Wednesday, May 30, 2007

when nesting goes bad

The construction crew arrived this morning at 7:49 AM, just as we were just finishing up breakfast.

They promptly moved all of the furniture from our family room in to our kitchen, effectively blocking the dishwasher and pile of dirty breakfast dishes, before ripping up the 10-year old carpet and padding.

While Charlie set about disassembling our bed and moving our furniture in to the garage, I corralled our children in to the nursery and set about getting everyone dressed.

Within minutes, the house was full of dust.

I knew that we needed to get out. It's not like the kids could run around and play, what with a construction crew milling about, exposed staples from the carpeting sticking up out of the floor, and airborne mold. The pickle in my plan was that Charlie needed to stay at home to move furniture, supervise the contractors and interface with the dishwasher repairman ... if and when he showed up.

Within the past few days, I've determined that my options when going out by myself, with 3 2.5-year olds ... at 35-weeks pregnant ... are somewhat limited.

I could go to the park. But, then again, I don't want to be chasing the kids around, when I have to go to the bathroom and since that's a constant - this was not a good choice.

I could go to the zoo. But, then again - refer to comment above.

I could go to Sea World. But then again - refer to comment above.

I could go to the store. But then again - refer to comment above.

I could call one of my friends and see about going over to their house. But then again, the only friends that are in close proximity are all working during the day.

So I called my friend, Debbie. But she was visiting her family. An hour north.

My only other option was whittled down to sitting in the car.

Unless, I did something brave and daring.

Like, say, take the children to see a movie.

Considering the kids love movies and we'd be there at 10 AM, mid-week, this seemed like an excellent solution. Especially since I'd heard great things about Shrek the Third. The only other time we took the kids to a movie, it didn't go over so well. But then again, they would have enjoyed it much more, had that huge fish with huge teeth not come swimming out of the IMAX screen in 3-D, scaring them to pieces.

That's how I convinced myself, despite Charlie's anguished looks, as I loaded the children in to the car and set off for the movie theatre. I convinced him "Trust me. Everything will be fine!"

When we arrived at the theatre, the kids were perfect. They all held hands as we crossed the parking lot and they stood peering up at the ticket taker, with angelic little faces as I told him they were "two years old" and he informed me that their admittance was free of charge.

This was going to be even better than I thought!

While we waited for our show to start, I let the kids play in the arcade. After they were thoroughly worn out from driving the Tokyo Cop and flying the Star Wars Spacecraft, we all held hands, walked over to the concession stand, and ordered our popcorn.

That's when things started to go a little awry.

Elizabeth took off in one direction and tried to climb on to the life-size Simpson's characters, while Carolyn took off in the other direction and tried to climb on some silver surfer character. Both of which clearly had signs that read "NO TOUCHING!"

William, meanwhile, was on the floor in front of the concession stand trying to eat popcorn, hands free.

I herded the children back together and we made our way in to the theatre, as they were jumping up and down trying to grab at the bag of popcorn while yelling "Mommy, POP! POP!"

When I opened the door to the theatre, the previews were already showing, the music was booming - and all three of the kids burst in to tears.

Screaming, I tell you.


With my overflowing bag of popcorn in one hand, I used an arm to hoist up William and another arm to hoist up Elizabeth ... while walking forward and pushing Carolyn in front of me as popcorn fell on her head.

And just then, it hit.

The overwhelming feeling that if I didn't find my way to a bathroom STAT I would wet my pants. Right there.

So, I turned around and with my arms full of screaming children - and pushing Carolyn in front of me - exited the theatre and quickly found my way in to a restroom.

And a big, glorious, spacious handicap restroom stall.

As I took my seat - all the while chanting "Icky! Icky! Dirty!!" - I was momentarily in a state of bliss, until Elizabeth walked over and opened the latch on the restroom door, causing it to swing wide open. Exposing me, in all my glory, on the porcelain throne.

Holding a bag of popcorn.

Luckily, there weren't too many people at the theatre on a Wednesday morning. Just a few dozen women from a local senior center - catching a matinee - who happened to have incontinence issues. Just like me.

Finishing my business, nodding "hello" to the scores of women in the restroom, and making a speedy exit ... we returned to the theatre.

With Elizabeth leading the way, and everyone now free of tears, we walked up to the very last row. The kids took their seats and I handed them their popcorn. Everything seemed to be under control, but within a few minutes, I realized that the kids were too small to sit in the theatre seats and were quickly folded up like tacos.

Before the feature presentation began, they were trotting up and down the aisle. They'd take a quick break to eat a handful of popcorn, take a sip of water, and then, they were off again. Carolyn took pause at one point to tell me, in her piercing little voice, "Mommy!! Whim go POO-POO!!"

We lasted approximately 45 minutes before the kids wanted to run up and down the stairs and eat Skittles off the sticky floor. For 10 minutes, I gave a gallant effort at chasing them, but when I found myself standing in front of the entire theatre, inches away from the big screen, I decided to cut my losses and go home.

Home. To a house that is still on 3/4 painted.

Home. To a house that is in absolute shambles.

Home. To a house with one functioning toilet, because our second one broke while I was out.

I wish I could give a review on the movie, but I honestly have no idea what it was about. The only time I was able to look at the screen was when baby ogres were crawling all over the place and Shrek began screaming. I think he might have been having a nightmare.

I think I'm having a nightmare, too.

If only I could wake up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

To Do List

Because I get a tremendous amount of joy from crossing items off my to-do list, I'm summarizing below some of the things that have been keeping us busy the past few days:
  • Dump contents of dressers, bookshelves, linen cabinets and wall units in to piles all over the floor in the quest of "organization". CHECK
  • Remove every picture from every wall to prepare for painting. CHECK
  • Paint 3/4 of our house. CHECK

  • Paint 400 linear feet of baseboards. CHECK
  • Hand wash 500 sippy cups. CHECK.
  • Lose at least 100 sippy cup valves down the garbage disposal. CHECK
  • Call 10 times a day to see if the dishwasher repairman can be here any sooner than Wednesday. CHECK
  • Have 450 square feet of hardwood dropped off and within 24-hours, question if this particular hardwood is the exact kind that we want. CHECK
  • Contemplate loading all of the hardwood in to our vehicle and returning it to store, and purchasing new - undoubtedly more expensive hardwood - because if we're going to do this ... let's do it right. CHECK
  • Decide that we are crazy to be taking on this project in the first place ... let alone ... load 450 square feet of hardwood into our vehicle, drive it back to the store and order new hardwood. CHECK
  • Keep the hardwood and hope that it looks good. CHECK
  • Outgrow every single piece of maternity clothing, except the XXXL pajamas Kathleen sent me. CHECK
  • Hack Cut the children's hair. CHECK
  • Update blog because surely my family is interested in knowing what I'm up to. CHECK
Items that are still pending:
  • Remove all of the furniture from our bedroom and family room by 7 AM Wednesday morning, when contractors are scheduled to arrive and begin installation of hardwood floors.
  • Organize the contents of dressers, bookshelves, linen cabinets and wall units. By tomorrow at 7 AM.
  • Put all of our pictures back on walls. By tomorrow at 7 AM. Hopefully, without doing too much of this:
  • Paint remaining 1/4 of our house. By tomorrow at 7 AM.
  • Paint remaining 100 linear feet of baseboards. By tomorrow at 7 AM.
  • Attend child birth preparedness class.
  • Pick out a name for our new child. Otherwise, he really will be called "Nemo".
  • Purchase carseat, swing and bouncy chair.
  • Buy a few critical baby items (i.e. clothes). Because like the carseat, swing and bouncy chair - all of these items from our triplets have long since found a new home.
  • Determine where new baby will sleep. If the crib conversion kits are not here soon, chances are excellent our newborn will be sleeping in a laundry basket.
  • Finalize our wills.
  • Teach our children, and my husband, their colors. (What's funny is while I was uploading this video, William was shouting out "No Twacie! Kitty Cat not gween! Kitty Cat POORPLE!" Funnier yet is that everything is "lellow" except the yellow duck.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

On this Memorial Day, we're remembering America's soldiers.

