Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our new Tuesday morning routine

At the beginning of the month we decided to join the local YMCA so we could take the babies swimming & try to get ourselves back into a workout routine of some sort.  I'm home with the babies on Tuesdays & a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to take them swimming. We hadn't joined the Y yet but we had a "try it" pass so I figured I'd use that and skip the sign up delay, especially since the therapy pool only has family swim from 11-12 and that is pushing it for me to get them all out of the house after the morning nap. The pass worked great, but did not include the free childcare program so I decided to wing it & take all three babies at once. I wheeled them all into the pool room in the wagon & changed them into swim diapers. Then I rolled the wagon right up to the edge of the pool & formulated a plan. I took one baby in the pool with me while the other two were strapped in the wagon eating snacks & watching everyone in the pool. I switched babies every three minutes or so to make sure nobody got too antsy. They were all so happy to be in the water when it was their turn that I guess it was worth waiting for (snacks helped too!). 

Last week, having officially joined, I thought I'd try the childwatch program and take one by swimming at a time. It may seem like that would be easier, but that day was logistically more challenging  than the first day. In order to switch babies I had to get the swimmer dressed and carry them back to childwatch while I was still wet and in my suit. Switching babies wasn't smooth either and the baby being left cried. So while each baby had fun in the pool, they didn't have as much fun because they were still recovering from being sad in childcare. 

So today I tried yet another option and brought all three into the pool area and actually into the pool. We have a mesh Baby Bjorn carrier that I've thought about using in the pool before but never actually tried. Well today I tried it and it worked great! I put one baby in the carrier, one in the float and held the other in my arms. It went great and they had a blast! I rotated them through the float and carrier and they were all happy as could be for almost 45 minutes in the pool.  I asked the lifeguard to take a quick picture so I could show Michelle and document our little adventure. 

I've been really enjoying our little Tuesday morning pool routine and am so happy that our babies love the water.  I think I will probably keep trying the same strategy as today for as long as it seems to be working. I'm also going to keep working on getting them comfortable in the childcare though because I'd like to feel good about taking all three of them in so Michelle and I can get some workouts in too. Today after swimming I took all three in to childwatch and we all just hung out in there for 15 minutes together. It might take a little time, but they'll get there and it will be so nice if Michelle and I can carve out some time to work out on a regular basis!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

An apple a day

Apples are awesome!  Our kiddos are all really into apples right now and they have become a go-to distractor when we need to buy ourselves a few minutes of entertainment.  I know I mentioned that the kiddos all have a couple of teeth now and they are using them to good effect on apples.  When we first handed them apples we didn't really expect that they would really be able to eat them and at first they really only made a few teeth marks in them, but they've gotten pretty good and actually eat a decent amount of apple if we give them enough time.  
Avery's expression in this photo is perfect for this post!  She & Ellie both like to talk to their apples =)

In fact, yesterday Isaiah ate an entire apple..no really, the WHOLE thing, core and all!  He was very focused on his apple and was a happy camper just eating his apple for a long long time yesterday afternoon.  The girls sometimes try to steal his apples because he gets into them a little better/faster than they do so they like to take his after a few minutes to enjoy the sweet juicy goodness he has uncovered under the skin!  He has mastered getting through the skin and will often spit out pieces of skin (that we later find all over the floor...but so worth a little sweeping!).  Here are a few pics of our little apple lover & evidence of today's almost completely devoured apple.
Isaiah one-handing what's left of his apple
(strategically turned away from where Ellie is)
"what apple Ellie?!  I don't know what you're talking about!"
Isaiah's apple today was the size of the one on the left when he started...the nub on the right is all that was left!
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away we'll be in good shape!  Let's hope that old saying is true for the triplets this winter!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The ups & downs of parenting triplets

I think that for the most part I've tried to paint a fairly realistic picture of what our journey has been like raising triplets thus far.  Though looking back briefly, I'm sure that I've slanted things towards the positive, sometimes glossing over or not really posting much about the hard times.  (I guess that fits with our general world view and our attempts to "roll with the punches" & try to enjoy this adventure.)  But over the past week I've managed to capture a few snippets of both the good times, where you get a glimpse of just how fun it is to be a MoM (mother of multiples), as well as the hard times.
sometimes it feels like there's just not enough mom to go around!
I will say, is much harder,and mostly impossible to capure the hard times on video because the hard times are often those when you feel like you don't have enough arms or can't be in multiple places at the same time.  And I know those feelings are not unique to being a triplet mom, but sometimes it is overwhelming, like when I'm in the middle of changing Avery and Ellie is about to stick her hand in the potty which is full of Avery's poop and Isaiah is whining/crying and climbing on top of me making it impossible to get Avery's diaper on & keep Ellie's hand out of the potty for the umpteenth time! It's times like that that we never get videos of because if there are extra hands on board they sure as heck better be grabbing Ellie before she's covered in poop rather than documenting the event!  Sure, we can sometimes capture the "herding cats" moments like trying to get all three of them out of the entry way and the catfood and dog water bowl, but poop is a different story!

