Sunday, June 28, 2015

Water loving kiddos!

 These babies LOVE the water!  They love our summer pool time and any chance they get to be in or around water!
Happy boy!
happy girl!

cups are apparently the best pool toy!
family pic at the pool
(Isaiah was obviously not thrilled! But Avery gave a good cheesy smile!)
And then Ellie...
they also love to eat at the pool!  We do a LOT of picnics at the pool.
So much so that we get to the pool & Avery says "eat" within five minutes of getting there.
It's hard to get very many pics and videos at the pool because it takes our full attention most of the time to keep them safe.  The other day Ellie was cold and wanted out so she & Michelle took these videos of Avery & Isaiah taking turns swimming underwater to me.

Yesterday we took them to the park near us where there is a little stream.  We didn't have our act together for dinner so we got Thai takeout.  They of course HAD to get in the water so we stripped them down and let them go to town.  They used the takeout containers and had a blast.  They were having so much fun and it was hard to make them leave to head home for bedtime!
Takeout containers & water bottles...
3 of the cutest little nakey-bums around!
panning for gold with Thai takeout containers??
"ooooooo" that water is cold!
soooo happy
Avery dumping freezing cold water on her belly!
how cute is this girl?!
Such a natural cheeseball even when we're not asking her to cheese!
scooping & dumping water over and over and over
Having fun dumping water on Mommy's feet!

Michelle and I love that our kiddos love the water so much! Whenever they get cranky water usually does the trick!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A day for the history books

Yesterday started out like a normal day around here.  All three babies were crying by 6:15 and we finally gave in and got everyone up at 6:30.  All three have a bit of a runny nose and may or may not be cutting their canine teeth so everyone was a little whiny and needy and not in a self-entertaining mood, which always makes for a challenging morning.  I had an early visit and we had our multiples playgroup so we rushed around a bit to get all five of us dressed for the day and get breakfast ready, all to a chorus of "mommy. mama. up. O's. mama. up. mommy. wawa. up. see. see." interspersed with whining and crying. When I left for work Michelle had one kiddo in a carrier on her back and one pulling at each leg.  It is simultaneously hard and easy to leave on mornings like this.

Fast forward an hour or so and Michelle had managed to get the kiddos all in the car and at playgroup and I joined them there after my visit.  Michelle was supposed to take off as soon as I got there to get to work, but she hung out for a bit and didn't want to leave.  It was right around 10:30 when I happened to check my phone and saw the incredible news that the Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage!  I immediately got goosebumps all over and just typing this I'm getting them again. Suddenly an ordinary day was extraordinary!  
our "now legally recognized" family
Michelle and I have been together for 14 years.  We have been registered domestic partners in the city of St. Louis, the state of Oregon, and the state of Washington. None of that meant a damn thing to anyone when we moved to Pennsylvania for Michelle to start her PhD.  When gay marriage was legalized in Washington in December of 2012 (a few short months after we moved), we learned that we could either pay an additional sum of money to the state for a marriage license or wait another year and a half for our registered domestic partnership to be converted to a legal marriage (June 30th, 2014).  Since neither held any standing in Pennsylvania we decided to wait.  About a month before our marriage became legal in WA, the US federal court ruled that PA had to recognize same sex marriages from other states.  So for the past year we have been legally married in PA and filed joint taxes at both the state and federal level for the first time this year.  

This fall, as Michelle enters her last year of her PhD program, she will begin looking for jobs.  While our hope is to end up back in the Pacific Northwest, where gay marriage was already legal, yesterday's ruling takes some of the pressure off the job search.  Now we can feel confident that anywhere we move our relationship will have full legal standing.  Now we don't have to worry that a hospital might not recognize our relationship and allow us to be together or make life saving decisions for one another or our children. Now an employer can't deny benefits to my spouse, which is what happened here and is the reason Michelle had to continue to be enrolled in her PhD program full time during the entire pregnancy and first few months with the triplets. (The original plan was for Michelle to take a leave from the program, but my employer at the time would not let Michelle be on my health insurance plan.  Thankfully, Penn State has always recognized our relationship and I am able to be on her grad student health insurance plan, which is what allows me to work part time right now.)

Beyond the practical issues, yesterday's ruling means that I will never again feel awkward introducing Michelle as my wife.  No more of the generic "partner" in order to avoid the potentially awkward questions about the legality and "realness" of our marriage.  Michelle and I exchanged vows and exchanged shell rings from the hotel giftshop on a secluded beach in Fiji on the tail end of our trip around the world nearly five years ago.  Our marriage has been "real" for us and those who love us since that moment. Now it's "real" and legal for everyone, like it or not!
Our wedding
(taken using autotimer & a camera precariously balanced on a rock wall)
Our wedding celebration with family & friends 

So this weekend, which is gay pride weekend in so many major cities, our community has much to celebrate.  I so wish that we could participate in one of these big celebrations because I guarantee there will be some record breaking crowds and a whole lot of celebrating.  I'm half tempted to pack up the whole family tonight and drive to New York City just so I can dress everyone in rainbow gear and join in the celebration!  I mean, really, triplets in rainbow gear...that would be pretty adorable!  Given the likelihood of rain, the fact that we are leaving for Chicago on Tuesday, and the amount of work we have to do, that isn't a realistic option.  But we will continue to enjoy scanning through our Facebook feeds and seeing all the rainbows and wedding pics and will be raising a glass tonight to celebrate here in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania.  I love seeing so many straight friends adding some rainbow flair to their profiles as well!  Happy Pride everyone!

