Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Is The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

It was another gorgeous day. It's been in the mid-seventies every day this week, and cooler in the evening so I shut off the air conditioner and we've been sleeping with the windows open. Heaven.

You know, they try to make us think that big homes, fancy cars and grand vacations are the stuff dreams are made of, but they are wrong.

As I watch my kids playing in the yard on a gorgeous summer day I know the real truth. THIS is the stuff dreams are made of.

You can keep your big houses and fancy cars. I'm perfectly happy with my modest ranch house and minivan.

Though if anyone would like to throw a one-week vacation in the Caribbean my way, I wouldn't protest.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Seven Times the Fun

Today I took Amelia and the boys back to the local sculpture park. We met up with half a dozen other moms of triplets. We turned a few heads with our triple strollers and passel of kids, but we had a great time. The weather was gorgeous and the kids had fun playing and picnicking.

Isaac appears to be explaining his favorite sculpture.

Amelia was too busy playing with her friend Matthew to let me take her picture, but I got a few quick pics of the boys before I had to put the camera aside to run after them.

Sam sits still for a rare moment. (But refuses to look at Mommy!)

Lunchtime turned into something of a free-for-all, with various kids begging for their food of choice. Of course, none of us cared, which was good, because the sippy cups were probably in everyone's mouths at some point.

My boys were particularly excited that someone brought blueberries. Isaac saw the blueberries, looked around for Alex and hollered "Beebees!" Once Alex joined that fray I'm not sure her kids got any!

Alex mugs for the camera.

My friend Stacie had her triplet girls there. They will be a year old in August, and they tuckered out and fell asleep in their strollers. My guys could not stay away from the sleeping babies.

Sam, especially, wanted to lay his head on Olivia. He would say "Baby sleeping. Awwww." And then he'd lay his head on her tummy for a snuggle. It was cute, but I didn't want him to wake her up.

It was a great time, and we'll have to do it again sometime soon.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Moment Daddy Lost Control

Tonight I went to Pilates as usual. When I came home Jeff couldn't wait to show me this video. He was chuckling as he said, "This was the moment Daddy lost control of the kids."

Jeff turned everyone loose in the kitchen for a dance party. Of course, the boys started digging through the cupboards. Watch carefully and you'll see that when Sam brings the raisins out of the cupboard and opens them Alex is behind him opening a tub of cookies.

My favorite part is when Alex starts shoveling a fistful of cookies in his mouth.

As I watched the video, Jeff said, "Guess what the boys had for their bedtime snack?" Hmmm, I wonder. Cookies, perhaps?

Oh, well, it couldn't have been too bad. The boys were all in bed when I came home at 7:30, and clearly they got enough to eat.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amelia's Questions: The Church Edition

This morning I took Amelia to church with me. And, wow, did she ever have questions! It was like she'd never been in church before.

I came home and told Jeff that my brain hurt.

Here's a small sampling of the game of 4,382 questions we played in church this morning.

"What are those gray things?" (The organ pipes.)
"How do they make noise?" (Air travels through them when that man presses the keys. I think.)
"Why are some big and some little?" (OK, that was a good question. Big=low sound. Small=high sound.)
"Why?" (Too hard to explain in church. Ask me later. And she will, too.)
"Is that the priest?" (Thanks for the easy one. Yes.)
"Why is he wearing a green dress?" (It's not a dress, those are called vestments. It's like his uniform.)
"Why are they green?" (How do I explain ordinary time in the liturgical calendar to a four year old?)
"Why does he have two helpers?" (Because he needs two.)
"Why is one a girl and one a boy?" (Because that's who showed up to help today.)
"Is that lady a priest, too?" (Hoo boy! Whole can of religious worms there. Let's just settle for no.)
"What is she?" (She's a lector, which is a big word for the person who reads us a story.)
"Is she going to sing?" (No, she's going to read us a story.)
"Is this lady going to sing?" (Another easy one. Yes.)
"Is this lady a priest? There sure are a lot of ladies here." (No, she's not a priest, and yes, there are.)
"Why is he holding up that book?" (That's the Bible, and it's very important so he wants us all to see it.)

By this point in the Mass it was time to ask why Mommy had a headache, and we weren't even half done.

We covered the collection, why the priest raises his hands, why we kneel, why some people hold hands during the prayer and some don't, who gets to go to the front of the church for communion, why some people need a drink (Sacramental wine, people! Stay with me here.) and some don't, why the piano sounds different than the organ, who was in the picture at the front of the church, why the stained glass made the light different colors, why there were banners and a couple hundred additional topics.

I think I got about half of the answers right.

Anyone want to take a beautiful, curious, precocious four-year-old girl to church next Sunday? She comes with a free bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Amelia Weighs In

Amelia had her annual checkup this week. She measured 40 inches tall, which is just above average, down from the 90th percentile that she was the first couple of years. (Which always earned me a raised eyebrow from the doctor and a question about how tall Daddy is.)

Then she stepped on the scale. Amelia weighs 31 pounds. That puts her in the 10th percentile. She started out above average as an 8-pound, 8-ounce baby. But the improperly treated acid reflux quickly dropped her to the 10 percentile where she's stayed ever since.

In April Alex and Sam weighed in at almost 25 pounds. Unless she starts bulking up, Amelia won't be the "big" sister for much longer!

At least she's still got 10 pounds on Isaac.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

From My Kitchen: Vinegar Coleslaw

I love coleslaw, but I am not a fan of most creamy mayo-based slaws. I much prefer what I knew growing up as vinegar or sweet-and-sour coleslaw, but what many people (who don't live in the Great Frozen North) call North Carolina-style coleslaw. It's made with vinegar and sugar, and no mayo or Miracle Whip in sight.

