Sunday, June 30, 2013

More pics for Jessica & Marty...

Two of our kiddos' most adoring (*read demanding) fans have requested additional ultrasound pictures from Friday.  Now, like Michelle said and as you could see in the picture in the post on Friday, we did get A LOT of pictures, BUT the vast majority were duplicates because she decided to print duplicates of the three profile shots for us to share with our parents that all say "our grandchild."  So, there really aren't that many more pics that we didn't post.  But because we love all our blog readers and appreciate your comments, feedback, and requests we will go ahead and share the others. =)  Here you go Aunties Jess and Marty (and all you other adoring fans)...

Pretty much the only way to get all 3 in one shot now...Baby A's butt & the girls' heads...lovely huh? =)
Okay, I admit, I thought this shot was pretty funny!  It also takes some serious visuospatial skills to figure out how she even got this shot!  Can you do it? Baby A is transverse with his head to Michelle's left side, Baby B is head down, and Baby C is breech. 

Baby A looks ready for a fist bump

Baby C lifting her chin for a clear profile shot
looks like Baby B lifting her chin up to get a good whiff of the placenta

Baby B's foot/toes
3D image of Baby B (the ultrasound tech tried to get 3D/4D pics of each baby, but only Baby B's semi-resembled a baby.  The other two look like aliens because other body parts or the cord was obscuring their faces so you'll just have to wait for 3D pics of A & C.  If you squint your eyes when you look at this Baby B looks like she might be pretty darn cute. =)

I don't know why some of the pictures look like they are in sepia and others look black and white.  It must be something I'm doing with the camera when I take pictures of the pictures.  Oh well, you get the idea!  Okay, just finished an online training for work so it's time for bed! Have I mentioned how much I love love love our new bedroom!  Oh, we put artwork on the walls today!  Here are a couple pics!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today's big nesting project!

Today we took on quite a major nesting project!  We painted the bedroom today AND put together our new bedframe that's been sitting in the living room for weeks!  We'll have to take pictures during the day and once we get artwork up on the walls, but you can get an idea of the transformation.  No more border, no more random kiddo drawings on the walls, and no more bed on the floor! =)  Our room is starting to look less like a college student's room and more like a grown-up room. It's going to make it so much easier for Michelle to get in and out of bed.  The only potential problem is that now when she needs change pillow configurations in the middle of the night she won't be able to reach the pillows as we may need to figure out a system for that!  The room looks a little smaller with the bedframe, but I think there will still be room for a pack-n-play and rocking bassinet we have if we want the babies in our room initially so that's good.  We're pretty exhausted and ready for bed! And i can't wait to enjoy our new bedroom tonight!

before #1
before #2
after #1
after #2
after #3
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Friday, June 28, 2013

20 week 2 day ultrasound!

Well, this is Michelle, posting in the blog for the first time while Mari does other productive things that I'm too tired to help with!

Today was the big ultrasound day...the anatomy scan.  We'd had a little taste of how long it would take at our 16 week u/s, but this one was longer, about 2 hrs. They checked all the organs and checked and measured all the bones on all three of our little peanuts.  They continue to have similar overall size (estimates are 14 oz, 13 oz, and 14 oz) but very different measurements for each individual part!  Those weight estimates are in order, from baby A to baby C, so as you can see baby C gone from being the tiniest to the biggest (she beats her brother by 3 grams)!

After our long ultrasound, we had a quick meeting with the Dr. and then met with the nurse who's doing an abbreviated personal childbirth class with us.  Today we basically just chit chatted about pregnancy symptoms and such and then she took us on a tour to labor & delivery and to the cafeteria, which she claims actually has good food!  Labor & delivery was about what I would expect, but the rooms are spacious enough and seem nice...some have jacuzzi tubs, although if I go in for just a scheduled c-section, I probably won't get to enjoy that!

After our 24 wk appointment, we'll get a "tour" of the NICU so that we really have the full lay of the land.

And now...the pictures :)

The ultrasound lady proclaimed herself to be "trigger happy"
with the print button...that's a LOT of pictures!

The foot shot is pretty cute...not sure what else is in this pic!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

20 weeks!!!

Well, if these babies would actually make it til their super cool due date of 11-12-13 then we'd be halfway there!  As it is, we're more than halfway, but we're hoping not toooooo much more!  As you can see in these pics, the belly is getting bigger and bigger every day it seems.  Hopefully that means those babies are getting HUGE!  This is a big blog week because I've already posted two little ones and now you get belly pics and in two days we all get to see another round of ultrasound pictures!  We can't wait to see our little ones again this week!  So far this pregnancy is going very well and Michelle is, for the most part, rocking being a big pregnant lady. We're both a little surprised that no strangers have asked her when she's due yet, because we feel like she looks at least 7 months pregnant.  Without further delay, here's the 20 week belly pic with the 18 week for comparison.  And just for fun, the four week photo!  (Michelle really likes to look at this one and reminisce about "the good old days" when she was "skinny and cute" even though at the time she never thought she was skinny!)

