Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks

Some Thanksgiving highlights ...

We spent the week at Nonni and Grandad's house and we left without breaking anything valuable! Last time we were there Sam broke his Great great grandmother's antique teacup. So nothing shattered means a successful trip this time!

The Cliffords made the majority of Thanksgiving dinner this year, highlighted by Dad's smoked turkey. It was delicious! Here's the Thanksgiving spread minutes before it was dismantled.

Here's my plate. Doesn't it look like it should be in some sort of advertisement? More evidence that I missed my calling as a food stylist (yes, it is a real profession).

The kids slept through Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, but they got plenty of leftovers for dinner that night. Their favorites were the "chicken" (which was actually the turkey, but whatever will make them eat it) and the cranberries. Kind of sad that their favorite food was the one that came straight out of the can. Luke joined us at the end of the meal and munched on a spoon to pretend like he took part in the meal.

Adah enjoyed meeting Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim ... annual staples at the Hassel Thanksgiving table.

Adah also enjoyed some computer time. Kids are getting pretty tech savy, right? Notice how she also brought along her cup o'joe to sip on while surfing the Cyber Monday sale previews.

Peyton was stunning in this year's hot new trend ... pockets!

Sam snuck off for a few minutes and we found him hiding behind the chair partaking in his favorite activity. All he needs is a tag. If you look closely, you can see he's using the tag on Peyton's nebulizer. This is getting a little out of hand ...

Nonni pulled out the old pictures of me and we did some comparisons with Adah. When we asked Sam and Peyton who it was in the picture, they both said Adah! (though they probably would have said any blond haired child was Adah).

We had some great weather, nice and cool, and spent some time outside relaxing and playing.

Overall,  it was a great Thanksgiving! We are so thankful we got to spend it with my family, but we missed seeing Matt's family too. We have a busy busy month coming up with Matt's graduation, the triplets' birthday, Christmas, and the MOVE!! It will all be here before we know it!

Monday, November 23, 2009


A few more recent pictures to share ...

Helping brother eat his bottle.

"Swing me, Mommy!"

Hangin' around.

Ta Da!

Checking out the view.

Don't I look just like Daddy? The ladies better watch out!

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I've always considered myself a pretty healthy person. I was never really sick growing up and probably only missed a day or two of work in my life due to actual sickness (I will admit that there were some feigned "sick days" that just happened to coincide with a vacation or a long weekend, but we can talk about that some other time).  So I just really found it hard to believe that the average child gets 8-10 colds a year. That HAD to be a misprint. I was sure this average was just ratcheted up by all the hypochondriac mothers out there who said their child was sick if he sneezed once or was running a "fever" of 98.7 degrees. Now, after almost 2 years, I can say that yes, the statistic is true. I never knew so much snot, mucus, and bodily fluids could fill my life on an annual basis, but they do.

Our whole family was sick (minus Matt - how did he get so lucky?) this past week. Our kids really do get about a cold a month. When they were very young, they never got sick. Of course this was mostly due to the fact that we didn't go ANYWHERE. It was too hard to take them all out and we were advised to keep them away from crowds until they were 5 months old. This is the bad part about having a child, much less preemie multiples, born during flu season. So even though I was going stir crazy those 5 months, I at least felt like a good mom because MY kids weren't getting the requisite amount of colds a year. Way to go me (or so I thought).

The first sickness the triplets actually got wasn't even the common cold, it was a stomach virus. Let me tell you what a joy that was. Four days of crying babies who threw up after every bottle they ate didn't exactly fit the definition of fun in my book. After a day of constantly cleaning carpets, our entire house was covered with towels so that when the babies upchucked their meal, it had somewhere to go. It literally looked like each baby had a landing strip of towels in front of him/her while we were sitting them up to burp. Projectile vomit can really go a far distance and we needed a landing strip to catch it all. I still have visions of my husband feeding our daughter and periodically running to the kitchen so she could throw up on the tile. Then he would come back and feed her some more until she needed to relive herself on the kitchen floor again. His logic was that it was easier to clean the tile instead of towels or carpets. When you are inundated with that much throw up in a short time, you just go for whatever is the easiest to clean. By the end of the week we were doing about 4 loads of laundry a day and just resorted to leaving the babies in their diapers all day because it was easier than changing their outfits every hour.

But back to our friend, Mr. 8-10 Times a Year Common Cold. It's worse when I have a cold at the same time as the kids because who feels like wiping snotty noses when your nose is red and raw from all the wiping yourself? However, this is when our case of Kleenex from Costco really comes in handy. We must have ripped through a box of tissues a day this week and depleted our entire supply without batting an eye. There are other disadvantages/benefits to having a cold yourself while your kids are sick. One disadvantage if that you cannot smell your food. I think the last four dinners I have eaten have all tasted the same, just had different textures. A benefit to this though is that I cannot smell any poopy diapers. It's nice to not smell poop for a week! But this also means that my kids can sometimes go a couple hours until I realize that they need to be changed ... oops! At least they are getting better at telling me they need to be changed, but we have definitely had some diaper rash this week.