I've tried many a coleslaw recipe over the years, and this in the one I keep coming back to again. I started with a recipe from Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook. I've made a few small changes to suit our tastes. This makes a crisp, deliciously tangy coleslaw. It's also safer for your barbecue or picnic, since there's no mayo to go bad in the heat.

You can substitute bagged coleslaw mix for the cabbage and carrots, but you might still try the tip to salt the cabbage and let it sit to drain out the excess water. It really does make very crisp cabbage and ever better coleslaw. Though sometimes I just don't have time for that step, and the slaw is still delicious.

And, like all good coleslaw recipes, this one needs a little time for all the flavors to come together. I've served it sooner than the the suggested two hours after mixing, but it's more flavorful if you give it some time. I often put mine together while I'm making lunch so I've got plenty of time to drain the cabbage and let the final mixture hang out before serving.

Here's the recipe:

Vinegar Coleslaw
2-3 C. grated cabbage
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 C. grated carrots
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced into thin rings
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. white vinegar
1 clove garlic, diced or pressed through a garlic press
1/2 C. sugar
Dash cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine cabbage and salt in a colander. Cover with plastic wrap and place a heavy plate on top of the cabbage. (Make sure your plate rests on the cabbage, not the colander, to help press out the excess water.) Set the colander over a large bowl and place in the fridge for 1-4 hours, or even overnight, to allow the excess water to drain. This will produce very crisp cabbage.

Remove cabbage from fridge, and pat to dry with paper towels. Place in a large bowl and add carrots and onions.

In another bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar and cayenne. Pour over the cabbage mixture, cover and let sit for at least two hours. Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Note: For a little variety you can replace half of the white vinegar with apple cider vinegar.

I'm serving this for our anniversary celebration tonight with barbecued pork ribs and fresh sweet corn. That ought to bring Jeff running home for supper, don't you think?


© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Case of The Missing Shoe

Tuesday I took the boys to the toddler storytime at the local library. It was great! Much more active than the baby storytime, which was perfect for us. And, the library lady stood to read the books, greatly reducing her risk of getting mauled by three little boys who want to hold the books.

As usual, Alex took off his shoes. The kid has something against shoes, and he has rubber ankles, so he can kick off any shoe, any time. As a result, I'm pretty vigilant about doing a shoe check whenever we go somewhere so we don't leave anyone's footwear behind.

We came home from the library and the boys had lunch and played a bit inside before naptime. When I went to take them outside after their nap, I could only find one of Sam's shoes.

I was sure we had all three pairs when we left the library. I looked all over the playroom and finally gave up and took him out barefoot. 

I spent the next day and a half looking for that darn shoe.

I cleaned out the van (which was necessary, but not what I'd planned to do with my evening), I opened all the cupboards that the boys can open a little bit despite the baby locks. Nothing.

I dug through all the toys. I searched behind the television and through all the diaper supplies. Nothing. 

I took the mattress off the changing table and looked behind the front we boarded up so the boys wouldn't climb it. Nothing.
Amelia and I went to the library and checked the lost and found. No luck. We searched the parking lot. Still no shoe.

Jeff cleaned out the van again. Nothing. Then we searched the yard, even though I knew it couldn't be out there.

I started to think I was going to have to buy a new pair of shoes for Sam.

Finally, we went back to the playroom. The shoe had to be there! I crawled under the crib to check the changing table one more time and there was the missing shoe:

GRRR! I spent almost two days looking for that silly thing!

I think Sam was pushing the crib mattress up with his feet and the shoe got stuck:

Since it was defying gravity, it was a little tough to find.

I'm glad we found it or I would have had to resort to letting him wear his favorite shoes: his sister's pink Crocs!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Old Pregnancy Pics

Recently I was having trouble getting my camera card to download to the computer. So Jeff grabbed another camera card to see if the problem was the card or the computer. Turned out it was the original 16 MB card that came with the camera we owned before this one.

It only had six pictures on it, including this blast from the past:

This was taken on Amelia's due date, May 9, 2006. That girl didn't arrive for another two weeks. I have no idea how big around I was in this photo, but I know I gained 31 pounds in that pregnancy.

But hold on to your hats. Compare that with this:

This was taken three days before the boys were born, when I was 36 weeks pregnant. I had gained 40 pounds and measured 49 inches around my "waist." The day I delivered I had gained another two pounds and officially measured 48 1/2 inches around.

Amelia weighed 8 1/2 pounds, and the boys weighed a combined 16 1/2 pounds. But boy did all those arms and legs ever take up a lot of extra room!

For a real kick, check out the post where I compared the size of my pregnant-with-triplets stomach with an exercise ball, or the video of me showing off my belly on the day I delivered. Whew!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Early Anniversary Celebration

Tonight Jeff and I celebrated our anniversary a few days early with a reservation at the chef's table at a great restaurant. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and it was the perfect excuse for me to wear the Calvin Klein dress I picked up at the resale shop for the bargain price of $15.

All in all, it was a great evening.

When I came out of out bedroom all dolled up tonight, Amelia told me she really liked my dress. (That's my girl!) "I hope I can wear a dress like that someday when I'm a grownup lady, Mom."

The boys, on the other hand, immediately started to wail.

Jeff said, "Hurry up. They sense we're leaving so we need to just go."

I replied, "They don't sense we're leaving. They've never seen their mother in a dress before, so they know something is up."