18 weeks
20 weeks

4 weeks

painting baby room
While Michelle is busy eating and growing babies, I've been busy with lots of house projects both inside and outside.  These few pics barely skim the surface of my projects so we'll have to take more pics soon.  I got over my nerves and finally figured out the massive landscaper style lawn mower and mowed the whole lawn in less than an hour.  Once I got over being scared it was actually pretty fun (though it is old and the seat isn't too comfy!)  As far as indoor projects I've painted the baby room and stripped an awful floral border and one floral wall in our bedroom and am prepping it to paint, hopefully this weekend.  I've also been working on actually putting things on those lovely shelves in the living room and third bedroom and getting more artwork up on the walls and off the window seat!
new flower pot for the patio
I've also been doing a lot of gardening.  The woman who owns this house is in her late 70s or maybe 80s and has Parkinsons (I think) and she and her late husband really put a lot of time and energy into creating some nice landscaping around the house and yard.  Unfortunately, the last tenants really didn't do any gardening at all so it was horribly overgrown and a bit of a mess.  One Friday evening while I was working on cleaning up the basement Michelle came down and told me that Mary (the owner) was on the phone and wondering if I was planning to do any gardening this weekend because she would come help.  Once I said yes she then told us she would need a ride so the next day we went to pick her up from her retirement community and Mary and I spent a good couple hours weeding the garden closest to the dining room.  We didn't talk a lot, but I'll tell you what, that Mary is a damn good weeder! 
notice my terrified look!  soooo many trees to go around!
Mary and I spent another couple hours gardening together last Sunday when it was in the upper 80s.  I had a plan to weed a small section near the deck and basement door, but Mary had other ideas!  She wanted to work on the big area near the vegetable garden and driveway!  Man, that woman is a slave driver!  There was probably a 40 x 5 foot section of shoulder high plants she wanted out that I'd planned to just leave well enough alone!  So dig and dig and dig I did until I was covered in dirt and sweat!  Luckily we had dinner plans that night so Michelle came down and cut us off. =)  I still have about 15 feet to go...maybe I'll tackle that this weekend too.

A just-for-fun bonus pic of Michelle sporting her fun new dress! 
A lovely surprise gift from our friend Meredith!
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Reality" TV

Then we watch TV.  Well, not really TV, we haven't had cable in years, but we watch shows on Netflix or Hulu. When we moved here last fall and knew no one and as we hibernated this winter we watched an embarrassing amount of TV.  We don't normally watch TV, especially in the summer, but this summer is a little different. We've watched all the episodes of Parenthood, watched most of the available seasons of Amazing Race, and we're all caught up on Bones. 

The past couple weeks we watched the last season of Private Practice.  In the last season of Private Practice, Charlotte, the brass chief of the hospital who never wanted kids, finds out she's pregnant with triplets! =)  If you want a good laugh you should look up season 6, episode 8 to see Charlotte and Cooper's experience of the triplet pregnancy.  We were laughing pretty hard watching this until Charlotte's water broke at 26 weeks.  Then it got a little scary... 

Sure, it's just TV, but I think it brought to the surface our latent anxiety and we both got a little teary.  Okay, okay, I got a little more than teary.=)  We've known all along this pregnancy is a high risk pregnancy, but this was an "in-your-face" reminder and I lost it.  (and, let's be honest, this is NOT the first time I've lost it during a TV show so it's not really that unusual)  So far everything has gone pretty darn smoothly and we are very thankful for that.  Most days we don't think about the risks and things that could go wrong, which I think is good and healthy. But we do think about it sometimes; it's hard not to.  Some days when I'm talking to the babies I start to say "I can't wait to meet you" but then immediately catch myself and say that "I can wait exactly X number of weeks to meet you!" because I don't want them to get any big ideas about coming early!  I'm constantly torn between wanting time to pass slowly because we have soooo much to do before these babies come and wanting it to go quickly because each day they get bigger and stronger and the risks go down.  I don't think I'll really feel calmer until maybe 32, maybe 34 weeks, because anything before that is still too risky for my liking.  So just keeping cooking babies!  Your mama Michelle is a rockstar and she's doing a lot of hard work to help you grow big and strong and healthy.  And your mommy here is doing a lot of work to try to get ready for your arrival...and I have a long list of things still to do, so take your time in there.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The name game...