Peyton is the only one who had to go to the doctor because she took a little longer to recover. Turns out she had ear infections and needed to use a nebulizer due to a lot of wheezing. Sadly, my children already hate the doctor. She cried when we walked back to the examining room and when the doctor walked in the room. At one point he said, "Is she crying because of me?". Um, what do you think Mr. M.D? No, I'm sure she's not crying at you, the man who has stuck her 27 times with needles in her short little life, I'm sure that's not it! Of course she is crying at you! Are you sure you are a real pediatrician? They must have taught you in Pediatrician 101 that if you stick a child with a needle enough times, she WILL cry upon seeing you. I think this guy needed some more training.

Here's the dreaded nebulizer. I think it's funny how they try to make it all cutesy to look like an elephant. Do they really think that will make a kid want to wear this thing? Personally, I think it would freak a child out more to think there was an elephant sitting on her face instead of just a plastic mask. But, I guess that's why I don't work for the nebulizer design team.

But, overall, we are on the mend. We are always a little hesitant about going out again once everyone is well because it would be our worst nightmare to have everyone get sick all over again a few days later. So we will spend our few days in captivity until we go just crazy enough that we decide we HAVE to get out of here and do something. And then, once the visions of rivers of snot have faded from my memory, someone will start sneezing and the cycle is bound to start all over again. I can only hope that next sickness just requires some tissues and not runways of towels ... but I have a load of freshly laundered "landing strips" ready to go just in case.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brotherly Love and Tea Parties

Here are a few more recent pictures. Sam is really into "holding" his brother right now, so of course I wanted to take a picture to document the time when he actually wants to be affectionate towards one of his siblings (I know this won't last). Unfortunately, the only one I managed to snap has Sam looking like he's about to choke Luke and Luke with a very "worried that I'm about to be strangled" look upon his face. Oh well, I tried.

Luke reached some big milestones last week. He turned 6 months old and can now sit by himself! Here he is enjoying a story. Books are so much more fun when you can actually SEE the pictures.

Sam is now really into hats and his Nike wristbands (which are more like full arm bands for him because his wrists are too small). He wouldn't wear them when we bought them a couple weeks ago for his Halloween costume, but now he won't take them off. He definitely wore one to the store the other day as well. That's ok though ... I can accommodate a wristband fetish because they're pretty cheap. This picture also makes me sad because he looks like a little boy and not a baby anymore.

The girls' new favorite past time is sitting at the dining room table and drinking their juice. I think they are preparing for future tea parties. We'll just stick with the plastic cups for now and hold off on the breakables for a few more (or 15) years.

Here's Dame Adah having a spot of tea.

And here's Countess Peyton having some tea with her new best friend (at least for the day), the Snowman. Yes, I know it's a Christmas gift tag snowman, but remember that this girl lives in Florida and has never seen snow so don't spoil her moment here.

And in other breaking news ... the Cliffords are moving to North Carolina! We are so excited! Dad got a new job at Wake Forest University and we will be moving to Winston-Salem in January. We're sad to leave Jacksonville and my family, but happy that we will be near Matt's family in Charlotte. So bring on the boxes and the moving van because we're ready. North Carolina, here we come!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tickle Monster

We had a visit from the tickle monster this week and he documented his ambush with photos. The kids are hoping he returns soon ...

We hope everyone is having a great week! Look for some exciting news from the Clifford PALS in the very near future!

Monday, November 9, 2009

High Chairs and Quesadillas

Here's Luke trying out his high chair. This is really as far as we have gotten so far due to the fears I alluded to in my previous post.

This is Daddy's Sunday night chore. Can you tell our kids love cheese quesadillas? This is just a week's worth of lunches.

Meal Time

I never knew how involved feeding your children could be. I guess it's not something you think about when planning to have a baby. It's not too hard to feed myself, so how hard can it be to feed a baby, right? Wrong, dead wrong. Feeding my children is one of the most time-consuming and frustrating things I do with my day. Some days I'd rather change a round of dirty diapers, twice, than feed my kids. Too bad they can't be born with appetites and eating skills like adults because it would sure make my life much easier.

Our first issues with feeding the triplets began when we brought them home from the hospital. I know what you're thinking ... How hard can it be to feed a newborn when they only drink milk? That is exactly what I thought when I was still a young and naive new mom. Feeding the babies breast milk wasn't that hard, the challenge came when we switched to formula. Our three kids downed a can of formula a day (yes, a day) once they were several months old. Three babies times four feedings a day meant we had to make 12 bottles a day. If you have ever had to painstakingly measure out formula for a baby, you know how annoying making a bottle can be. Much less making 12 bottles while you have three screaming, hungry babies. Right around this time is when we made one of our most important discoveries - The Pampered Chef Family-Size Quick-Stir Pitcher.

I can see the quizzical look on your face, so I will explain. This pitcher was a God-send. Basically, it allows you to mix up your beverage of choice while it is in the pitcher with this plunger-type thing that is part of the lid. Pure genius. I know those smart people at Pampered Chef designed it for things like tea and lemonade, but it was a perfect candidate to fill the role of formula-mixer in our house. No more hours of measuring out scoop upon scoop of formula ... good ole Mr. Quick-Stir did it for us in a matter or seconds! Just pour in the water, dump in the can and watch him work!