You could almost see it written on their faces: "What the heck is that?"

That my dears is a throwback to the days before you came along and doomed me to a wardrobe of t-shirts and jeans, tennis shoes and shorts. And, yes, you are right. It is a sure sign that I am out of here, at least for a couple of hours.

Don't worry, I'll be back on Mom duty in my t-shirt and shorts tomorrow morning when you wake up. Though apparently I need to throw on a dress every once in a while just to get you guys used to the idea.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Me and Martha Stewart Are Like This

A few days ago my sister Judy left this comment on my post about making my nifty jewelry holder: "What's, potty training and crafts...what are you are trying to be...Martha Stewart?"

I laughed when I read it. Somehow the words "Martha Stewart" and "potty training" just don't seem to go together. I just can't imagine her sitting next to the toilet saying "Winky down," for weeks on end.

Still, it got me thinking about what potty training would look like if Martha Stewart were doing it, instead of me. With apologies to Martha, here's my take on it.

Martha's Way: Make your children's bathroom a place they want to spend time in. Choose a theme and have fun! Stencil an inspirational saying or two on the walls. Make a fun cover for your soap dispenser to fit your theme and encourage your kids to wash their hands.

My Way: Gradually strip your potty training bathroom of everything your kids play with that they shouldn't: toilet paper, toilet brush, wastebasket, and all accessories. Flip the towel ring up so they can't hang on it and rip it out of the wall. Try to remember to wash someone's hands after each potty round. Yours, your kid's, your dog's. Whoever.

Martha's Way: Provide special toys for your children to play with while they are on the toilet. Hand embellished felt puppets can be both entertaining and educational.

My Way: After the first few toys wind up in the potty (because with triplets, sometimes your attention MUST be elsewhere for a second or two), choose toys that are easy to clean and that float. Stay away from sinkers that will require a call to the plumber.

Martha's Way: Bond with your child by making a few delightful picture books to share while toilet training. Select photographs of your child's favorite things and use these beautiful embossed papers to create pages that engage your child.

My Way: Go through your older child's books and garage sale cheapies. Choose those that are already in poor shape or that look the most durable. Bonus points if they float or are waterproof. Because one way or another, those things are going to get wet. 

Martha's Way: Bake up some special treats as a reward for successful attempts on the toilet. I like to make these delicious candies that are chock full of nutritious ingredients like organic beet juice and pureed carrots. Your children will love them, and you'll love knowing they are eating healthy.

My Way: M&Ms, baby! Or neenies, as Alex calls them. No healthful benefits, just straight up sugar. I have a big Mason jar full of them in the cupboard, right next to the hard liquor. Turns out that's just a happy coincidence. Though it is a bit disturbing to see my kids staring hopefully at the cabinet with all the liquor.

Martha's Way: You can accelerate your child's progress by putting him or her in these darling training pants that you can make yourself in a matter of a couple of hours.

My Way: I have to stop you right there, Martha. First, no one potty training multiples has a couple of minutes, let alone a couple of hours. Second, this is the very reason online shopping exists. And Etsy.

Looks like Martha's got nothing to fear from me, at least in the potty training domain. Though I suspect she'd be happy to leave that area of expertise to me.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Celebration: Take A Hike!

Happy Father's Day!

How did you celebrate?

We celebrated with a three-mile hike pushing strollers. Super Dad pushed the triplets up hills and down. He had a lot of strangers wish him a happy Father's Day while we were out!

Our hike was at a local sculpture park, and had a great time. We headed out in the morning and turned the kids loose to play on the art installations.

Sam and Amelia loved this bench/slide/jungle gym.

One hundred acres was just about enough space to make the boys happy. After a nice picnic lunch we headed home and all of the boys fell asleep in the van.

We spent the afternoon playing in the pool in the back yard. We had to get a larger model, since we outgrew the baby pool by the end of last summer. This one is just about right for four active kids.

Splishin' and a-splashin'

Isaac and Alex were hamming it up for the camera:

The best part of today was spending it with the very best Dad. Thanks, Jeff for all you do for all of us!

(And thanks for tolerating a Father's Day plan that included a three-mile hike in the heat while pushing 100 pounds of boys and stroller. You earned that steak and beer!)

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Amelia's Adventure Ends

Our week of Vacation Bible School is over.

I think Amelia is equal parts glad and sad that she's done. She had fun, but it was different for her to be with a big group of kids, and I think she found it overwhelming at times.

I'm just grateful to have survived all of the loading and unloading that went with dropping Amelia off at 9 a.m. and picking her up noon. It has confirmed for me that we will not be doing half-day kindergarten. It's all or nothing, baby. Otherwise it's too much work for the mama, and the boys have to spend too much time in the van every day.

But I digress.

Jeff and I went to Amelia's Bible School program on Friday. It was classic, of course. Some kids waved at their parents, some picked their noses, some goofed around with their hats. Ours did all three.

Amelia also did a great job with the words and the motions. They had wonderful volunteer teachers who taught them a lot in a short time. I am amazed by anyone who can get this much out of four and five year olds in less than five hours.

Check their hard work out for yourself. Amelia's in the front row in the orange hat.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

From My Kitchen: Mambo Marinade

This is a simple marinade that's delicious on chicken, shrimp or pork. The lime juice helps keep it light and gives it a little zing, which is perfect for a warm summer evening.

I prefer to use low-sodium soy sauce and I confess to buying my garlic already diced and in the jar. Rachael Ray would NOT be happy with me, but it's easy and I think it tastes as good. It also prevents unused garlic from sprouting in my cupboard. However, if you want to chop your own, chop away!