I've been thinking it's been a while since I've written a blog post but kept coming up blank when trying to figure out what to write about.  Today Michelle and I went to one of the outdoor pools in State College and spent the late afternoon there.  We also bought season passes, figuring that the pool will be a great place for Michelle to give her body a break and for me to swim laps.  Quick funny thing about our season passes...Michelle gave them her driver's license to use to get her name entered and then the girl asked for my name and I said "Mari (and spelled it of course)...same last name."  She then took our pictures for our passes and when she handed them to us Michelle realized that mine said "Mari Stephen" on it!  Michelle's name on her license is her full legal name, Michelle Christine Stephen Therrien, but Therrien is on the second line and the girl just totally missed it.  We explained the mistake but asked her if it mattered and she said no so we decided to just go with it! =)

The pool is really nice and has a zero depth entry with lots of kid-friendly things like a splash zone, and small little kids slide, and two bigger slides.  It was PACKED with kiddos.  We sat in the zero entry area in a foot or two of water for a while just watching the little ones and thinking about bringing our little trio there next summer.  We talked about how tricky it will be to keep three kids safe at the pool and how we will have to run a "zone defense!"  We also watched moms with three kids of all different ages struggle to watch them all because they're all at different levels and we are thinking that maybe, once we survive the first year or so, this triplet thing will actually be a little bit easier.  Rather than having three kids at three different developmental levels, they'll all be doing about the same things at the same time.  Now granted, we know they'll all be different, and that they will have different interests, but it should make some things easier.  Like going on family vacations, for example; we won't have to figure out the perfect place that will be fun and interesting for a 9 year old, 6 year old, and 2 year old.  We had a nice time just thinking about that and watching the little ones and all the different parenting styles.  We talked about how we don't want our kiddos in any of the myriad of styles of "floaties" and how we do want them in rashguards and hats. =)  We also watched all the different parenting styles and totally respected the woman who left with her 1 year old and 3 year old when the little girl broke the rules and went around the slide where her mom couldn't see her despite the little ones tears. 

We also listened acutely for names because that is still something we're constantly mulling over, not having settled on three favs plus back ups yet (you know, in case the baby doesn't look like tour chosen name).  But don't even think about asking us to tell you our list because we aren't going to do it!  We don't want to hear anyone's opinions of the names we like because, really, once these babies come you're all going to love them no matter what we name them!  So while we won't tell you our top picks, we are happy to have you compile a list of first and middle names you like and send them to us via email as long as you promise not to be offended if we don't pick any of them!  We're pretty picky and we had more boy names we both liked so having to come up with this many girl names has been a little tricky for us!  So...if you have names, especially girl names, you'd like to lobby for feel free to email them to both of us. =)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pool time!

Yesterday Michelle was feeling pretty uncomfortable throughout her hips, back, and legs.  Her body is starting to really feel the strain of the extra weight.  The good news is that all her hard work on eating is paying off and she is definitely on track to meet the 36lb weight gain by 24 weeks recommended by Dr. Barbara Luke in her book about healthy multiples pregnancy.  With multiples it's really important to have lots of weight gain early because towards the end of the second trimester those babies are taking up so much space that it becomes physically difficult to eat enough calories in a day so the babies then draw from the early weight gain when they need nutrients.

Anyway, it is a bummer that Michelle is already starting to have back and hip pain at 18 weeks because we both know that she is only going to get bigger and the next 18 weeks, or however many we get, are going to feel really long if she is in pain.  So yesterday we went to the warm therapy pool at the YMCA and spent about 45 minutes letting Michelle be weightless.  I tried to remember some aquatic therapy exercises and we tried a few of those, but mostly just gave her body a break from carrying those babies.  Wen she first got in she said it felt funny, like her belly just lifted up.  The weirder feeling for her though was getting out.  As she walked up the ramp to get out she a like "woah, now my belly feels sooooo it is going to tip me forward!"  So it was definitely only temporary relief but nice while it lasted.  Until it really gets hot here it will be nice to have this option to giver her body a break.  We also got a referral for physical therapy from our doc at University Health Service, who, by the way is a very sweet guy and who is very excited about this pregnancy!  I did some searching and found a local PT who specializes in women's health PT so we are going to call and see when we can go see her.  Yes, yes, I am a PT, but in case you. Don't remember I work with kiddos only!  All that grown up PT stuff I learned in school is long gone, having fallen out of my brain as I made room for more learning about kiddos!  So I would really like for Michelle to see someone much more competent than me in this area!  I can certainly follow through with the treatment plan, but would feel better if someone else designed it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kids' reactions to the news that we're having triplets...

We've heard some pretty funny little anecdotes about friends of ours telling their young children that we are having triplets.  I work with a little girl whose mom told her 3 year old boy about three babies at one time and the face he made sounded hilarious and we both said we wished she'd had a camera.  And then within a week we got this video via email from our friend Sarah in Seattle of her telling her daughter Rachel.  Rachel was a typical peer in the preschool at Lakeside so she knows Michelle and me from there and she also came to our house once or twice.  She LOVES dogs and really likes Humphrey so prior to telling her and starting this video, Sarah reminded Rachel who we are by talking about Humphrey.  So she was a little confused at first thinking Humphrey was having babies!  But the middle part is absolutely hilarious! 