Here's one quick clip I captured recently.  I was trying to get dinner ready and had all three pulling on my pants legs at one point and whining so I finally gave up on dinner prep hoping http://youtu.be/a2L4-e8uxlwthat if I sat on the floor I could engage them in something. And this is what I got...
I did eventually just sit them all down while they carried on (after giving hugs all around) and dumped out a tray of ice cubes for them to play with, which eventually worked after a bit of coaxing and gave me the five minutes I needed to get dinner ready.

And because there really are lots of amazing and wonderful moments to offset the hard times I'll leave you with a couple of adorable videos I got at my cousin's house in Massachusetts.  The loved trying to look out his front window and thought the sheer curtains were pretty great.  It is so fun to see the interacting more and more every month.

Fun with MA family

Despite the fact that we made the trip for a sad reason (to be with family for my uncle's funeral), the triplets obviously had no idea and managed to have a great time and spread a lot of joy amidst the sadness.  Here are a ton of great pictures from the trip:

We had breakfast on Thursday morning at Stella's coffee shop where my
 aunt works so she got to show off the babies to everyone.
Isaiah got put to work right away!
 Ellie really embraced her star status! =)
Ellie flying high with "uncle Adam"
Adam was an awesome host!  How great is it that he let our family of five stay at his house!
"Hey, Uncle Adam...what's this stuff on your face?!"
turkey basters & measuring cups are great toys right?!
One of my favorite memories of visiting family in Fitchburg when I was a kid was of adventures at Coggshall park so I wanted to make sure to go there on this trip.  Unfortunately Thursday it was pouring rain all day so Dad & I squeezed it in Friday before my uncle's funeral.  
my best attempt at a group selfie
selfie with Dad...of couse the babies were much more intersted in the geese!
Avery hanging out with Grandpa by the lake
check out those gorgeous New England fall colors!
They enjoyed the swings at the park.  We can still squeeze two into the infant
swings but that won't work for long!
"'more' swing Mommy!"
check out that smile!  You can just barely see
Ellie's goofy teeth...R bottom & right top one off from center =)
wild hair boy!
could she be any cuter?
After Uncle Ronnie's funeral we just hung out at Adam's & enjoyed the beautiful fall day...
me & my papa (we look nothing alike, right?!)
cousin shot
Isaiah cheesing it up in Tara's dress uniform hat!
Ellie & her new best bud "auntie Tara"
(she was more than a litte obsessed with Tara,
diving out of my arms to get to her!)
love this silly shot...just hangin' in Adam's backyard
"look Mama...a leaf!"
grandson & grandpa enjoying each other's company
a serious talk? =)
"Look Ma, no hands!" 
just chillin' with Auntie Mary with a bucket on my head...
Isaiah getting some good lovin' from Auntie Ann
Avery & Tara played with ice cubes for a solid 20 minutes =)
And because I am a little obsessed with how beautiful Coggshall park is, we went back in the late afternoon with Michelle (who was busy studying in the morning) and Tara. You've probably noticed the marked improvement in photo quality over the past week or so...we finally got a new camera after our old one bit the dust and I LOVE having a quality camera again!! 
gorgeous swans in the pond
beautiful fall leaves...if you zoom in you can really see how cool these leaves were
such a pretty spot!
an attempt at a group shot...reasonably successful =)
Ellie was really buying the "If you're happy & you know it" song & dance routine!
this table rock was fun to explore
Avery & Isaiah of course found the little puddle full of leaves
I LOVE my dad & Ellie in the background of this pic!
family photo
Grandpa & Isaiah trying to find a slide that actually worked...
this was the second atttempt & it was sooooo slow!
But Isaiah was happy to get another chance to swing!
Ellie getting some more special time with Tara...
trying to show her the ducks!
have I mentioned that I love this park?! How pretty is that?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Road tripping with one year old triplets

We took our first long road trip with the babies since they've become mobile last week. Our last trip was to St. Louis in May when they were six months old. Let me tell you, this was a different beast! Those three little peanuts who slept for long stretches and were fairly content to look out the window or play with toys when they were awake are now three active movers & shakers who, if they could really talk, would've been screaming "I'm trapped! I'm trapped! Let me out of this prison!" For a good portion of the drive on the way to Massachusetts. We went to MA to be with my dad and extended family for my uncle's funeral.  Google maps estimated it would take us 7 hours....ha! If only!  