Here's the recipe:

Mambo Marinade

1/4 C. lime juice
1/4 C. soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. diced garlic or 1 clove, diced 

Combine all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Add your meat or seafood and marinate at least 30 minutes. On my more organized days I'll toss everything together in the morning, or even the night before. The longer you marinate, the more flavor you'll get. Remove meat or seafood from marinade and cook as usual. Discard remaining marinade.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Moment of Gratitude

Today I spent the day helping students at Vacation Bible School make their craft for the day. They made cute little whales, to tie in with the day's Bible story about Jonah and the whale.

It was a pretty fun day, though Amelia had a little trouble after she saw me there, but didn't get to stay with me. Getting to ride the "train" pulled behind a riding mower at playtime proved a good distraction, thankfully.

The craft was pretty simple, so the older kids were done pretty quickly. We had them make Father's Day cards to fill the time.

I overheard a group of 4th grade boys talking as they made their cards. They were all talking about how much their dads are gone. I'm sure some of it was one-upsmanship, but it was still sad to hear them compare their fathers' "business travel," how many days they were gone and how their dads went to Texas, LA and New York.

My heart went out to those boys and their moms. How tough to not have Dad around every night. And to be a single parent while your husband travels. It made me very grateful that Jeff travels only occasionally for work.

I know many people don't have a choice. When it comes to taking care of their families, sometimes not being there IS taking care of their family. I just wish there was another option so those boys could have Daddy around all the time, not just some of the time.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amelia: A Self Portrait

Lately Amelia has wanted to be the photographer rather than the subject. We are encouraging that, though I don't know how much hard drive space I'm willing to devote to pictures of her My Little Ponies.

Turns out that she also likes to try to take pictures of herself. So I present to you:

"Amelia. By Amelia."

And my personal favorite:

Amelia, of course, thinks these pictures are very funny. At least she does now. I'm sure one day she'll hate the fact that I not only kept them, but posted them, too!

Sorry, Amelia, but I'm documenting life as we know it, and you've take too many self portraits for me not to capture it for posterity.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rock On, Amelia!

Tonight, Amelia was showing us the songs and accompanying moves they are learning for their Vacation Bible School program. (She did go back today despite insisting last night that she wasn't going to, and she had a great time.) We have a CD of the songs so she can sing along and practice.

Girl has got some moves!

I really wish I'd taken video. Let me just say this: If all the kids groove like Amelia did tonight I'd better wear Depends to the program, because I will be laughing hard enough to need them.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thar She Blows!

Way back in April I took Amelia with me to sign her up for Vacation Bible School this summer. She was so excited to go. And so very disappointed that it wasn't the next day. Or the day after that. Or the day after that.

I finally told her that Vacation Bible School would happen after her birthday. That forestalled the "Is it today?" question for about a month.

Well today was finally the day. Amelia was excited about going. We walked in to see a big ship and mermaids decorating the school gym. We saw the volunteers setting out the day's snack. We got all the way to her classroom before Amelia decided that maybe she didn't really want to be there.

I introduced her to another little girl in her class and Amelia wouldn't even say hello. I knew then that I was in real trouble. Fortunately I didn't have the boys in tow. I convinced Jeff that it would be much better for me to do the first drop off sans boy-os so I could scope things out.

Turns out that was a particularly good idea, as I left Amelia wailing in the arms of one of the preschool helpers. I figured by the time the boys and I picked her up at noon she probably wouldn't want to leave.

Amelia was ready to go, but excitedly told me all about her day.

Everything was great until I said something about what she'd be doing tomorrow.

"I'm not going back tomorrow!" she wailed. Then tonight as I was putting her in bed she asked if she was going to Vacation Bible School because she's a big girl. I told her yes, now that she's four she gets to go.

"Can't I wait until I'm five?" she asked. I felt a little sorry for her, being tossed into the big girl world already.

Then she asked if I thought the mermaids would still be there. Because she likes mermaids.

So, who knows which way the wind will blow tomorrow?

Cross your fingers for us, because I'll be dragging the whole crew along for drop off. And hopefully the crabby mom who complained at pickup time that my triple stroller was "taking up too much room" in the hallway will be feeling a bit more Christian tomorrow.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hey, Batter Batter!

Saturday was Amelia's first t-ball practice for non-competitive t-ball through the local Y. Her team is the Pirates. She made a new friend and did a good job of hitting the ball. But there was mention of a snack before her team fielded and suddenly Amelia wasn't all that interested in catching the ball. (I'm sure she gets that keen athletic drive from her mommy.)

Amelia also hit one of her teammates when they were practicing catching and throwing. He flinched every time she threw after that, which made it a bit hard for him to catch.

There are six kids on Amelia's team of four and five year olds, which pretty much requires six coaches. So Jeff helped out while holding Alex on his hip. In the meantime, I ran Isaac and Sam around the far outfield and tried to keep them from literally stealing the bases.

The boys also had fun cheering and clapping for every hit and every catch and every throw. They may enjoy the seven weeks of t-ball more than Amelia does!

I have no illusions that Amelia will be a star athlete, given my own stellar athletic prowess. I just hope she has fun.

No matter what, she'll have her very own fan club cheering her on at every game.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Recycling And Organization All In One

Not long ago I read some great advice on organizing your home. It said not to try to tackle everything at once, but to identify the trouble spots and deal with them one at a time.