And I think it would be pretty funny if we could manage to stage a photo where it looked like Humphrey was holding a baby bottle to help feed one of the babies. =)  Now THAT would be a good trick to teach Humphrey! =)

Growing babies...growing mama!!! 18 week belly pics

Well, there is no doubt that Michelle is pregnant now!  These babies must be growing like weeds because Michelle and I swear that her belly looks bigger every day!  It will be interesting to see how big they are at the 20 week ultrasound.  We haven't started measuring circumference yet, but we should soon just to see.  Here are the 16 week and 18 week pictures for you!

16 week belly
18 week belly
close doubt this girl is pregnant!
I wish I could say Michelle and the babies were the only ones growing in this house, but all the eating going on around here has been hard to resist and I have definitely put on a few pounds!  I've noticed my pants getting a little tighter so it's time for me to start watching my calorie intake or get off my butt and start working out.  It's tricky because Michelle is my usual workout buddy and I feel like there are so many other things competing for my time like my final project for school, getting a garden started, and painting and other inside the house projects.  Oh, yeah, and work, which has been crazy busy lately.  Michelle and our friend Nimisha talked me into doing a super sprint (i.e. mini) triathlon this past Saturday.  I certainly didn't train for this triathlon and really haven't worked out more than a handful of times in the last few months so the tri, even though it was really short, felt pretty hard.  But I'm still glad I did it and need to use that as a springboard to back into working out.  I'd like to do another tri later this summer and have it actually feel good. =)  We'll see how the training goes!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The invasion has begun!

Any hopes or dreams Michelle & I may have had about being minimalists when it came to baby "stuff" pretty much went out the window when we found out there were three babies. And yet, I guess I haven't fully let go of my idea of a blanket on the living room floor with maybe an activity gym & mirror for entertainment, followed by cardboard boxes, wooden spoons & plastic cups as the baby got older. I do recognize the practical value of bouncy seats, swings, bumbos, & exersaucers/jumpers as safe places for one or two babies to be while we change the third, make food, shower, etc, but I don't think I'm quite mentally prepared for baby stuff to overtake the living room & the rest of the house.
This realization hit me Tuesday night when we went to Erinn's house to help clear out her basement. Erinn is one of Michelle's professors & she generously offered to give us a TON of baby/toddler equipment & toys that her kids have outgrown.

We filled up the entire Rav4 and it was while we were unloading it all into the house that it hit me that we were truly being invaded! Right now, as you can see in the pictures, it's all sitting in the guest bedroom until we can go through, organize and find better homes for everything. And while this was the "motherload" so far, we still haven't gone "shopping" in Kathleen's attic where she's been stockpiling stuff for us to go through!

We've been seriously blown away by the generosity of our community and friends and family. Kate has a load of hand-me-downs she's bringing to the baby shower in Chicago and we've already gone through boxes and bags of clothing & such handed down from friends and even people we don't know. I arrived at a client's house one day to find a big bag if clothes someone had given them that they were now passing onto us! Some days I get to my office & there's a pile of goodies waiting for me. If there is one thing we know, it's that we are surrounded by amazing & wonderful people and these are three very lucky babies to be born into this community of love.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Follow this blog...

A handful of people have asked how you can follow this blog and I finally figured out how to add a gadget so you can follow by email or using a subscription service so look on the lower right part of the page for these new gadgets!

More pics and posts coming soon but tonight it is time for bed!  All the house and baby projects are taking up my blogging time! =)  (oh, and I really need to get back to my last two school projects so I can get this degree done before the babies arrive!!)  But, I will post pics of the three assembled cribs and next week we'll have more belly pics.  Seriously, it seems bigger to us every day so I think you'll really notice a change in this two week interval!  Good night for now!

Our new home...with plenty of space for our growing family

our awesome fireplace!
Here are a bunch of pics of our new house!  It's definitely still a "work in progress" but it's coming along!  The house is on a lovely wooded lot as you can see and we really only see trees from any window.  The house has plenty of space and storage and lots of great spaces for entertaining like the deck, the screened in porch, and the great room with a gas fireplace.  We bought a couple of new chairs to make sure we had plenty of seating in the living room for all of you future "baby holders" who are reading this blog. Hope you enjoy the pics!

great deck with bench seating
view of the carport & screen porch

screen porch

good view of the lot & doors to basement
shot of living room

Michelle enjoying a new chair

got some artwork up!

another view of the living room

guest bedroom/office

Baby room
our bedroom
our room..view toward bath
more basement
open, mostly finished basement
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