If they didn't have the courage to do this...

We may not have the freedom to do this...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

These Are Days

As always, there is so much going on right now.

Painting the inside of our house, having new hardwood floors installed, hand washing a tremendous number of dishes, wrapping up several work-related projects before I start maternity leave, preparing for the arrival of a new baby.

Then there's raising our 2.5-year old triplets.

And updating my blog when I should be sleeping.

On top of it all, this afternoon, I received a call from my boss and was asked to ponder an amazing opportunity that would involve relocation, once I return from maternity leave. The possibilities for our family could be great and considering I only work "part-time" I am tremendously flattered that they even thought of me.

It's huge. For me. For Charlie. For all of us.

Doesn't it figure. Just when we think we have things sorted out and spend a small fortune on new floors.

So while I sat and thought about what we are going to do with the rest of our lives, I started to get emotional. Because I'm about to have a new baby. And although I am starting to feel more and more uncomfortable with my pregnancy - I don't want for it to be over. And although there are times that our children drive me absolutely insane, I don't want for them to grow up. Not just because I think they are so cute right now, which they are, but because I'm afraid of them being hurt as they venture away from me and out in to the world.

I want to freeze frame our lives, right now. Minus my terribly puffy feet and legs. Add in a working dishwasher and a house that is no longer "under construction."

I want to send healing to so many families, on this very night, that are mourning the loss of their child ... like my neighbor's daughter who lost her battle to breast cancer, this morning.

And I want to send strength to people who are praying with every ounce of their being that their child is spared ... like the McConathy's ... who have lost two of their triplets and are in need of a miracle to heal their baby son, Jaxon.

I'm thinking about how blessed and lucky we are, that we are parents to these amazing children - who had a rough start - but are growing in to the most incredible little people.

Right before our very eyes.

I can already see that the trash can no longer holds the same appeal as it did a mere week ago. And it's bittersweet. Because although I know our children will grow up, and our new baby will eventually have to find his way out of me (which I prefer not to ponder the logistics), I am absolutely savoring these days.

They are all we have and thus far, they are the best days of our lives.

Friday, May 25, 2007

file under: for future reference

Although the children have started to enjoy their Tuesday morning dance class ... they haven't grasped the concept of their Thursday afternoon arts and crafts class.

I'm so glad that I paid $42.00 per child for this particular class. Because while the kids are playing "Lemonade" Charlie and I have ample opportunity to practice coloring in the lines, using a glue stick and cutting paper with rounded scissors.

Today, in class, *we* made a beehive mobile. The children's contribution was to carry the completed craft to our car. By the time we walked the 25 feet, all of the bees were pulled off and William had partially consumed the hive.

Lesson learned: Two and a half is a little young for an arts and crafts class. And since Charlie and I already know how to color in the lines, use a glue stick and cut with rounded scissors - we just might skip this class next "semester".

Following our class, we went out for dinner. Because after hand washing every spoon, fork, knife, glass, bowl, cup, pot, pan and casserole dish in this house over the past week and a half ... we decided that eating out would be a nice break.

And it was.

Once we were able to keep the children distracted by telling them to look out the window for elephants. When they didn't see elephants in the parking lot, we suggested they look up in the sky. Remember ... Dumbo can FLY.

Lesson learned: When the novelty of crayons and a kid's menu wear off ... eating out with small children is a lot more enjoyable when you send them on a mission to find something. Anything. Even if it means having to ignore the stares of fellow diners that seem to think having your toddler look for Barney under the table is cruel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

things that make me cry

This past weekend was somewhat more tolerable after my friend, Debbie, suggested that we use the dishwasher as a drying rack. Unfortunately, less than two days later, dirty water that had been in the lines before the dishwasher died, backed up and pooled on the bottom, causing a stale water and rotting food stench to fill the house every time I opened the dishwasher door.

Since then, we've had to revert to drying all of our dishes on the counter while keeping one eye on the numerous children, running around the house, that try desperately to make our lives as difficult as possible by using clean dishes as weapons against each other.

Today, after 10 days, the technician arrived to complete our long-awaited dishwasher repair.

I was on the phone in the middle of a conference call while Charlie talked to the technician, a man who was at our house about a month ago to repair a fuse on our inoperable dishwasher.

A man who convinced me that the next part on our dishwasher that would likely "go" would be the computer panel and that since a new panel costs around $200.00 ... it would be savvy to purchase a $60.00 extended warranty so that when the panel decides to "go" it would be covered.

A man who I embraced in a hug after he fixed the fuse on our dishwasher and took my check for $60.00 - because I agreed that paying $60.00 was better than $200.00.

A man that I thought because of his ability to repair our dishwasher and save me $140.00 (at some future date), was a good man indeed.

A man that today, told Charlie that it was another fuse that blew. But because the computer panel is likely to blame, he could not justify installing a $40.00 part that would only cop out in a matter of weeks. In the meantime, he would place an order for a new computer panel and be back in another week and a half to complete the installation.

A man that had at his fingertips, all the tools and equipment to complete the necessary repair so we'd at least have a functional dishwasher, but walked out of our house less than three minutes after having arrived.

A man that didn't do a single damn thing while he was here.

With one hand over the phone, because my mute capabilities on my cell phone have ceased working ... along with our stereo ... and our dishwasher ... I told Charlie that he needed to CHASE THE REPAIR MAN DOWN, STEAL HIS TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT AND KILL HIM.

Thinking that my idea was not a good one, Charlie instead called the service line for Kitchen Aid. He expressed his concern that it will be three weeks before we have a functioning dishwasher and the repairman should have installed the $40.00 part to tide us over, until the computer panel could be replaced.

During the course of this conversation, Charlie learned that the part was NOT valued at $40.00, but rather $10.00 and Kitchen Aid agreed that the repairman, who worked for a maintenance company that THEY referred, should have replaced the part. But, there was really nothing that they could do. And then, they asked Charlie if there was anything else that they could do, to help provide "excellent customer service."

It's probably a good thing I wasn't the one on the phone because my temper would have undoubtedly boiled over. Whenever William spilled his juice today and yelled "OH SHEET!" I know that I need to do a better job watching my word choice around our children.

Or, at least start spelling more.

While I'm debating running out and buying a whole new dishwasher, I receive a call from my girl friend, Debbie (introduced above as the woman who made my life easier for two whole days by suggesting I use our dishwasher as a drying rack). Debbie also has 2.5-year old triplets and lives about a mile down the street.

She was calling to tell me that another of our fellow triplet moms, was sending out a plea for help and prayers because her 16-year old daughter has been missing since Saturday. Although they are still unclear as to whether she ran away from home or was lured from the house ... the fact remains that her 16-year old child is missing. This is her picture and information because there is always a chance that someone that sees it - might recognize her.

Within minutes, I received an e-mail from a neighbor who was sending out a request for prayers because her 35-year old daughter, a mother to two young children, has taken a turn for the worst and is rapidly losing her battle to breast cancer.

The phone rang again. This time from my Aunt Grace (Carolyn Grace's namesake). She was calling to tell me that our children are adorable - my blog is a highlight of her day - and her knee replacement surgery from six weeks ago has been unsuccessful. She will be having another round of major surgery to hopefully make the necessary repairs so that she can bend her leg and walk again.

I no sooner hung up and the phone rang once more. This time from my good friend, Virginia, who was calling to tell me that over Mother's Day weekend, her 39-year old friend, a mother to three young children, was killed on a camping trip when she took one final ride on her ATV, just moments before packing up and going home.