Baby food was the next step on the "food chain" (sorry, I had to say it) for us and that was actually the easiest of the food stages. Everything came in nice little jars and there was little to no preparation. All my friends who had babies bragged to me all the time about how their child ate ALL the different kinds of baby food they gave them - green beans, peas, spinach, you name it, their kids ate it. These were the same moms who MADE all their child's baby food as well. Excuse me? Isn't that what the convenient jars of purees with the smiling baby's face on them at the grocery store are for? I have nothing against making your own baby food, but I definitely didn't have time to do that for three at once. I filled my cart with the jars, thank you very much. Of course MY kids didn't want to eat all the nice, healthy green vegetables. This is the look I usually got when serving a spoonful of green veggies ...

No, we only liked the orange veggies. And someone forgot to tell me that when you feed your child a lot of orange veggies, they end up with orange noses! I am not kidding. For about 4-6 months all of the triplets had an orange tint to their noses in any picture I took. When people commented on the pictures, I just pawned it off on something like "bad lighting" or "flash issues." I thought it would be inappropriate to say, "Well, yes, Sam has an orange nose because I fed him 8 jars of carrots yesterday since that is all he will eat."

After baby food, we finally hit real food! Now I was excited! I had visions of all of us sitting down to the table together and eating a family meal. I now now I was living in la la land. We have still yet to sit down and all eat at the same time and I am pretty sure I can count on one hand the amount of times my husband and I have eaten the same meal on the same night as our kids. It is unbelievable how picky kids can be about food preparation. One of my girls refuses to eat a tater tot unless it is sliced in half. Seriously, a tater tot - the toddler's best friend when it comes to food - and she won't go near it unless it's cut in two. I have learned not to question the reasons and just comply. Cutting up a few tater tots is a small penalty to pay in order to prevent the wrath she would rain down if presented with - gasp - whole tots! My son will not eat anything unless it has been dipped into something else first. The funny thing is that what the dip is does not matter in the least. We have dipped carrots into applesauce, hamburger into yogurt ... you name it, we've dipped it. I have no idea what inspired our "Little Dipper" to adopt this fetish. I just know that when I hear the chorus of "dip, dip dip", then I need to come running with some type of dipping sauce in hand.

The one thing I have learned from feeding my kids is that its not as easy as it looks. If I had to do it all over again, I would wait as long as possible to introduce them to real food and all the drama that comes along with it! I am currently savoring the time with my youngest who is still only on the bottle. He needs to start baby food soon and I have had several nightmares about his impending orange nose and the green bean puree being spewed back onto my shirt. Yes, I am savoring each time he drinks a bottle because I know once the spoon goes into his mouth, it's all downhill from there.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat

We had a great Halloween this year! It was 88 degrees and felt nothing like fall, but we've gotten accustomed to that here in Florida. We started the day off with pumpkin carving with Dad. Everyone had fun getting their hands dirty and apparently we didn't learn much from our pumpkin tasting experiment at the pumpkin patch as Adah and Peyton both decided to sample the pumpkin seeds and strings of goo (I'm not sure what else to call this stuff).

Adah posing with the finished product. Apparently she thought something about this was extremely funny. I didn't get the joke.

Luke with the finished product. He was just happy being outside and watching. Though I do think he would have enjoyed getting all sticky and "gwoss", as Peyton said.

Later that night (after the FL/GA game, of course), we went trick or treating. We had the perfect costumes this year being that we went out to trick or treat on the heels of a Gator victory! Sorry Uncle John.

Here is Tim Tebow in all his glory. He's signaling for one of the 4 TDs he scored against Georgia. Can you believe this kid is is 6-3 and weighs 245 lbs?? These pictures are deceiving.

Adah loves the Gator on her outfit.

Here's everyone before the Halloween party and parade at school.

Daddy with Peyton and Sam at the Halloween carnival. Notice how man enough Tim Tebow is to carry around a heart wand at the carnival. Only a real man can do that and not feel ashamed.

And here's Luke in his lobster costume. I know it doesn't really go with the cheerleaders and Tim Tebow, but this costume was too cute to pass up. Someone suggested I walk around with him in a big stock pot as a prop. At first I thought it was cute, but then I came to my senses and concluded it would be 1) impossible for me to carry him for more than 10 seconds considering his weight plus that of the stock pot, and 2) a little creepy because I would be insinuating that I wanted to boil my baby. So we went with the good old stroller instead.

Luke wasn't a fan of his lobster antennae things, so here he is pleading with me to take him out of his costume NOW!

We made it to about 10 houses to trick or treat and everyone did great. They learned how to say, "trick or treat", and (most of the time) say thank you for all the candy. Adah did try and enter a couple homes when they opened the door, but other than that we had a successful night. Now it's up to Mom and Dad (I mean, Peyton Adah and Sam) to eat all that Halloween candy!