I've been putting that advice to work, and my most recent little organization effort turned out great. One of my dresser drawers had become a repository for all of my necklaces, which I kept mostly in travel cases because I had no good way to store them. I couldn't find a jewelry holder I liked that fit my budget. Most of what I found were jewelry trees, which weren't tall enough to hold some of my longer necklaces, and wouldn't hold very many pieces.

So I made my own.

I started with this:

It's an old bulletin board that we no longer use. Nothing fancy about it.

To make my jewlery holder I spray painted the frame with some metallic paint I had left over from some previous project. Then I used spray adhesive to attach some scrap fabric to the cork. I finished the edges with some ribbon I had on hand, so there was no need to hem the fabric. Finally, I pushed cup hooks into the cork to hold all of my necklaces.

And here's the final product:

Pretty nifty, isn't it? It only took about 30 minutes to make. I have decided to add another row of hooks at the bottom of the board and move some of the longer necklaces down. The extra room will also mean I don't have to hang too many pieces on any one hook.

My only cost was the cup hooks. Now I've regained one of my dresser drawers and said goodbye to tangled necklaces!

Another alternative would be to wrap cork squares in fabric instead of using a bulletin board. I think I may make a few of those as part of a calendar organization center that will likely be my next project.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

I'm Turning Back Into A Teenager

It's like I'm a teenager again. I'm spending hours upon hours in the bathroom, and when I'm not in the bathroom, I'm chasing boys.

We are entering our third week of potty training, which explains the hours upon hours in the bathroom.

And it's summertime and the boys love to be outside, and they can RUN, which explains the chasing boys part.

The potty training is going fairly well. Almost every day at least one of the boys has successfully used the potty once. Some days one of the boys will even use it twice. And one memorable day all three boys earned themselves M&Ms!

But it is incredibly time consuming. I try to get everyone on the potty no fewer than four times a day. Ideally we go first thing in the morning, an hour after getting up, before and after nap (they almost always all wake up dry), before and after supper, and before bed. I try to get them to stay on the potty for a minimum of five minutes, but I'll leave them there for as long as 10 if they are willing. Toss in time to take diapers off, put them back on and wash hands, and it probably takes me an average of 35 minutes to get through one potty cycle.

So I'm spending approximately two to four hours a day either in the bathroom with the boys or very close by. I do have to step out to break up toy fights from time to time. Experience has taught me that this is doable as long as everything is removed from the bathroom - toilet paper, toilet brush, wastebasket, etc. Otherwise, something is going in!

Fortunately I can see the potty from the kitchen so I can do a few small things there while I wait for someone to go. But I have learned that I'd better be right there or someone's going to pee on the floor or stick their hands or head (yes, HEAD) in the potty.

This has drastically altered my days. I find there's a lot more to do at the end of the day, because I don't have as much time to get things done. Throw in another three to five hours outside, and some days all I get done outside of playtime and potty time is feeding the kids.

The boys are definitely getting the concept of going in the potty. If they don't go they tell me "no potty." And if they do go, they immediately start yelling for their M&Ms. Sometimes they will even ask me to use the potty and when we get there I'll discover that they've just gone. So they are getting the concept, which is encouraging. The thought of not spending money on diapers is encouraging, too!

In a couple more weeks I'm going to switch the boys to training pants and see how that moves things along. Yes, that will add to the laundry, but it will be cheaper than pullups and I'm hoping the discomfort of feeling the wet will help things along, too.

So far, all I've learned about potty training triplets is this: never try more than one at a time, just be patient, and keep the carpet cleaner handy.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

From My Kitchen: Never-fail Pie Crust

The fruit is starting to roll in, so it's pie season! Nothing can ruin a good pie faster than a terrible crust. But I've got the solution to that: Never-fail Pie Crust.

This is my mom's recipe, tried and true for more than 50 years. If you've never attempted pie crust before, give it a try. This crust is a snap to make, and it's unbelievably forgiving. It's tender and flaky, no matter how many times you roll it out. And believe me, I have personally tested that theory!

I know many people buy frozen crusts, but this is sooo much better, and it goes together quickly. It's a great recipe to make with your kids. The measurements are simple, there's an egg to crack (Amelia's favorite way to help!) and they can get their hands in it to mix it up.

Once you try homemade you'll never settle for a pre-made crust again. Here's the recipe.


Never-Fail Pie Crust (makes 4 crusts)

2 C. Crisco
4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Work the above together with your hands.

Blend 1 beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 C. measure. Fill to 3/4 C. mark with cold water. Add to flour mixture a little at a time until it forms a ball. (You may not use all of the the liquid.) Divide and roll out.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Before I Was A Mom

Before I was a mom I ate hot meals. I took daily showers. I bought clothes without concern about washability. I bought shoes that were cute, not comfortable.

Before I was a mom I never discussed someone else's bowel habits as a matter of routine. I never had to drop what I was doing to wipe someone else's bottom.

Before I was a mom I read grownup books without pictures or rhymes. I watched whatever I wanted on TV. I slept past 7 a.m.

Before I was a mom I didn't know the meaning of the words busy, sleep-deprived, frustrated or gross.

Before I was a mom I never knew how unimportant hot meals could be. I'd never met anyone for whom I'd give up daily showers. I never knew there could be such good reasons to pass on non-washable clothes and shoes that weren't made for sprinting. 

Before I was a mom I never knew how all-consuming loving and caring for another human being could be, right down to making bowel habits worth discussing.

Before I was a mom I didn't know how many great children's books there were. I didn't realize how much time I wasted on TV. I never had so many beautiful reasons to get up early in the morning.

Before I was a mom I didn't know the meaning of the words joy, wonder, amazement or peace.

Before I was a mom I was happy.