I called to talk with my mother, and hopefully, be cheered up. Mom told me that our family friend, Mary, who underwent an aorta replacement for her heart last week, was currently hooked up to life support and not expected to survive.

At this moment in time ... I have my children, I have my husband and we all have our health.

Suddenly, going three weeks without a dishwasher doesn't seem like the worst thing possible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

earning their keep

Now, I just need to teach William how to wash the dishes and everyday will be like a vacation.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Toddler Speak

I've determined that as a first-time parent, it's perfectly normal to worry about your child's developmental milestones.

Will my child ever sleep all night?

Will my child ever roll over?

Will my child ever crawl?

Will my child ever walk?

Is it normal for my child to make an absolute disaster every where they go?

Will my child ever be capable of effectively communicating with me - without whining or screaming?

I've heard of people who have children, around the same age as our toddlers, that are purportedly talking up a blue-streak. Their vocabulary consists of over 300 intelligible words, they can also speak and understand a second language, and they can perform over 200 various sign language signs.

That's really impressive considering my own vocabulary consists of a mere 150 words, the magnitude of my second language skills extends to ordering a beer and chips, and I'm only capable of signing "more ice cream."

I've also heard that it's likely our girls will be talking sooner than our boy.

I recall my good friend telling me that when her 2-year old daughter would play with a neighborhood boy, her little girl could articulate things like "Mommy, look at the ball. It's translucent."

Meanwhile, the 2-year old boy would grunt "Ooga Booga bawh!"

Until I had children of my own, I thought that all "normal" two-year old children were suppose to be capable of adequately expressing themselves with an appropriate vocabulary. I also thought that I would be having conversations about translucent objects with our girls while our boy played with his tractor in the mud and flapped a finger across his lips.

Because I am a first-time parent and worry is par for the course, I have found myself, on occasion, worrying about our children's language development skills - especially since I can't understand the vast majority of what they say.

To raise my concern of delayed language development yet a notch higher, last week at my doctor's appointment, I was perusing a parenting magazine and came across this nugget:

  • Between 6-12 months: A child begins to recognize words for common objects such as ball, juice, dog, understands simple directions; imitates different speech sounds, has one or two words, listens when spoken to.
  • Between 12-18 months: Has a vocabulary of five to 20 words, mostly nouns; uses some two-word questions suck as "Where kitty?" or "No juice"; follows simple directions; listens to stories, songs or rhymes.
  • Between 18-24 months: Increases vocabulary to 150 to 300 words; begins to use a few common prepositions such as in, on, under, combines nouns and verbs ("Mama go now"); approximately two-thirds of what is said is intelligible.
  • Between 24-36 months: Begins to understand opposite meanings such as stop-go, up-down; follows two-step directions such as "Get your shoes and put them in the closet"; about 90% of what is said is intelligible; can verbally relate an experience or activity using two- to three-word sentences.
According to the "experts" at 31-months old, our children should have a vocabulary >300 words, they should be using two- to three-word sentences and I ought to understand 90% of what they say.

Yet most times, I'm ready to sit in the mud flapping a finger across my lips.

After spending a lot of time with other children, about the same age as our children, I think that for the most part, our kids are on target with their language development. So either all of our kids are way behind ... or the experts are wrong.


Or, the experts aren't taking in to account the language development in multiple birth children.

Here's the thing: I have noticed that in general, singletons are slightly more advanced in the verbal department. But, there's good reason for that. In our house, there are more 2-year olds than there are adults. As such, our children are learning from each other - in addition to what they are learning from Charlie and I.

Subsequently, they have begun to develop their own language.

But I have yet to meet a child, singleton or not, the same age as our children, that has a vocabulary >300 words and 90% of the words they say are intelligible. Or, maybe their words are intelligible to their parents, but certainly not to the rest of society that hasn't developed a knack for translating toddler jabber.

Even though I may not be able to understand everything that our children say - they understand each other perfectly well and often use the same words to describe an object. For example:

"Uhtme" is monkey.

"Deety" is Carolyn's blanket.

"Ba-ba" is William's blanket.

"Neeny" is Elizabeth's blanket.

"Ooce" is juice.

"Antee" is elephant.

Not to be confused with "ante" which is ant.

"Sisa" is sister.

"Bee-bae" is Elizabeth.

"Twacie" is Gracie (Carolyn)

"Whim" is William.

Do these words, that I understand - but anyone else would not - count as intelligible? Because if so, than perhaps I am not giving our children enough credit.

It has surprised me that William's language is more advanced than the girls. I'm not close to understanding 90% of what he says, but I find it interesting that he will try very hard to enunciate his words. He also tries to repeat everything that he hears and is an exceptional counter.

Carolyn sings the most. Although I only understand perhaps 30% of the words she uses, she can carry a tune better than I, and belts out "Happy Birthday", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" , "Old MacDonald" and "Wheels On The Bus" like she's been singing them for years.

Elizabeth babbles the most, has the least developed language skills (probably exacerbated by her thumb sucking) and refers to everything small as "baby." Just tonight, she ate a "baby swabey" (strawberry) for dessert after she ate her "baby pita" (pizza). But when you ask her how she's doing, she will give you a "thumbs up" and smile.

Our children's vocabulary consists of a lot more words, even more convoluted that I have yet to decipher, that they'll rattle off throughout the day.

Yesterday, while taking a walk, I watched Elizabeth lean over to Carolyn and say "Zee dee frah jah, oye lah zee." Carolyn then reached in to her pocket and handed her a cookie. Elizabeth smiled and said "Tank you, sisa!"

When I really pay attention and focus on what they are saying, I will catch a gem, here and there. Like last week when I was at Costco and I had all three in the cart. As I was walking up and down the aisles looking for an item, I asked myself outloud, "Where is the applesauce?"

Because I became distracted, I wasn't paying very close attention to their babbling. But when I noticed that all three of them had their hands up-turned, I honed in on what they were saying and caught "Appa Sawce. Whea AWE You?"

And late last week, I overheard William ask the question, clear as day "Who wants ice cweam?" and then join in with the chorus of his sisters, "I DO!!!"

Even though we may not understand everything that they say, they certainly understand everything that we say. If Charlie and I mention that we're contemplating a day at the Zoo or at Sea World, the children will run to find their shoes and coats.

As a result, more and more, we have resorted to spelling things that we don't want for them to understand. If we're planning to go to C-H-U-R-C-H, there is no way we can utter the word without all three of our children going completely boneless and slipping in to a state of massive hysteria.

It's become clear that our spelling skills will be vastly improving as we try to communicate freely, around our kids. This phenomenon of "conveyance of information in code" apparently extends to all parents of young children.

Recently, while out with my fellow triplet moms, all of whom have 2-year olds, one of my friends pointed out that we were among the only women in the crowded restaurant. Another friend looked around and nonchalantly said, "That's because everyone is G-A-Y."

So not only do I think that our 2-year olds communication skills are on track ... I suspect Charlie's and mine are, too.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Home improvement is no easy task.

ESPECIALLY when you are frantically painting the entire inside of your house.

Before your baseboards and hardwood floors are installed.

And you have three 2-year olds running amuck.

That you are trying to corral in one area of the house.

And they have figured out how to take down the baby gate.

By running in to it like a bull runs in to a matador's flag.

And your husband is trying to shoo them off the fourth step of the ladder with his foot.

While he stands precariously perched on the sixth step.

And once you sit down to play with something outside, that you think will keep them happily entertained, they are distracted in seconds and want nothing more than to go inside.

Before you can haul your 200+ pound self up, they are opening the sliding glass door and running in to the house.

And touching the walls.

And running their hands through their hair.