We left State College immediately following their one year well visit (and two quick stops to drop off paperwork & grab something we forgot at home), around 3pm. The first couple hours of the drive were blissfully quiet because the babies were taking their afternoon nap and the fall colors were beautiful as we headed northeast through PA. It was raining & not the best driving conditions, but the babies were asleep and we were listening to various podcasts so all in all, not a bad start to the drive. The babies woke up about 15 minute before we hit Wilkes-Barre and just as we drove into a torrential downpour. The roads were flooding and we were worried that the Prius, which is very low to the ground, might have trouble, but we made it! (Yes, we did take the Prius and yes, we did manage to fit everything we needed into the car...barely!)

On past trips, higher end hotel lobbies have been our go-to pit stops because they're usually pretty comfortable places to nurse babies and have clean bathrooms. But as I was looking up hotels (with the babies whining & wailing on & off in the backseat), Michelle had the great idea to look to see if there were any libraries close by that might have a children's area. So I quickly switched gears & found one telling Michelle about 100 feet before the exit to get off the highway.  The library didn't have a parking lot so we unstrapped the babies while still in the car to decrease the amount of time we'd have to be standing in the rain and then grabbed them and ran into the library.  The children's area was great and was a perfect stop for three babies who needed to move.  They enjoyed playing with the new toys and it was hard to motivate ourselves to leave and stick them back in the car!

The babies were none too happy about being back in their car seats and the next two-ish hours of the drive were pretty awful.  We sang every kids' song we could think of and put out a plea on facebook or more ideas for songs.  But they really like the songs they already know so I think we sang about 20 verses of "wheels on the bus" about 20 times along with "if you're happy & you know it" and "Old MacDonald" over and over until our throats were raw.  By now it was dark AND raining so add in some baby screaming and you have a rockin' good time. Around 7 we couldn't take it any more and although we'd fed them dinner in the car (Michelle's shoulder was killing her from reaching back over and over with cheese & deli meat) we decided to stop for a second dinner for them (& first for us).  We searched for all day breakfast places because that's usually a safe bet for the babies and found an IHOP about 15min away.  That was a LONG 15 minutes, but we made it.  The babies did great at IHOP and scarfed down almost an entire kids meal of eggs & pancakes between the three of them.

hungry babies
spacey baby enjoying her pancake!
We were hoping that since it was then bedtime that they would just konk out for the rest of the ride, which they did...at first. But I guess NPR podcasts aren't close enough to the white noise they are used to hearing when they wake up and the screaming resumed about 45 min into the drive.  So we put on the "mountain rain" track and drove the last couple of hours listening to the oh-so-stimulating white noise.  It is a miracle that we managed to stay awake!  Michelle was a rock star driver! We arrived at my cousin's house at midnight, a mere nine hours after we left home.  I'll write anoter post with pics from our visit with family, but this is all about the drive so let's skip to the way home!

Having suffered through the drive there, Michelle and I put together a strategic plan to try to make the drive home more tolerable. We decided to start the drive during their morning nap and stop in Stamford, CT to visit Michelle's cousin.  Our original plan was to spend the night there and drive the rest the next morning, but our new plan was to just hang out for the afternoon, eat dinner there and then plop them in the car and power through the rest of the drive when they should be sleeping.  Sadly the morning nap was not as long as we'd hoped and we had a bit of a detour (on a failed attempt to find a Trader Joes that sells wine so we could stock up), and hit some traffic, so the babies were awake and unhappy for the last hour or so.  We temporarily satisfied them with slowly parsed out bites of lunch, and the new baby crack (AKA multigrain crackers from TJs) and apples that they love to gnaw on.  Oh yeah...and we sang...AGAIN. (and no, sadly, kids song CDs do not seem to be a substitute for our lovely voices)

The babies were pretty good all afternoon though their afternoon nap was really short.  They did great at the pizza joint we went to for dinner (which was delicious by the way).  We headed off the initial crying with more singing and they all fell asleep pretty quickly.  They did much better on this drive and slept most of the time with only a few little wake ups.  We braved it and listened to some podcasts and music until they stirred when we switched to "ocean waves" for a bit.  We had one quick stop to get gas and switch drivers and all three woke up.  So we had a yogurt pouch snack in their car seats before hitting the road again.  We got home around 11 and went through their usual bedtime routine and they did pretty well falling and staying asleep so although we didn't get a lot of sleep, we at least got some good chunks.  We spent a good chunk of the drive home strategizing our next epic road trip at Christmas time.  We'll see if any of our plans help!  For now, we're just glad that Christmas is almost two months away!  If you have any tried and true road trip strategies for traveling with 14 month olds please feel free to share in the comments!