But not nearly as happy as I am now.

Play along with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Pinata Time!

Who doesn't love a pinata?

When Amelia and Jeff were back in the Frozen North for Jacob's graduation, Grandma and Grandpa D. had a pinata for his party. 

Amelia was excited about the pinata and took a couple good whacks at it.

In the end, Grandpa D. had to get out the aluminum bat to help the little kids along, but they didn't care who broke it open.

They just cared about what was inside!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Twenty Months Old And Taking The World By Storm

Today Sam, Isaac and Alex are 20 months old. Ironically, today I got an Explanation of Benefits from our insurance company for Isaac's birth. Yes, his birth. Twenty months after the fact. Hello? Glad they handled the actual delivery in a more timely fashion than the insurance and billing or I would have exploded.

For the record, Isaac's birth was $15,550.73. I wish I had the EOB for Alex's birth (which came within a couple months) and Sam's, which came right around their first birthday. I'm just curious if each boy's total was the same or not.

Anyway...I thought it was time for a quick update on what the boys are doing these days. So here's a peek at life at 20 months old.

***WARNING: Long post ahead.***

Sam talks the most of the three boys, though they all talk so much that it's kind of a fine dice. Everyone has a vocabulary of easily a hundred words, and they've started talking routinely in three- and four-word sentences. Sam is the one who repeats everything we say though. When we read to the boys Sam will repeat words and phrases as we go along.

He also apparently is paying more attention than I thought. The other day Sam walked up to a picture of the sun that Amelia and I had drawn with sidewalk chalk. He bent down, put his hand in the middle of the sun and said, "Circle."


I didn't know Sam knew any of his shapes! I didn't even know he knew the word "circle." The next morning he pointed to the dots on his diaper and told me again, "Circle." Well, OK. I guess it wasn't a fluke. I think maybe Baby Einstein gets credit for that one.

Sam is not our best eater. It's tough to get him to eat fruits and veggies. He will eat bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, mandarin oranges and grapes pretty consistently. Sometimes he'll eat a few blueberries or a couple peas, but mostly under duress. But if you put a plate of noodles or bread and peanut butter in front of him, look out! Sam's also big on chicken, yogurt (an old favorite that's new again around here), applesauce, and eggs.

Grace is not Sam's strong suit. The boy could trip over his own shadow! He loves to play in the sprinkler, dig in the dirt, and play on the swing. He still loves his baby doll, and often co-opts Amelia's My Little Ponies and dolls when she's not here. (Shhh! Don't tell.) He has recently developed an affinity for her Strawberry Shortcake doll, which he calls "coocake." Perhaps he sees a kindred spirit in a fellow redhead?

Isaac is still very much a daredevil. He swings on the big kid swing and hollers for "more push" until he's going almost as high as the swing can go. He has a penchant for going down the slide head first, despite being told over and over not to do that. And Isaac likes to climb: on the window sill, the slide, the picnic table, the benches on the deck -- pretty much anywhere. We're sure he's going to love roller coasters as he gets older.

While Isaac is not quite the parrot that Sam is, he hauled out a five-word sentence the other day. He said, "I want that toy, please." I gave him the toy. Isaac was the first to start saying Sam's name ("Shammy"), and recently starting calling himself "I-man," which is what Jeff calls him most of the time. 

He's the best sleeper, often asking to go "night-night" at naptime and bedtime. And Isaac is attached to his blankie. He'll take a paci, but it's the blankie that really matters to him. I think poor Isaac often would like a little more sleep, but his brothers keep him awake in the evening and wake him up in the morning. (Alex seems to be the Jay Leno of the nursery around here, and Sam's still got an early morning streak.)  

Isaac is a good eater and can really pack the carbs away. He's usually the one who drives our mealtimes, since he's usually the first to ask to eat. Isaac is pretty good about the variety he eats, but really loves bananas, Kix, noodles, blueberries and hot dogs. The kid can put away more than an entire hot dog in one sitting.

But we have learned that our daredevil isn't fearless. Recently we were outside and Isaac suddenly stopped short beside the driveway and started to cry. He turned around and walked the other way, then came back and cried again. He was clearly scared, but I couldn't figure out why. I finally realized that he was scared of his shadow. We talked about it and waved at ourselves, and he decided it was OK, maybe. But even a few weeks later he still looks at his shadow suspiciously.

Alex is such a good sleeper now. I almost hate to put that in black and white, lest I jinx it! He rarely wakes up at night anymore, though we have gotten smarter and now put him down with multiple pacis. He often hosts the party in the nursery when we put the boys down at night, then when he has the other two all worked up he just goes to sleep.

When Alex is awake, whew! That boy has only two settings: "Off" and "ALEX!" He is an exuberant little boy. His big thing these days is to hoard things. If there are three pacis in the room he wants all three. If there are 17 pieces of sidewalk chalk, he wants all 17. He loves to do puzzles, but gets furious at his brothers when they try to play with the same puzzle. Alex will yell, "Share!" at his brothers when they take puzzle pieces, even though he doesn't want to share with them. I'm pretty sure they know it makes him mad, and that's why they do it. You should see Isaac grab a piece and run for it.

Alex is the best eater of the group. I think I could put anything in front of him, and he would eat it. He loves peas, sweet potatoes, cheese, and, of course, blueberries. When Alex is done eating, he's done. You'd better get rid of his tray fast, because he tends to start throwing his leftovers if you don't get to him soon enough. We're working on that.