Last night, we hosted a small group which delayed the completion of painting our family room by several hours.

Rather than capitalize on the opportunity of having our children out of the way - we met with our fellow parishioners and discussed how piling too much on one's plate can cause stress.

Kind of like the stress that comes from hosting a small group when you should be painting.

Before having new baseboards and floors installed.

When you are 8-months pregnant.

Or washing dishes, that could just be thrown in to an appliance and washed for you, provided that appliance worked.

And you don't get to bed until 1 AM.

With good intentions of getting out of bed to finish painting before the children are awake.

But then, you oversleep and don't get up until 7 AM.

To the sound of a child climbing on top of their dresser.

Cranking up music on their CD player as loud as it will go.

And you're trying to prepare breakfast, keep the children out of your husband's way who is trying to finish painting, get them dressed, pack a picnic lunch and make plans to go to the zoo.

Because the children love the zoo.

And they really need an outing.

After having watched every Pixar film in the past 24 hours.

Because that was the only thing that seemed to keep them out of the way.

And then realizing that YOU can't go to the zoo by yourself, because you have to pee every three minutes.

And you remembered the doctor telling you that your edema is bad and you need to stay off your feet as much as possible during the day.

So, instead, you stop your husband from painting and send HIM to the zoo.

With strict instructions to get the children really, really tired so that when he comes home from the zoo, they will sleep soundly for several hours.

And then, HE can finish painting the rest of the house.

While you finish the ten loads of laundry that need to be washed today.

And go to the grocery store.

And try putting the house back together.

Before the triplet playdate you are suppose to host tomorrow.

For twelve 2-year olds.

After a conference call that you have to take at 8 AM.

At some point, you'll need to drop off the family room curtains that need to be dry cleaned.

Because you've learned that washing "dry clean only" curtains yourself is a bad idea.

Unless you want your curtains to be 5-inches shorter than before.

At least you got the baby blanket finished for Madeleine.

Now you have to mail it.

To Canada.

But instead of doing any of these things, you're updating your blog.

Thinking about all that you have to do.

And how wonderful it will look, when finished.

Yet wondering if you can do it all, since you are only functioning at 20% capacity.

Or, if Charlie can do it.

While you sit back.

With your feet up.

Eating a chocolate chip cookie.

Dreaming about the day mom finally arrives to help.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jen = Customer Service Nightmare

Home improvement is no easy task.

Not just because it's a lot of work to do home improvement, especially if you are do-it-yourselfers like we are, but because sometimes it's hard to know when to stop.

For instance...

We are replacing our carpeting with hardwood floors.

We are replacing our 1-inch baseboards with custom 4-inch baseboards.

We are painting the inside of our house.

We are replacing our front door.

But then, I started looking at the door frames and decided that if we are going to have these beautiful 4-inch baseboards, it would be nice if the door frames matched. Infact, it would be nice to replace our hollow interior doors with solid core doors. And if we're going to do that, maybe we should also consider doing a nice frame around our windows. And maybe, we ought to just replace our windows.

Because I had no idea what this change of scope would do to our budget, I decided to go on a fact finding mission. So this afternoon, after convincing Charlie that I could go off with one child while he took the other two on a bike ride, I took William to a custom window, door and molding store.

My first tip of the day is to never, ever go to a custom window, door and molding store with a 2.5-year old child when you are 8-months pregnant.

Infact, even if you're not 8-months pregnant, taking a toddler to a custom window, door and molding store is a bad idea.

A really, really bad idea.

Unless you have the ability to strap your child in to a pint-sized straight jacket.

Or, unless you find enjoyment in watching your child unintentionally knock over an 8-foot door, which hit another 8-foot door, and another, such that 3-inch solid wood doors, that weigh no less than 200 pounds each (approximately as much as you do), come crashing down on the floor.

It was like watching Stonehenge fall.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. But if there was ever a time I wish that I could be invisible - it would have been this afternoon at approximately 4:17 PM.

Right after the dust settled and I stopped screaming "Oh Good Lord ... NO!!!!!"

We returned home and while I inspected the pile of dishes that had accumulated in the sink, and the clean dishes that were littered across our counters "drying", I remembered that tomorrow is Saturday and that means we are going to get our dishwasher repaired.


All through graduate school, Charlie and I didn't have a dishwasher and although it was something that we got use to ... it was always something that we missed. I specifically recall promising myself that in our next house, and all of our houses forever more, we would have a dishwasher. It is by far - my most relied upon appliance.

Rivaled only by a washing machine.

A dryer.

A refrigerator.

And a stove.

Not having a dishwasher for the past few days has been really tough. Even though I normally wouldn't complain about washing dishes, this is a particularly daunting task when you have an 8-month pregnant belly that severely hinders the functional distance between your hands and the faucet.

So tonight, once we had sat down to dinner, I reminded Charlie that in 24-hours, we were going to have a fully operational dishwasher.

Double Yippee!!

It was a moment of joy, just knowing that by tomorrow, at that very time, we wouldn't be eating off of paper plates and our counters would no longer be covered with random utensils. That our children would pull off the counter before they would dry. And run through the house with. And we would end up washing the same exact item five times before it was ever put away.

For a moment, a clutter-free feeling of euphoria settled over us.

And then, the phone rang.

My hat truly goes off to customer service representatives whether they work in a custom window, door and molding store where pregnant women stand dumbfounded as their 2-year old child knocks over massive doors ... OR ... if they are the unfortunate soul who has to make a call at 6:30 PM to inform a customer that the technician who was suppose to be at their house the very next morning to repair their defunct piece of crap Kitchen Aid dishwasher that has broken four times in four months, is unavailable and the soonest they can schedule a repair would be Wednesday.

Working with the general public - particularly if they are in the third trimester of pregnancy - can be a tough job.

Hence, my second tip of the day is to never, ever call an 8-month pregnant woman, who has 2-year old triplets, when she has been without a dishwasher for five days and tell her that it is going to be another five days before someone can come out and complete the repair.

Or if you are in that unfortunate position ... at least once during the course of the conversation, throw in a "I'm really sorry for the inconvenience." And say it like you mean it.

After listening to me on the phone - Charlie decided that he is going to handle the repair calls and fact finding missions from this point on.

Apparently, he didn't think it was *appropriate* for me to tell the customer service representative that I was going to sue them all the way to bankruptcy if they didn't find a way to get someone out to our house before Wednesday of next week.

Funny, I don't recall saying that.

Although everything did go kind of white after I heard the words, "No technician available ... reschedule ... next week." The only thing I remember is "Oh Good Lord ... NO!!!!!"

So, I've resigned myself from doing just about anything ... except incubate. After today, my husband has endorsed my decision to stay at home and keep my feet up.

It's so relaxing, you know.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

he's on a roll

Today, I came home after a long day at "work" to the aroma of fresh baked cookies and a spotless house. Now, granted, the cleaning people were here this morning - but the fact that the house was still clean several hours later ... is downright impressive.

Over dinner, Charlie was telling me about a conversation he'd had with one of his colleagues. Apparently, he was explaining that he wasn't in a position to go out of town on any business trips for a while, because he didn't want to leave his 8-month pregnant wife at home, alone, with our 2.5-year old triplets.

And then - it struck him.

My God.

Jen's pregnant.

We're going to have a new baby.

In a matter of

As he was telling me the story, Charlie became animated - his eyes got big - he started talking fast - and his arms were gesturing about all the things he needs to do before the new baby arrives. The nesting bug that I had seems like nothing compared to the psychosis that has overcome my husband in the past few days.

This weekend, Charlie's planning to paint the entire inside of our house before we're scheduled to have our hardwood floors installed next week.

He's also planning to paint 500 linear feet of 4-inch baseboards, replace the lighting fixtures in the bathroom, and re-arrange the children's rooms.

