Thursday, April 29, 2010

Favorite Photos

It's been a long week for all of us this week. We've had some long nights of swing set assembly (not by me, thankfully, except for the occasional "beam hold"), a healthy dose of the terrible twos, and just for fun we decided to throw in an all day shopping trip to High Point, the furniture mecca of the world. Needless to say, we are pooped and looking forward to a somewhat low key weekend. But, not to disappoint my family members that constantly request pictures of the kids, I thought I would include some of my most favorite photos from the last couple of years. I know a lot of these have already been up here, but I wanted to revisit them all in one post. Happy Reminiscing!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bad Hair Days

Have you ever just had one of those bad hair days? You know, the humidity is high, you go outside with damp hair and you end up looking like you got a little too close to an electrical outlet? Luckily, I don't have to worry much about that. Oh, I have my bad hair days, but my hair is so stick straight it doesn't matter how much moisture is in the air - there is never going to be any added volume. Frizz maybe, but no volume.

Well, I ended up with three kids with three very different hair types (the jury is still out on the youngest one's hair since he doesn't have much yet!). Adah got the curly, prone-to-frizz hair, Peyton got the super straight fine hair, and Sam got the thick silky hair (way to waste it on the boy, right?). Well, having the three of them has taught me that you can have bad hair days regardless of hair type. Here are a few god examples.

The first couple pictures are from the triplets younger days. We were definitely the bald brigade for a while (and poor Adah was a member for eons), but when they eventually started to sprout some hair they definitely had some "off" hair days. Lots of times they got their bad hair after meals or snacks. This was mostly due to more food getting into their hair instead of in their mouths. Who knew that ketchup served as a totally adequate hair gel? I'm thinking of marketing it.

Naps are also a frequent culprit when instigating bad baby hair. Here are a few prime examples.

As with all hair, serious disruptions can happen when you add water.

Or air ...

And who can forget the mullet Sam was trying to grow a few months ago. I figured something needed to be done when it started curling back under his ears.

As I said before, Adah was slow to grow the hair, which is why there are fewer bad hair pictures for her. Her hair is really growing now and I should probably take a few pictures in the mornings just to document the frizziness that accompanies the a.m. hours. In the meantime, here's a  comparable picture to give you a basic idea of her morning "do."

Hope you are all enjoying a good hair day today!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dog Days

I'm sitting here trying to post something fun and interesting and I started thinking about our first child. You mean you didn't know about our very FIRST child? The one before the triplets, before the mayhem, before the $120 in diapers a month? Coincidentally, he's staring at me right now from his favorite chair with a look that says, "I could really go for some ____ (insert any edible food name here)." Yes, it's Wilson. In case you missed it, Wilson is our almost 6 year old golden retriever and the oldest of the Clifford children. He's kind of been pushed down a few rungs on the ladder over the last few years and I thought he deserved some time in the spotlight.

Simply put, Wilson is the best dog EVER. And I swear I'm not just saying that because he's mine. He really is the best. Think the "Marley and Me" type of man-dog camaraderie minus all the bedlam caused by a 100 pound over exuberant dog. He has the best temperament in the world (the kids pull his hair, ride him, and he just takes it), he's the perfect size (he's a small retriever at about 60 pounds), and he is a living, breathing food vacuum cleaner, which is perfect for a family with 4 kids running around. He does have a slight barking problem (being that he does a bit too much of it for my taste), but we'll just write it off as being protective.

Wilson was our first big purchase once we were married in May of 2004. In fact, I vividly remember discussing the what, where, and how of when we would get our puppy while we were on our honeymoon! We knew Wilson was the one for us as soon as we saw him at the breeder's home. How can anyone resist a puppy this cute?

Wilson was our baby for 3 and a half years and we definitely treated him like a spoiled only child. He went with us everywhere and even got his own wardrobe on occasion.