"Outshide!" is Alex's cry almost as soon as we get up in the morning. He loves to be outside digging in the dirt, playing in the sandbox, going down the slide, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and pedaling the car up and down the driveway.  He wails when it's time to come in, unless I tell him he can sit on the potty or watch Elmo. (All the boys are big into Elmo right now.)

We've only been potty training for about two weeks, but Alex gets it the best. Of course, the reward for going on the potty is M&Ms, so it's no surprise my big eater would be the most motivated by that! The second time he used the potty successfully, Alex held out his hand for his M&Ms immediately. Now he runs to the cabinet where I keep the M&Ms and yells, "Nee-nees!"  

In general, the boys are busy, busy, busy every day. They are beginning to get longer and leaner and are starting to lose their baby chub. (Well, Sam and Alex anyway. Isaac never had any chub on him.) They surprise me every day with the things they do and say.

And that's just the way it should be.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Boogeroni and Sneeze

Christy has pilates at the Y on Monday nights. That leaves me to tend to the boys and Amelia.

Some nights are better than most. The evening started out normally, rounding up the boys to take them inside. (Alex really really doesn't like to come inside.) Amelia has gotten more helpful, holding the door or holding Isaac's hand while I wrestle Alex through the back door. (Did I mention that Alex really doesn't like to come inside?)

Tonight's meal was macaroni and cheese, already prepared by Christy. The boys were pretty hungry and shoveled in the noodles hand over fist. For their dining entertainment, the boys and Amelia have taken to listening to Heywood Banks songs and yes, I am frightened a bit that the boys giggle and laugh when "You Can Be Mean To Me" comes on. I think this is where the evening went wrong. Not life threateningly wrong, just wrong.

While I was tending to Amelia's YouTube requests for Iowa 80 (corn corn corn), You Can Be Mean to Me (The Revenge Song) and her favorite, Pancreas, Isaac decided to shove a noodle up his nose. Don't ask how I figured this out because I didn't see it, just some babble about "noonnel" and nose. I looked over and he was poking at his nose. I took a look and there it was - the round end of a macaroni noodle. Before I could do anything, Isaac poked at it, trying to get it out, only to push it further in. I ran over and grabbed the nose bulb and tried to suck it out with little luck. Darn hole in the noodle. Next up, a flashlight and tweezers, but still no luck.

At this point I have Isaac on a pillow in the play room and Amelia is asking if she can "help." I am thinking about the emergency room visit we will have if I don't get that stupid noodle out. I try the nose sucker again and get a little piece, but there is still more in there and Isaac is crying - crying for Mommy because Daddy was "being mean to me." Loud cries and there it was. For a moment I saw the noodle poke out. Could he possibly blow the silly thing out? He wasn't going to do it on his own.

I closed off the "good" nostril but that wasn't enough. Still crying. I let him get a good deep breath - that's what a small child does when he is about to scream - and then covered the good nostril and his mouth. That poor boy let loose and pop, up over my shoulder flew the remainder of that darn noodle. It landed on the floor two feet behind me.

So no emergency room visit, but a little trauma to the boy. Maybe he won't put food up his nose again. Or maybe I need to start sleeping with one eye open.

(If you don't get that lat line, just watch the Revenge Song.)


Note: Christy here. Hope you enjoyed this rare guest post from the WBH. You can see why I call him the world's best! Saved us a $300 emergency room visit tonight. And for the record, I found out about this incident when Jeff sent me a text that included a photo of the piece of noodle that Isaac shot across the room. Yuck!
Also, sorry if you missed me yesterday. My blog host had technical problems that prevented me and thousands of others from accessing our blogs. I'll drop in an extra post sometime this week to make up for being out of commission yesterday, so I can still meet my goal of 365 posts this year.
© Trippin' Mama 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Will Technological Wonders Never Cease

Yesterday morning as I was getting the boys ready for breakfast, I heard the very distinctive tone of a Skype call coming in. It was my mom.

And it was the first video call she's ever done. (Well, by herself anyway. Jeff hooked up the webcam and gave her and my dad a couple lessons when he traveled through there a week ago. Yet another reason why he's the WBH.)

We've been doing video calls with Jeff's parents for a while, but my folks just got broadband access, so it's finally an option with them. While it's not the same as seeing everyone in person, it's a nice option when you live far away and frequent visits just aren't possible.

What's even more impressive is that my mom is 78 and my dad is 83. Just proves that you are never too old to learn something new, doesn't it?

It wasn't that long ago that none of this technology existed. When Jeff and I were living in different towns when we were first dating, we wrote letters. Yes, letters. On paper. Sent through the mail with a stamp. We called occasionally, but long-distance was expensive, so we didn't talk frequently.

Now, I call my sisters on my cell phone and since we all have the same provider, we don't even use any minutes to chat. Or I send a quick text. Or I send email.

Jeff and I were email and computer chat pioneers back in the early 90s when we were going to college in two different states. I remember sitting in the university library at a VDT (video data terminal, for those of you too young to remember those days). It was a black screen with green text, and Jeff and I could "chat" back and forth.

By the time we were seniors, email had come along, sort of. I remember going deep into the basement of the education building where the computer science geeks were to sign up for an email address. It wasn't a standard thing back then. We had really advanced by then, and could "dial-up" to send email from our apartments, instead of going to the library.

The fact that letter writing is a dying art is a whole different post. (I do still write and send real letters from time to time.) As much as I cherish the letters I have from my husband, my parents, and my grandmother, I have to say that anything that can bring together grandparents and grandchildren who live hundreds of miles apart is something to be celebrated.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

From My Kitchen: Balsamic Brown Butter Asparagus

It's still asparagus season, and here's my new favorite way to serve up its green goodness. This is a super simple sauce that is a little bit tangy, a little bit salty and just plain buttery delicious on asparagus. It would be great on roasted green beans or even chicken or pork, too.