He's lined up a vent cleaning service to blast out all of the airducts in our house.

He's replacing the smoke detectors and installing carbon monoxide alarms.

He's ordering and installing a new front door with three different locking devices.

He's packing a bag for the hospital and has lined up 10 different people to call on, in the event I go in to labor before my mother comes to California, next month.

He's laminating and hanging on the side of the refrigerator the list with the 10 different names.

And then, he's going to hunt down a buffalo - with his bare hands - smoke the meat and use the hide to make a cradleboard for our newborn son.

My goal this weekend is to attend our monthly neighborhood crafting event.

I'd really like to finish knitting the baby blanket I started five months ago for the Higgins' before Madeleine starts Kindergarten.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Career Man

People have been asking me, a lot lately, when I'm planning to stop working because I must be getting exhausted. And then they look at me with a curious expression when I start laughing out loud.

As if ... working makes me tired!!

Yesterday, I was home all day by myself while Charlie was at a meeting. By the time he arrived home at 5 PM, I was completely flat on the couch and unable to move.

Although I had managed to wash seven loads of laundry - I hadn't managed to put them all away - and I wasn't able to clean up the mess we'd made during lunch. Children were crawling all over me, throwing toys in every direction, climbing on the table, eating crayons ... and I had lost the ability to stand up unassisted.

The reality is, at this point in my pregnancy, staying home for one day by myself with 3-2 year olds is a lot more challenging than putting in an 80-hour work week, where I can sit comfortably behind a desk with my feet up and populate spreadsheets.

If taking care of 3-2 year olds wasn't challenging enough, add to that each child goes poop no less than three times a day and I have to chase them around the house, snag them, throw them over my shoulder, and wrestle with them on the changing table while they vehemently protest having their dirty diaper changed.

So yesterday, I proposed to Charlie that perhaps it would be better if I were to start working more and he spent more time at home, with our children during these last few weeks of my gestation. Being the amazing man that he is ... he agreed.

Today, was Charlie's day to be home.

At 7 AM, Charlie informed me that our dishwasher has broken for the fourth time, in four months. When he called the service representative, he was told that the soonest they could be here is Saturday. Between now and then, one of us Charlie will be handwashing at least 60 sippy cups.

At 8 AM, a new contractor arrived to give us a quote for replacing our carpet with hardwood floors. While I was preparing to leave for the day, Charlie gathered important information about installation and then entertained the children while dimensions were measured.

At 9 AM, I left for a meeting. Charlie finished meeting with the contractor, got the kids dressed and rushed out the door for dance class. But only after he finished feeding the children breakfast, cleaning up the kitchen, getting himself dressed, getting the kids dressed, packing a diaper bag, making a shopping list and feeding the dog.

Between 10 AM and 1 PM, while I was comfortably reclining in a chair at my consultant's office ... Charlie took the kids to dance class by himself, danced with all the other mom's while our children stood shyly in a corner, wondered why we paid good money for this class, loaded the kids in to the car, drove to Costco, decided not to fight with them and let everyone ride in the basket (such that he had no room in the basket for all the food he was buying which subsequently had to be stored underneath the cart), bought everyone pizza and ice cream for lunch at the food court, drove home, brought the kids in to the house, changed their diapers, changed their clothes, washed their faces, and put them down for a nap.

Between 1 PM and 3 PM, while I was snacking on beef jerky and laughing with one of my consultant's who was relaying the story of his wife's elegant baby shower being crashed by three of their friends - in the nude - Charlie was putting the finishing touches on our bedroom that he painted this past weekend, he was checking his work e-mail, responding to various phone calls, washing all the dirty dishes that had been in our dishwasher from yesterday and all the dishes that had accumulated thus far today ... and starting to prepare dinner.

Between 3 PM and 6 PM, while I was discussing with my consultants what we were going to order for lunch - tomorrow ... Charlie was chasing the children around the house and yard, reading them stories, breaking up fights, feeding them snacks, and cleaning up the disasters that they'd made.

When I arrived home at 6:30 PM, Charlie had just finished feeding the children dinner. He was cleaning the kitchen and about to give everyone a sponge bath before changing them in to their pajamas. While I sat back on the couch with my puffy feet elevated, Charlie put away all the toys, cleaned chunks of meatloaf off the floor, filled me in on his day, and restocked the diapers.

By 7:00 PM, Charlie was standing at our front door, talking to one of his co-workers who swung by our house on his way out of town for a field assignment. As the project manager, Charlie wanted to make sure that the guy had all the equipment necessary to complete the job and understood the work he had to perform.

By 7:30 PM, Charlie had tucked everyone in to bed, said evening prayers, pulled my dinner out of the oven - served it up on a clean paper plate - brought it to me on the couch with a glass of ice water and handed me the remote control so I could watch American Idol at 8 PM.

By 8:15 PM, he brought me a bowl of ice cream.

By 9:00 PM, he was giving me a foot rub.

By 10:00 PM, he was seated in front of his laptop computer, responding to all the work related e-mails that he'd received throughout the day and lining up conference calls, for tomorrow.

Wait a minute.

I just peered over his shoulder and he is playing Spider Solitaire.

And here I was thinking he was actually busy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Birth Order

I've often wondered if there was much truth to the theory that personality traits are shaped by a child's birth order. I know that in my own family, there is a huge difference in personality between my oldest sister and myself and I've seen similar characteristics in other families, between the oldest sibling and the youngest. The "stereotype" is that the oldest is a perfectionist often misconstrued as a "control freak" ... while the youngest is a carefree soul, often misconstrued as "spoiled".

I've also wondered if it was possible that although our children were born within 3-minutes of each other, that there are differences in their personalities based on when they were born. The more I've read up on this topic and witnessed the personalities that are emerging with our young children, the more I am convinced that birth order does infact, have an effect on personality.

Probably more so with multiples.

For starters ... I'm absolutely positively certain - without a doubt - that Carolyn and Elizabeth were switched at birth.

When I was expecting our triplets, we knew that Baby A was a boy.

Baby B was one of our girls that rarely moved around.

Baby C was our second girl, the smallest of the trio, and extremely active.

This was the baby that flipped in utero during one of my ultrasounds - was counted twice - and for a few very tense moments ... Charlie and I were convinced we were having quadruplets. This is the baby that was always smaller than the other two and the one that would give Charlie and I an abdominal acrobatic show every night.

While I was pregnant, I imagined that Baby C was going to be a tiny little firecracker when she was born. I had heard, many times over, that a baby often behaves on the "inside" as they will on the "outside".

If the baby is constantly flipping and rolling in utero, chances are, they will constantly be moving ex utero, too.

Hence my surprise that when the babies did arrive, Baby C was the larger of the two girls. Even more surprising, the baby I had been informed was Baby C, and whom we named Carolyn Grace, was the most laid back child you ever did come across. From the moment we brought her home from the hospital, all she did was sleep.

She would sleep through her feedings.

She would sleep through her baths.

While the other two would wake up howling, whenever she woke up, she did it with a coo.

Her sister, meanwhile, would never stop moving. She squirmed out of her swaddled blankets, she would scootch across her crib or floor, and needed to be held ... all the time.

Recently, Charlie created a growth stick for the children. It's a simple 6-foot wooden stick and on it, he has recorded the children's birth lengths and their lengths/heights at 3-months, 6-months, 9-months, 1-year and 2-years old.

As Charlie was transferring this data on to the growth stick - he noticed that Baby C, Carolyn, was recorded as being born a full inch shorter than Baby B, Elizabeth. Although, we knew in the NICU that Carolyn was actually the larger baby. Moreover, Carolyn has consistently been taller than Elizabeth during each measurement.

What I believe happened is that they were mixed up following the birth and enroute to the NICU.