Yes, Wilson definitely lived in the lap of luxury for those short 3.5 years (or 24.5 dog years if you're counting). Days at the pool ...

Naps on the couch ...

And basically being the center of our attention. Then, we rocked his world when we brought 3 babies home and nothing was ever the same for him. Sure we still loved him, but all of a sudden there weren't enough hours in the days to go swimming, throw the ball AND go for a ride in the car. We just didn't have the time. I think Wilson was sad, but he understood. He was pretty tired himself from getting up to feed babies at all hours of the night too (yes, he did get up with us every time we had to feed the babies at night). Before I knew it, I started to notice that he was graying in the face. Poor Wilson, what had we done to him?

But as I thought about it, I know that he wouldn't trade it for anything. Sure we don't have quite as much time to shower uninhibited affection on him every hour of the day, but I think that he knows he is loved by all of us. He still loves to curl up beside us on the couch and just snuggle. And every night he makes sure to warm the bed up for us before we come up the stairs to bed.

In a way, Wilson is a marker for us to see how far we have come in our marriage. He is what we started with when we were just beginning this journey. And although we have taken some big twists and bends in the road on our way to where we are now, Wilson has stuck with us the whole way. He reminds me that we can do anything together as a family and no matter how much things change, I know he will still love us ... no matter what. Not that it's going to happen anytime soon (I'm hoping never), but I'm really going to have a hard time when Wilson is gone. It will be like a part of my life - the beginning of my life as a wife and mother - will have been taken away from me. But, for now, I know Wilson will always be there to greet me with a kiss and a face that you can't resist petting.

We love you Willie! And I promise not to do anything like this to you ever again (at least not until next Christmas) ...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Roll in the Hay

Look who found out he likes toddler beds too ...

Whenever I can't locate Mr. Luke the last couple of days, I can usually find him rolling around in one of the triplets' beds. I know Peyton would not be too happy if she came home from preschool to find this in her bed ...

Especially since he is loving on Peyton's one and only Wonkie while lounging on her pillow. If he hadn't already taken about 257 tumbles out of the toddler beds already, I would consider letting him sleep in one since he loves it so much. At least it provides him hours of entertainment at a cheap price of a few bumps and bruises.

So I spoke too soon about the kids not getting out of bed. I KNEW I was jinxing myself by saying something. They have now taking to popping in and out of them regularly. They still don't really get out once they wake up (just before they fall asleep), so I think I like the current problem as opposed to them getting out of bed after waking and coming to our room in the wee hours of the morning. Oh well, I knew I was living a pipe dream. There are many worse troubles we could have, so I'll be happy that bed patrol is the worst of them at this time in our lives!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Toddler Speak

I had the funniest and cutest conversation with Sam and Peyton today. These are the kind of things you remember way down the road when they're a bunch of angsty teenagers I suppose. And although relaying a conversation in a blog doesn't nearly give it its due justice, I thought I would tell it anyway.

I was changing Peyton's diaper (something we are hoping to rid her of in the very near future!) on the changing table. As those of you who know her are aware, she will often talk aimlessly to no one in particular at all times of the day. Well, today she was actually speaking to me.

Peyton:  "Mommy, I'm not a baby."

Me:  "I know that, you're a big girl now."

Peyton (pausing to think first):  "But I'm still YOUR baby."

Be still my heart. The cuteness was pervasive at this point.

Me:  "You're right. You're still my baby."

Sam (waiting beside me for his changing):  "I'm a Santa baby."
(We must have played that song too much this past Christmas - oops.)

Just thought I would share. We are all finally well again after a stomach virus invaded the house last week as well. What a relief. Does anyone know how to remove the smell of regurgitated lunch from a car seat? We have done everything except run the seat through a car wash and the smell still lingers, ew. Seriously, let me know if you have any solutions.

