children's clothes. We have several here in town and I have found some good buys there. Who wants to pay $30 for each new pair of shoes for a CHILD who will outgrow them in 2-3 months?? We would be spending over $200+ every couple months on shoes if we did that. That, or I would be cutting holes in the toes of the shoes so that they would last longer. The open toe shoe is in this fall, right? The first time I walked into a kids' consignment store and perused the shoes, I could hear the chorus from Handel's Messiah ringing loudly in my years ... Hallelujah!! You mean I could find a pair of nice, barely worn shoes for under $10?!? This was crazy!! I found myself giddy with visions of my kids actually wearing more than one pair of shoes for each  2-3 month span. I scooped up my finds and checked out to the tune of $25 for three, count them, three, pairs of new looking shoes.

Of course, this only piqued my interest in the consignment world. As I talked with other moms, I found out that there were several city-wide sales throughout the year that sold consigned children's clothing. My first consignment sale experience was definitely one to behold. The sale opened at 10am and I thought I was getting there in plenty of time when I drove up at 9:45. The 15 minutes it took me to find a parking space definitely negated that theory. Once I finally parked and hiked to the entrance, all I could see was a sea of women, armed with empty laundry baskets and laundry bags, lined up around the building. Surely ALL these women couldn't be waiting to get into this sale. Maybe a Tide convention was going on? I really couldn't think of another explanation for the baskets ... so I simply proceeded to walk to the entrance. I didn't get more that 3 steps before a woman at the front of the line sitting in her fold out camping chair with a grande latte from Starbucks barked at me that this was the FRONT of the line and I needed to go to the end since I had just arrived. A line?!? Are you serious?? So these people WERE waiting for the sale. I smiled politely and headed to the back of the line.

Once they opened the doors and we filed in, I cannot fully convey to you the scene that unfolded before me. Women were running, no, sprinting, to racks of clothes and jockeying for position. Those who were brave enough to look through the lower racks of clothes were getting stepped on and pushed over by those standing over and behind them. I now saw the purpose of the laundry baskets. They were quickly being filled with piles and piles of clothes. Women with more than one child were dashing from the boys' section to the girls' section to make sure they collected an array of styles and sizes. As I was standing there with my mouth open, I almost got run over by two women "testing" the jogging strollers for sale. I now understood why the flier for the sale had said that no children under 10 would be allowed in on the first day ... they would have been crushed. This was madness, pure madness. So what did I do? Well, I did what any sensible pregnant mom of triplets on a tight budget would have done - I jumped right in. Sure I came out of there with a ripped skirt hem and a slightly crushed toe, but it was worth it! Since then, I have become a seasoned champion of the consignment sale circuit. I've learned a few tricks of the trade that ensure my safety and I show up with my laundry basket ready to go. I dive right in there with that pack of wolves and I usually come up with something to show for it. My kids have some great clothes and shoes at a fraction of the price. Plus, I've made some good money consigning some of my own kids' clothes. So thanks to the mom/animal that invented the kids' consignment sale/store ... I couldn't do it without her!!!