If their size wasn't enough to convince me, more evidence to support my theory that our girls were switched at birth is their personalities.

Elizabeth is the quintessential youngest child. She is a little firecracker - the epitome of what I imagined Baby C to be. She is currently 5 pounds lighter than her brother and sister and at least an inch shorter. She was the first to roll, crawl, cruise, walk, climb, scale furniture and counters - and just today - hopped over the baby gate in the nursery. Although she clings to me when we are at home, when we are out in public, she is a social butterfly. She never cries at playdates - has little to no fear - and as a result, will get in to more trouble and faster, than the other two, combined.

She loves to push my buttons and will do things, solely to see my reaction. She loves to push her sibling's buttons. She loves to push the dog's buttons. Yet, she gets away with (almost) everything that she does because she is so fiesty and adorable.

Carolyn is the quintessential middle child. She is extremely laid back - with a cheery disposition and a peacemaking ability that her siblings lack, she can often be found playing quietly by herself (but not overlooked!!) Although her personality frequently borders on melodramatic. Whenever we raise our voice with her, it is almost inevitable that she will turn away from us, with eyes full of tears, and a deep sigh. Unless we immediately apologize, she will make it obvious that the only way she can see us, through her tears, is by contorting her face so that her eyes are open as wide as possible.

This morning, when the children had driven me to the brink less than 5-minutes after they were out of bed and I sent them scurrying off to play in William's room while I tried to prepare breakfast ... it was Carolyn that slowly approached me in the kitchen. With a cautious smile and little hands that reached out to rub my leg, I could tell that she was testing the waters before summoning her siblings to come out of hiding.

William is the quintessential oldest child. He is the leader of the pack. He is and has always been, the most vocal of the group. Now a days, he will shout orders like a drill sergeant. Yesterday, I watched as he took Elizabeth by the hand and made her stand in time-out for throwing a toy, and today, he informed Carolyn that her time was up and it was Elizabeth's turn to play on the rocking chair. He is an enforcer of rules and a 2-year old perfectionist ... although, he doesn't necessarily follow all the rules, himself.

This afternoon, before lunch, he told me that he wanted to sit in the "big chair" ... meaning, a chair without a booster seat. Approving his request, I told him that to sit in the "big chair" he had to sit on his bum. Halfway through lunch, I watched him stand up in his chair and with one stern finger - point at his sister, Carolyn, who was standing in her chair - and disapprovingly tell her "Sit on BUM, Twacie!!"

Maybe it's purely coincidence that their personalities so closely match the birth order descriptions I've read about. But I think it's interesting that many of the characteristics they had as tiny infants, they possess now. Only time will tell if their personality traits will persist as they grow older, or, as we add a new baby to the family.

One thing is for sure. William's a lot more modest than his younger sisters.

For all the Moms...

... young and old and those yet to be ...

Happy Mother's Day to you!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Keeping them in bed...

... is also much more difficult now, than it ever was before.

I don't know why I never thought about our babies growing in to toddlers that would be capable of climbing in and out of their cribs whenever they want. But, this whole escape, "Hey I'm FREE!" thing has taken some time to sink in.

I've already mentioned that the kids have been climbing out of their cribs ... consistently ... for the past several months.

Infact, I can't recall the last time that I had to physically lift someone out of their crib. When they wake up from their nap, or for the day, they'll climb out of their crib and call for me. While the girls are stuck behind the baby gate that separates their room from the rest of the house, William will walk out of his room and come find me - wherever I may be.

Every single morning, for the past two weeks, he'll come cruising in to our room at 6:30 AM, sharp, with his blankets and stuffed animals in hand, and cheerily call out "Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy! Wake Up!!"

Last night, Charlie and I were up late finishing some work, and didn't get to bed until almost 1 AM. When William came strolling in this morning, I saw Charlie groggily patting around the top of his head and asking "Where's the snooze button?!"

For the most part, William is content to crawl in to bed and lie with us for another 30 minutes before we get up for the day. But quite often, this morning for example, he'll climb across our faces for the remote control so that he can flip on The Disney Channel and then, in a piercing toddler octave with his mouth pressed against my ear, ask for "JUICE!!"

We've been really struggling with the whole sleeping arrangement, in part because I've been in denial that our children are, in fact, growing up. Yet they remain incredibly disinterested in potty training.

Although the cribs have no moveable parts (i.e. railings that go up or down), watching the kids escape from - and return to - their beds with such ease, has us convinced that it's time for a change. Even though I'd like them to stay in cribs until they are four, at least they're consistent.

I'm noticing that very rarely are they doing things that I'd "like" for them to do.

I've heard some good things about crib tents, but they were never really an option for us. Not just because I didn't want to fork out the $80.00 per crib tent, but because I don't think they would have worked very well with the style crib that we have.

Putting the mattress on the floor and flipping the crib over on top of them, was something that I have seriously considered - but Charlie vetoed my suggestion.

We contemplated selling all of the cribs and purchasing big beds for everyone. But since we already own the cribs - and the matching dresser, hutch and changing table - it makes the most economic sense to stick with what we have and buy the kids bona fide "big" beds when they are a little older.

Suffice to say, this has been a challenge trying to figure out what would work best for the kids - best for us - and work well with our itsy bitsy teeny tiny house.

And now ... we've got a new baby coming.

A new baby that will require a crib.

And if there is one thing I don't want to do ... it's buy another crib.

When we learned that we were expecting triplets, we rushed out and bought three of the same exact cribs, with the matching dresser, hutch and changing table. It's a pretty collection and the crib converts to a toddler bed, or a full size bed, with the appropriate conversion kit(s).

Within the past few days, we've decided to convert one of the cribs to a toddler bed for William. One of the cribs will be converted to a full bed for the girls because most mornings, we find the two of them sleeping together, anyway. And the third crib - will remain a crib for the new baby.

When we bought these cribs, we settled on them because they were visually appealing, constructed well, would grow for the next several years with our children, and most importantly - we were told by the sales representative that this beautiful style would be around for years to come.

In hindsight, I should have asked them to define "years".

When we called to order the conversion kits today, we were told that they stopped making this style crib several months ago.

And, no one in San Diego does business with the manufacturer anymore.

And, we can only buy from an authorized distributor.

And, the only authorized distributor we could locate is in Cleveland, Ohio.

And, they can't ship the parts.

Thanks to Google and a small amount of cursing ... we found a company in Southern California (a mere 2.5-hours north) that has one toddler bed conversion kit in stock. And, they ordered one of the full bed conversion kits, immediately after the crib was discontinued and the shipment is expected in 6-8 weeks.

Or, right about the time we'll need another bed at the inn.

We've determined that although William does remarkably well sleeping on his own, he will be moved back in with the girls, behind the baby gate ... because as much as he loves having his own room, we love - even more - having an extra 30 minutes of undisturbed sleep, every morning.

The third crib will be moved in to our room, where the new baby will sleep for the first few months. This will free up William's bedroom, which will be a guestroom for all the anxious volunteers that will soon be lining up to come help us.

Eventually, William will be moved back in to his bedroom ... with his little brother.

Or, we'll move in to a larger house.

Where William will share a room ... with his little brother.

When that time comes to buy more bedroom furniture, I've decided that we're going to spend the extra money for a quality line that I know will be around. Infact, this is what I have in mind for the girls room and this is for the boys. Although, their bedding will have to be something other than airplanes.

As for now, we've got it figured out.

And if anyone thinks that it's a bad idea to have two toddler girls sleep in a full-sized bed together, please don't tell me.

Self-doubt will send me in to a frenzy of talking to realtors and trying to sell our house, buy a new one and move ... before July 4th.

Besides, we've already paid for the conversion kit.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Putting them to bed...

... is much more difficult now ....

... than it use to be.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Career Woman

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a geologist.