We also finally switched to toddler beds (we have the convertible cribs) this week. I had heard horror stories about this and wasn't sure if I was ready for it. The kids were happy in their cribs, but we need to have them learn to sleep in regular beds for when we go on vacations this summer. Pack and plays are no longer an option since they officially cannot physically fit in them anymore. We made a big deal about their big boy/girl beds (Sam still calls his a big girl bed ... poor guy still has trouble realizing he's not "one of the girls") and told them that they had to stay in bed until Mommy and Daddy came to get them. That was it. No rewards, no threats, nothing ... and it worked!! They have not gotten out of bed once during bedtime or naps and we can hear them awake in there for a while before we go to get them out. If it's possible, I actually think they fall asleep faster than they did when they were confined in the crib! All I can say is Hallelujah! Next up, potty training. I have a feeling that frontier may be a bit more daunting than this...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Transponster

When I got pregnant with the triplets, hundreds of thoughts and questions ran through my mind. Would they be healthy? Could I carry 3 babies at one time? What are the risks? But after the initial dust cloud had cleared, I was faced with another totally different question - Who would take care of these babies? (Duh, I know my husband and I would, but I meant who would take care of them while we worked!) At the time I, like most married and childless women, worked a full time job. I enjoyed my job and what it entailed. In addition, I had been lucky enough to have parents that could afford to send me to great high schools and colleges and I had taken advantage of that luxury. I had then attended graduate school (kind of by accident) and earned yet another degree. Surely I couldn't "waste" all the time, energy and money spent on those degrees in order to ultimately become a stay at home mom, could I? So there I sat, pregnant with triplets and wondering what I should do about this next step in my life.

When it came down to it, the decision really wasn't too hard. Actually, having triplets made it a WAY easier decision that if I had just had one baby. Do you know how much a good daycare or in-home nanny costs? Multiply that by three and that's what we were talking about. It wasn't like I was bringing home six figures at my current job, so the astronomical price of three kids in day care quickly trumped the small benefit my salary would give us if I continued to work. Also, deep down, what mom doesn't want to stay home and raise her kids? Don't get me wrong, it's not for everyone, but I think every mom wants to be there for every moment of their children's lives to help teach and guide them along the way. They change, learn, and grow SO much those first few years, and I did want to be as much a part of that growing and learning as I possibly could.

So the decision was made, I would stay home with the trips. When people found out I would stay at home, most were supportive and gave me words of encouragement. Well, encouragement may be a slight euphemism for statements such as, "Well, better you than me", or "Good luck with that." Thanks guys, way to lift my spirits. But seriously, most people assumed I would stay home so it wasn't a big deal. I still had a nagging pang of guilt in my side about it though (or was that Sam kicking me for the 47th time?) and I carried that with me all through the pregnancy. Once the babies were born, it was a whirlwind for the next few months. They were in the NICU for a month and my husband continued to work during that time so he could use his days off for when the babies came home. Once they came home, the first couple months were just a blur of feedings, diapers, and laundry that my husband and I tackled together with lots of help from friends and family. But I do distinctly remember the day when he finally went back to work full-time and my new "job" began.

At first, I still felt really guilty. My husband had to go to work and then come home and essentially "work" all night as we took care of three babies who still didn't sleep through the night. I, on the other hand, got to stay home in my pajamas all day and play with the babies. But, as time wore on, I really began to see that this staying home business was just as much of a job as I had ever had. I did tend to wear my pajamas most of the day, but it really wasn't worth changing them when I woke up because chances were that someone would spit up on me within the first hour and there would go my outfit. I told myself I was practicing laundry conservation at its finest. When you do a couple of loads of laundry a day, you'll make sure something is good and dirty before you throw it in the hamper. I became the master of the sniff test to make sure something was truly dirty before giving it up to the washing machine. I also learned that being a stay at home mom is never ending. There is never the 15 minute break or lunch break that you get at the 9 to 5 job. There is never the occasional afternoon without meetings where you get a chance to catch up on email or chat with your co-workers. My co-workers now consisted of three helpless little beings who expected me to solve all their problems even though I had no idea what they wanted. My time to breathe was during the afternoon nap and most of that time I just spent catching up on the day's chores anyway. Not much of a break. What I'm saying is that the transition was HARD and very difficult to get used to. I remember craving adult human interaction to break up the baby-ness of my days. I think it was hard at the beginning because I could not get out with my babies for the longest time. They were preemies born during flu season and it's just plain hard to try and take three babies out of the house on your own. Thank goodness for family that helped me through those times and made me get out with the kids as much as we possibly could.