Here's the recipe.

Balsamic Brown Butter Asparagus
1 lb. asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper
2 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Wash and trim asparagus. Toss the asparagus with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Either roast or grill until crisp-tender, 7-9 minutes.

Just before asparagus is done, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until butter is golden brown. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

Drizzle sauce over cooked asparagus and serve to a round of applause.


© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Excuse Me Father, I Just Need My Hanky

In a few more weeks Jeff and I will be celebrating our 16th anniversary. Our reception was probably more memorable than our wedding, thanks to the bag dance.

But Jeff and I still laugh about one thing that happened during our wedding.

We were standing at the altar lighting our unity candle. I started to cry, of course. I knew it was going to happen, so I was prepared. I had a hanky on me.

Since no one has figured out that brides cry and put a pocket in wedding gowns, I had to improvise.

I put that hanky down the front of my dress, which was the only place I could carry it without it being seen.

I didn't quite think through how I'd discreetly remove it when needed. But our backs were to the congregation, so I squeezed close to Jeff and with a little flick of my wrist, extracted the hanky.

I would have gotten away with it, too, except the priest had joined us at the altar and was standing directly across from us.

I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head when I pulled that hanky from my cleavage like a rabbit out of a hat.

After the initial shock passed, the priest simply turned around, walked away and sat down off to the side.

Jeff and I started to chuckle silently. It was supposed to be the most solemn moment of our ceremony. The moment when, with prayer and the church's blessing, we celebrated becoming one.

We knew it was inappropriate to laugh, which just made us laugh even harder. We stood there shaking with silent laughter. Suddenly the song that had seemed to go on forever couldn't last long enough for us to compose ourselves. Tears were flowing down our cheeks as we finally pulled ourselves together.

As I pressed a sodden hanky into Jeff's hand so he could put in his pocket, we thought we'd gotten away with our moment of shared laughter. We were wrong. Everyone at the reception asked us the same thing: "What was so funny?" Even though we never made a sound and they couldn't see our faces, they all recognized silent laughter when they saw it!

At least the bag dance made them forget our moment of inappropriate hilarity.

Play along with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. This week's prompt was to tell about a time you laughed at an inappropriate time.

Mama's Losin' It

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Alex And The Blueberries

Alex is generally a pretty happy little guy.

But if you want to make him REALLY happy, just give him blueberries.

He giggles when we even say the word "blueberries."

He would probably eat an entire pint by himself if I'd let him!

 And apparently they are as fun to play with as they are to eat!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Do We Keep The M&Ms Next To The Liquor?

It's a good thing diapers are expensive, or I just might decide it's not worth potty training at all. The potty training chronicles are still to come, but I'm too worn out tonight to give you the full run down.

The boys are all still enthusiastic. But somewhere around the 462nd time I put a small boy on the potty today I realized we keep our M&Ms (the reward for using the potty) WAAAY to close to the hard liquor. I may deserve a medal for not having a shot today.

After many, many, many, many attempts, we had one success. But overall, they are doing well. We've been at this for five days and everyone has gone in the potty or partially in the potty at least once. And my bathroom floor is exceptionally clean right now.

Today was a big day because no one peed on the floor, which seems to be the exception rather than the rule around here lately. On the plus side, my boys have all decided they love to wash their hands. Which is good, because they put their hands in the potty today more times than I can count. Yuck.

Yesterday did not go quite as well. I had a moment of poor judgment brought on by exhaustion just before bedtime. I made two critical errors back-to-back. First, I took a boy off the potty after no result and put him in the playroom with no diaper on because the other two were screaming for a turn on the potty. Then I put both boys who had been waiting on the potty at the same time. One on the big potty and one on the little potty.

I tried two at the same time before and one mom just doesn't have enough hands for that. The first time I tried it Alex put half a roll of toilet paper in the toilet before I could stop him. While I dealt with that, Sam got off the potty and peed all over the floor, then played in it.

But I digress. The point is that I know better than to put two on the potty at the same time.

About two minutes into entertaining the two on the potty to keep them still long enough for something to happen, I heard a shout from the playroom: "MOM! Piggies! Poopy! Piggies! Poopy!

I leapt up and ran around the corner to find one of my boys stomping his foot in the poop on the floor. Ugh!

I grabbed him and wiped the worst of it from between his toes while yelling at the other two boys to stay on the potty. Then I threw the poopy one in the crib in the playroom and ran back to the bathroom. Fortunately, no one had wandered off or peed everywhere. But Alex had his hand in the potty and Sam was "drinking" from the little potty seat, which fortunately had nothing in it.

I still had a poopy boy to deal with, so I grabbed the other two and took them to their beds. I diapered them quickly (See, I learned something!) and went back to diaper and clean up the culprit. I had no clean place to put him, so he went into his crib as well. I spent 10 minutes cleaning the carpet, the crib and the changing table while the boys laughed and partied in the nursery.

Not our best potty training moment, to be sure. I hope it turns out to be the worst. I don't want to think about how much worse it could get than that.

I'm finding that potty training more than one at a time can be something of a logistics problem, like so many other things in the life of a parent of multiples. Hopefully I've gotten most of the rookie mistakes out of my system now!

Just keep repeating with me: Diapers are expensive. Diapers are expensive. Diapers are expensive.

And carpet can be replaced.
© Trippin' Mama 2010