No, I take that back.

I wanted to be a geologist the summer I flew from South Carolina to California to visit my sister, Eileen, who was working as a chemist in an environmental laboratory. For a glorious month the summer after my 10th grade year, I worked in the lab, beside my sister, helping to prepare soil and groundwater samples for chemical analysis.

As much fun as it was handling samples that were heavily contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, I was especially impressed by the hordes of breathtakingly gorgeous good looking guys that would bring these samples in from the "field". I would listen intently as they told me their stories of geology - which seemed to involve camping at some beautiful and remote location - every weekend.

Not only did it appear that the "field" of geology was full of breathtakingly gorgeous good looking guys, I thought it would be a lot more fun to spend my time in the outdoors collecting samples rather than sit in a lab all day.

Returning home to South Carolina, I was convinced that I would grow up and be a geologist. I had absolutely no idea what a degree in geology entailed, nor did I have any idea what I would do with my degree, once obtained. I just envisioned I'd spend beautiful days in the "field" working alongside breathtakingly gorgeous good looking guys ... and on the weekend, I would go camping in the mountains.

What could be better?

I'll tell you this ... as a 16-year old girl ... NOTHING!

By the time I went off to college, I was steadfast that I would major in geology. Unfortunately, my school at the time, Winthrop College, didn't have a geology program - but I was lucky enough to meet with an advisor, who got me lined up to take all the necessary courses before I transferred to a school where I could complete my degree.

As it turns out, my advisor, a breathtakingly gorgeous a handsome man, just so happened to have a PhD in geology and would take off on camping trips to the mountains every weekend.

That pretty much concluded my research that I was indeed making the right choice for my future.

I'm totally getting away from the story that I wanted to tell, about my day, today. So I'll have to save for some other time, the part about moving to California so I could finish my degree - meeting Charlie as we played for the title of Intramural Singles Tennis Champion - soon discovering that he was a geology major, hitting on him in a hot tub, getting married and giving birth to triplets after trying to start a family for almost 10 years.

The important part of the long-winded introduction was to say that I've known for quite some time that I've wanted to be a geologist. And aside from the work force that is inundated with attractive people, the weekend camping trips that we haven't taken in (let's see 30-month old triplets, plus 12 months, minus 2, carry the 1) three years, I truly love the science of geology.

What's better yet is that there is an amazing need for geologists. If we don't find happiness in the oil and gas industry - there's a good chance we'll find it in geotechnical - research and education - or environmental.

As for me, I've been working in some component of the environmental industry, ever since my 10th grade summer in the laboratory with my sister, Eileen. Not only have I had some wonderful job experiences, I've met some wonderful people along the way.

Before our children were born, I was very involved in my career. My most valuable piece of equipment was my laptop computer and my PDA. It was not unusual that I would work a 70-hour work week and feel motivated to do the same exact thing, the following week.

Just because I loved it so.

Once our children were born, I took a year off, and then - decided that I wanted to get back in to my career, albeit on a part-time basis. The arrangement that Charlie and I have currently, really couldn't be any better. I get to enjoy my career and work from our home alongside my children and my geologist husband, who just so happens to be a breathtakingly gorgeous handsome man.

Life is good.

I am a mom.

I am a career woman.

One day, hopefully soon, we'll be able to go camping again.

Today, Charlie had to leave early to go out in the "field."

I had an important conference call with 45 of my co-workers that was scheduled to begin at 9 AM. I knew that this coincided with the conclusion of breakfast and with some planning, the kids would be happily playing in their sandbox so I could participate in my call, from the quiet backyard.

One thing I've learned is that around here - things very rarely go "according to plan."

Just as I was dialing in to my conference call - while the children were sitting at the kitchen table happily eating their fresh fruit with cottage cheese - Elizabeth projectile vomited. Carolyn and William started to shriek "Oh-no, boo-boo!!" as I informed the other 45 participants in the conference call that I had joined the meeting.

Grabbing a mega size roll of Bounty papertowels, I started to mop up the mess that was across the table, all the while praying that this was an isolated event and not some horrific viral bug that would spread throughout the entire family and cause everyone to vomit for the next 7 to 14 days. (As of this posting, it does indeed seem to be an isolated event).

I dropped my 8-month pregnant body to my knees and began to clean up the floor, as Elizabeth vomited another two times. Just then, I was hit in the head by a fistful of cottage cheese.

Vomit was flying all over the place.

Cottage cheese was flying all over the place.

I grabbed Elizabeth from her chair, stripped her of her vomit-soaked pajamas, dunked her in the kitchen sink for a quick bath, and dried her off with papertowels. I quickly got her dressed, surrounded her with more papertowels and plopped her on the sofa.

I then stripped William and Carolyn of their pajamas which were caked with cottage cheese, cleaned them up the best I could with papertowels, got them dressed and plopped them on the sofa next to their sister. I set about sweeping up the mounds of cottage cheese and vomit from our floor, which was a lot more difficult than I expected, before pulling out the mop to sanitize.

All the while, I was participating in my conference call.

When I think back, just a few years ago, never once did I imagine that as a career woman, this is the kind of life I'd lead.

But here I am.

With a mega roll of Bounty papertowels in one hand ... a telephone with "mute" capabilities in the other ... and a purple dinosaur on public television, I can do everything that I once did.

And then some.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

I've received several e-mails from people, and a few phone calls, wondering what prompted a triple time out on Monday.

Here's a photo sequence. Be sure to notice who is in the background, observing every move his sister makes. Not shown in this photo is another little monkey, standing behind me.

Also, observing every move her sister makes...

Thanks to Elizabeth, all three of them have learned this trick, hence prompting the triple time out. Once I got everyone dressed for the day, I went to drop off a load of laundry 15 feet away. When I came back, they were perched on the counter smiling and yelling "CHEEEESE!!!"

I then proceeded to pluck them off the counter no less than four times over the next hour. In hindsight, I was surely sending a mixed signal when I pulled out my camera to take a picture of Elizabeth, the first time she tried this, all the while telling her "There is absolutely NO climbing on the counters to turn the garbage disposal on!!"

And I wonder.

What happened to my 3-pound preemies?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Yet one more reason...

...we need a larger house.

Too few corners when we have a triple time-out.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Who Needs The Gym?

Our children are getting to be so much fun.

They're really evolving in to the most awesome little people. The past couple of weeks, I have been convinced that I'd like to keep them at this age forever. Which is a good thing, because last month, I was prepared to give all three of them away.

Free - to a good home.

Every night before bed, we've been playing music from The Laurie Berkner Band and the kids go absolutely nuts when they hear their favorite song "I'm Gonna Catch You." They'll stop what ever it is they are doing and take off running around the center island in our kitchen.

And around.

And around.

And around.

This is some video footage I shot, yesterday. After watching the clip, I can't decide who is having a better time ... Charlie or the kids?

I think that it's extremely impressive that Elizabeth stops running - grabs bunny - and then proceeds to suck her thumb, while running, for the next 2 minutes. (Although she does flip him to the side at one point when she needs to focus on her stride.)

I also think it's extremely impressive that Charlie, after ripping his pocket clean off his shorts, doesn't stop.

This might be considered very good training for the next marathon Charlie plans to run.

As for me, I'm burning calories just watching them.

From my vantage point on the couch.

Where I sit with a chocolate chip cookie that I had to quickly hide from Gracie.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

in all fairness

How could I possibly let the girls go to dance class wearing their new tutus and not let William do the same?

Elizabeth is the dancer in our group. She loved it and hung by the teacher's side the entire class.

William preferred to catch a ride on Charlie's back when we had to "swim like a dolphin".

Meanwhile, Carolyn preferred to hang on my pant leg and scream.