Fast forward 2 years and one more baby later and I am still a stay at home mom who is happy to say she is still sane. I can truly say that my job is the most difficult one that I have ever had. I know other stay at home moms can attest to this. We never get a day off, there are no sick days, and sometimes the week days seem to blend seamlessly into the weekends because we work 7 days a week people! I clean up vomit, make meals, and pick up countless amounts of toys all with the theme from the Wiggles Show endlessly playing in my head. After 2 years, things are manageable because I am a schedule Nazi and I have made my kids adhere to one. At this point in my life my only marketable skills are my ability to referee fights between 2 year olds who don't understand sharing and being able to change 4 diapers in 2.17 minutes. I am hoping that if I go back to work once my kids are in school that my potential employers will look over the slight (ahem) "gap" in my resume. This is actually my biggest fear of choosing to stay home; that I will have a fairly impossible time trying to break back into the workforce if and when I decide to return to work.

Please understand I am not trying to come across as a complainer, I just want to explain myself and what I do. It's hard to explain to anyone who has never done it. If there are any Friends worshipers out there, it's kind of like having Chandler's job. If you remember, not one of his friends is ever able to identify exactly what he does for a living. In fact, when asked to name his job during The Game (Season 4, The One With The Embryos - I'm a dork, I know), Rachel, clearly flustered, blurts out that Chandler is a "Transponster!" To which Monica replies, "That's not even a word!" That's what I am folks, a Transponster. You kind of have a general idea about what I do, but when it comes down to it ... You. Have. No. Idea. Staying home is not for the faint of heart, so choose carefully. Some people are not made to do it while others seem to flourish in the role. I think I'm somewhere in between and I'm still trying to figure it out. But, in the end, my hope is that my kids will remember me being with them while they were growing up. That I was the one to kiss every boo boo and receive every hug. That I was always there for them when they called for me. That I loved them so much that I stuck with them through everything that happened in their little lives. And I know that one day I will look back on this decision I made to stay home and I will KNOW that it's the best decision I've ever made.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Break

We had a wonderful time in Florida last week for spring break. And while the trip down wasn't so lovely (think 12am, children not sleeping, the endless road work in Georgia ... you get the idea), the weather decided to cooperate with our visit and we enjoyed the outdoors. Ice cream, sandy toes, and swing sets all took center stage this past week, and we definitely took advantage of all Florida has to offer before the endless months of humidity hit.

We were so excited to finally get in town, put on our shades and shorts, and makes some funny faces of course!

We sunk our toes into the sand and everyone had a blast building sand castles. We didn't even care that we couldn't go in the water yet!

We got ready for the Easter Bunny by dyeing some eggs. Adah, the man child (or should it be wo-man child?), did manage to crush one of the hard boiled eggs in her fist, but we still had plenty left to decorate. We were able to finish without toppling over one of the cups filled with dye, so we declared it a success. Less mess equals a more happy Mommy!

And, of course, we had to end every night with ice cream. What better way to end the day?

Ice cream ecstasy or brain freeze? You be the judge.

Overall, what a great trip. We loved spending time with family and getting away from it all. Contrary to Luke's actions in this picture, we did not want to leave.

The trip back home was MUCH better (thanks Dora) and we are back to the grind this week. We were so thankful we got to make some sweet memories and we can't wait to head back this summer for some more fun in the sun!