Monday, June 22, 2015

First solo road trip

This past weekend I took my first solo road trip with the triplets.  My aunt passed away after almost two decades battling cancer and my parents were flying in from Hawaii for the funeral so after waffling about whether or not to go for almost a week, I decided the night before that I would go for it.  Michelle couldn't make the trip because she was finishing up data collection and a class she was teaching and just couldn't get away.  So the night before we rushed around packing things up for the trip.  I must say we did quite well!  I think the only two things we forgot that I realized later were their toothbrushes (they just used mine) and a comb (which we borrowed from Tara).

We had a driving buddy for the first 4 hours of the drive there because our good friends Carrie & Chris were headed the same direction on their big cross country move and that was a big help.  Carrie helped manage the little scuffles over who got what toy and rubbed heads as various kiddos fought their nap or woke up too early from their nap.  All in all the drive wasn't too bad.  Google maps says the drive should take 7 hours and it took us just under 9 hours on the way there.  After we parted ways with Carrie & Chris I stopped at a park for dinner so they could get out and play for a bit.  Well, actually the park that I planned to stop at looked sketchy so I drove around a bit and found an elementary school playground for our picnic.
surveying the scene & eating yogurt!

Since I'd decided so last minute to make the trip I decided to keep it a secret from my parents and surprise them on Friday. The funeral itself was a no-kiddo event so we had to occupy ourselves for the morning.  Thanks to a Facebook connection we ended up meeting another triplet family in Acton at the Children's Discovery Museum, which was a ton of fun!
It's a triplet boat party!
this musical ball run was a big hit!

Then on Friday afternoon we surprised them at my cousin's house.  It was great and the presence of the triplets put some much needed smiles on everyone's faces.  The weekend as a whole was pretty fantastic and it was fun to watch the kiddos playing so nicely with everyone.  They all have moments of shyness and being super mommy/mama focused, but really they all warm up quickly and enjoy playing with all the different family members!

playing in the sand with Grandpa
water fun with Grandma...note my mom keeping Avery from jumping in =)
on a walk to see the alpacas across the street
"flying in the flowers" with Tara
(I'm so sad this one is blurry!)
I love this shot of my mom walking with Isaiah & Ellie
happy Grandma
Ellie LOVED the alpacas who all came walking right over to check out the triplets
Avery was nervous about them at first but she warmed up & then didn't want to leave
eating dinner on the deck with Jill & Claire
naughty Auntie Mary feeding the babies cake!
so pleased with herself for having two smoothie cups!

taking a "BIG bite" of Grandma's burger!
second cousins
one of whom can't sit for too long
they were so excited to meet a nice cat!
Having fun blowing bubbles with Grandma
and climbing in the hammock with Grandpa
 or just snuggling.
A special treat was joining Claire for a few minutes of Mickey Mouse Club
and eating goldfish!
On Saturday we went to my favorite place in Fitchburg, Coggshall park, with my mom and dad and Tara.  I have such fond memories of climbing on the giant rocks there as a kid and it was fun that the babies are old enough now to actually do a little climbing.  Stay tuned for a motor monday post about climbing! =)

Grandma & Ellie collecting pine cones
(the mountain laurel was gorgeous too!)
sweet Grandpa-grandson moment
someone was a tad excited about her nectarine!
Tried to get a group shot & had fun playing peekaboo but it's hard to get them to "boo" all at once!

this pic makes me think we need a "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" shot...

Ellie was excited to get to hold the keys
(and was fascinated that she could make the lights flash when she pushed a button!)
(Tara & I have always been BFF style cousins despite the fact that we never
lived near each other.  She did a good job of convincing me to make the drive & I"m glad I did!)
looking for her next step
"hi Mommy!"
"you sure I can get up to you Mommy?"
Mr. Serious
I'm not even sure what this look is saying, but it's pretty adorable
Anyone have any good captions for this?  If so leave it in the comments!
 As always the time with my mom & dad went too fast.  These shots are from Sunday morning just before saying goodbye & hopping back in the car to head home.

Avery & Grandma got the "cheese" memo...
Add in Grandpa! (and Isaiah's cheese!)
wow...everyone is looking at the camera!
trying to wear them out by running up & down the hill in Adam's backyard
and everyone wanted to hold Grandma & Grandpa's hands
Auntie Tara jumping in for a round
They probably ran up & down 20 times.
From the look of it, Ellie was actually starting to get sleepy!

All things considered the kiddos did remarkably well on the drive home.  They all took a short nap soon after getting in the car and we drove for about an hour and a half before a planned stop in Hartford.  We went to Trader Joes to stock up on snacks and pick up lunch and then popped over to a park to eat and move around.  The park we stopped at had a splash pad so I had to change everyone into swim clothes which meant that stop took a little longer than planned, but they had fun and got some energy out which was the whole idea.  Then we made it to Wilkes Barre, another 3.5 hours before stopping again. They took a pretty good nap again, which proved challenging because I desperately had to pee!  So when I couldn't stand it anymore I did a "30 second entrance ramp pull open both doors & squat" style pee and just hoped no one would wake up!  They did, but fell back asleep without too much fuss.  We finally make it home a little past bedtime, but they were sooooo happy to see Mama and just to be home that there was no way they were going right to bed!