As much fun as the kids had in dance, they particularly enjoyed playing in the rock garden just outside the classroom. Although they may not know how to use a potty or drink from a cup, they certainly know how to differentiate an augen gneiss from a porphyritic granite.

Little geologists, in the making. We are so proud.

Charlie is also proud that William will soon have a little brother. He keeps saying something about needing "more testosterone" in the house.

Whatever that means.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pregnancy: A comparative analysis

Today, I am 31 weeks pregnant. Because I delivered our triplets at 30 weeks 6 days, this is the longest I've ever been "on the nest".

I know that if our baby were to be delivered now, he would most likely weigh somewhere between 3 pounds 2 ounces (like his sister Elizabeth), or 3 pounds 14 ounces (like his brother, William). The cartiledge in his ears would not yet be developed and he might have a difficult time breathing on his own. He would be unable to regulate his own body temperature and would probably have frequent events of apnea and bradycardia. He would be unable to take food without a gavage tube, and most likely, would not be able to take all of his meals from a bottle for at least the next three weeks. If nature intended - he would have a head full of hair, I'm guessing brown (?), and his forearm would be no longer than my index finger.

I'm definitely not ready for this baby to make his arrival, but after delivering nine-week premature triplets ... I am flooded with a sense of relief that I have made it as far as I have, without any complications.

Because of this monumental occasion, I thought I'd spend a moment and reflect on the differences between this singleton pregnancy - which transpired after a $25.00 nice bottle of wine and a good church service ... and the triplet pregnancy - which transpired after tens of thousands of dollars, multiple surgeries, hundreds of intramuscular injections and interviewing several fertility clinics through out Southern California.


The triplet pregnancy is still so fresh on my mind that any discomforts I feel with this pregnancy are miniscule. In the third trimester with the triplets I had heartburn, sleepless nights, pillows strategically placed beneath every limb, spontaneous nosebleeds, extreme carpal tunnel, extreme swelling, severe breathlessness and the inability to lift myself on to - or off of - the toilet without assistance.

In the third trimester of this pregnancy, I am still sleeping on my back and possess the ability to skip, jump and go down slides at the park. The only time I really think about uncomfortable side-effects from this pregnancy is when I look at my legs and feet.

Speaking of which: I never really understood where the term barefoot and pregnant came from, until now. As you get further along in a pregnancy, it becomes damn near impossible to put on socks and equally difficult to put on shoes. And pantyhose? Forget about it.

Thanks in large part to my phenomenol ability to retain fluid, I have outgrown all of my shoes except flip-flops and my new Keen's. After some considerable thought, I don't know how babies are born in cold weather climates. The act of putting on snowboots is unfathomable and you'd think - would result in the suffocation of both mother and child.

Baby Movements

When I was pregnant with the triplets, someone was constantly hiccuping, flipping, rolling and kicking. With this pregnancy, I only feel the baby move when I am slightly reclined. Although he will squirm around, it's nowhere like the mosh pit I had with the triplets.

Bladder Control

I don't recall being in the bathroom 20 hours out of a day with the triplet pregnancy. Maybe it was because I was sitting down more and not up running all over the place. With this pregnancy, I have two distinct sensations:

1) The feeling that I have to go.

2) The feeling that I have just gone. But moments later, refer to #1) above.

Health Care

I was a celebrity when I was pregnant with the triplets. I was on a first name basis with all the perinatologists and nurses, and would receive frequent calls from my insurance company to see how everything was progressing. By my third trimester, at least two times a week I was at the doctor's office receiving ultrasounds and/or non-stress testing.

When I was at home, people catered to me.

I'm "just another pregnant lady" with this here, singleton. My run-of-the-mill OB/GYN will be moving to a different facility at the end of this month and has left it up to me if I want to continue under his care - or be seen by a new doctor. Now that I've passed 30 weeks, I will have appointments once every two weeks (not sure who with). To date, I've only had a total of two ultrasounds and no more are planned.

When I am at home, I cater to a multitude of small people.


Long before our triplets arrived, I had the nursery entirely setup. The carseats were ready, the stroller had been ordered, the crib was assembled, the diaper bag was stocked and all of the hundred plus items of baby clothing had been washed in Dreft and neatly put away.

With this baby, we're still not sure where he is going to sleep, how we'll get him home from the hospital and I'm of the mindset a diaper and a onesie will suffice nicely for clothing. Until he's three.


Losing my mind is definitely more prevalent with the singleton pregnancy than it was with the triplets. I think....

The only time I really had a lapse of forgetfulness when I was expecting the triplets, happened when I was about 28 weeks. I was at home, on self-imposed bedrest, and had a major hankering for a meatball sub.

I hoisted myself off the couch and waddled in to the kitchen. After heating up some left over ingredients in our refrigerator and crafting the most exquisite home-made meatball sub ever known, I waddled over to the couch and delicately put my plate down. I then remembered that I had forgotten my drink, so I waddled back over to the kitchen, picked up my 2-gallon jug of water, and waddled back to the couch.

As I walked up to the couch, admiring my sub, I was already imagining how wonderful it would taste ... the plump meatballs, the zangy marinara sauce, the melted mozzarella, the soft and yet, crispy roll.

I turned around - and without picking up my plate first - planted my behind, which was the size of Iowa - directly on top of my meatball sub. It was as if for a moment in time, my mind went totally blank as I looked around wondering what had happened to my sandwich. Only when I felt the warmth permeating through my sweatpants did I realize ... I was on top of it.

With this pregnancy, I am losing my mind. All. The. Time.

Last week is a perfect example. I was scheduled to have my glucose levels tested for gestational diabetes - because I had forgotten to have them tested the LAST time I was at the doctor. Before I went for my appointment, I had to fight the overwhelming urge to make a potty stop, because as soon as I arrived at the doctor, they would ask me to fill a cup. And heaven knows there's nothing worse than not being able to fill the cup when everyone is waiting for you TO fill the cup.

I arrived at the doctor's office and was instantly handed a can of oral glucose that I needed to drink before I was examined. I would then have to wait for an hour to have my blood levels tested. Hopefully, by then, the doctor would have finished the exam and I would be able to run straight down to the lab. I had forgotten that oral glucose does not taste like Orange Crush and instead, tasted like some horrific concoction of nectar and crude oil, spiked with Perrier.

By the time I finished the drink, I was nauseous.

The nurse handed me my cup and I made my way to the bathroom. As I was fighting back the urge to barf, I plopped myself down, did my business, washed my hands and exited the bathroom. It was only when I walked back in to the room, that I remembered I had forgotten to fill the cup.

The doctor completed my exam, told me the baby is doing great and handed me slips to register for my next two appointments. I happily collected my items and left, after making a quick stop in the restroom.

When I arrived home, I received a call from one of the nurses telling me that I had forgotten to fill my cup. AND ... schedule my next two appointments. AND ... go to the lab. AND ... my car was still in the parking lot.

(No, not really - but leaving my vehicle behind wouldn't have surprised me.)

That night, as I got the children ready for bed, I lamented to Charlie how frustrated I was with myself that I couldn't remember to do the simplest tasks.

The next morning, Charlie informed me that he was up in the middle of the night with Elizabeth, who had completely soaked her crib. Apparently, I had forgotten to put on her diaper, just before I put her in her pajamas.

You know, it's not like putting on a diaper isn't second nature to me.

I breathe. I diaper.

Now, I've taken to carrying around a sign that reads "BREATHE" just in case I forget.


Here I am at 20 weeks, pregnant with the triplets:

Here I am at 31 weeks, pregnant with a singleton (The baby is on my frontside, not my backside, in case you were wondering, BETH. And yes, William is playing with a highlighter while I finish updating this blog. Darn if he doesn't nap more than 45 minutes. His hands, shirt and my arm are now completely yellow):