Monday, January 31, 2011

Some Good News!

Sam went to see the orthopedic specialist today. He's now sporting a cast adorned with dinosaurs.

The good news is that they expect the break to be completely healed in a month, and he can walk on it now that he's got the cast.

He doesn't want to walk on it, but we'll work on that. I'm sure he won't be able to resist the lure to chase after his brothers for long!

I should post a picture, but I don't have time because the bad news is that we are going to be hit by the big ice storm that's going to cover half the United States. The ice is already pinging on the windows, and they have been warning us all day to be prepared for power outages that could last "days or even a week." Yikes!

We're prepared. I've been cooking like crazy and we've got wood for the fireplace. But if all is quiet on the blog, think of us trapped in our mostly cold house with four small children and say a little prayer for our sanity, won't you?

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Two Down: Sam's Turn in the ER

Just about a year ago we made our first visit to the ER with one of the boys, when Isaac split his chin open.
Today, it was Sam's turn.

I'll let him tell you what happened:

Yes, the boys were standing on the little child-sized chairs flipping the lights on and off, despite being told numerous times that we don't stand on chairs and we don't play with the lights.

From the very beginning, Sam has stuck to his story that Alex pushed him. I suspect it wasn't a push so much as three boys jockeying for space on one chair.

There was a thud and some wailing about being pushed, but no real tears. It didn't sound serious, so I walked into the room after a couple minutes, picked Sam up, kissed the foot he said hurt and figured that would be the end of it.

I wound up holding him and carrying him the rest of the evening. He refused to walk on his foot, and begged to be carried. I thought maybe a sprain, but never a break! These boys have taken bigger spills than that, and little ones tend to bounce.

So I gave Sam some ibuprofen, wrapped the ankle and figured he'd be right as rain by morning. He slept all night, but refused to put any weight on it this morning.

Off to urgent care he went with Daddy. After the x-ray showed a break on the long bone, they headed to the emergency room. I met them there after Sarah, Dustin and Taylor showed up to watch the rest of the kiddos.

I got there in plenty of time to hang out for a couple hours, help with the second set of x-rays and then get Sam's leg splinted. It's too swollen for a cast right now, so we'll see a pediatric orthopedic specialist early next week.

The final diagnosis was a rotational break. That means he twisted as he landed on it when he came off the chair.

Now all I have to do is keep him off his leg as much as possible for the next six weeks while chasing two other two-year-olds. Piece of cake, right?

I'm getting out the hiking backpack and scheduling weekly visits to my chiropractor. And I've already informed Sam, who weighs 30 pounds now, that he is not allowed to gain any weight in the next six weeks!

It's just a simple break and broken bones heal. It certainly could have been worse.

It could have been MY leg!

Then what the heck would we do around here?

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Girls' Night Out

Tonight was about a couple hours of conversation with some girlfriends.

Swapping stories about crazy kids.

Unloading our mommy guilt and pledging to banish it from our lives for good.

Reassuring each other that it's OK to feed your kids hot dogs and let them watch TV.

Unloading some more mommy guilt.
Laughing at ourselves.

Remembering that we are entire people, not just moms.

Restoring the balance.

Making me smile.

It was balm for the soul.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't Mess with THIS Ballerina!

This is Sam's latest obsession:

He has fallen in love with this beautiful, pink Barbie dress-up dress that Amelia got for Christmas.

Sam wore this dress for four days straight. He refused to take it off at naptime and cried when I peeled it off him at bedtime.

He runs around in it yelling, "Ballerina! Ballerina!"

Although lately he's been casting the ballerina dress aside in favor of the Belle dress.

Amelia thinks it is great. She's finally got someone to play dress-up with!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Circus

I wish I could show you a picture of my yard. It looks just like one of those Family Circus cartoons where they used the dashed line to show where the kids have been.

Amelia, Sam, Isaac, Alex and I spent more than an hour outside in the snow yesterday. It's amazing how much territory four small, very energetic children can cover in that amount of time. There are footprints everywhere.

Thankfully, I didn't have to be behind them all every step of the way, or I'd still be out there, passed out in a snowbank somewhere!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Birds and the Bees

The other night I laid down at bedtime with Amelia. She was wiggling everywhere. Then she said, "Mom, I think I have a baby in my tummy!"

I chuckled and assured her that she didn't.

In true Amelia fashion, she had a few more questions for me.

"How do you know?"

I explained that she couldn't have a baby in her tummy until she was all grown up and married.

Then she asked, "How does the baby get in your tummy anyway, Mom?"

Keeping in mind that she's only four, I told her that the daddy puts the baby in the mommy's tummy.

Of course, being Amelia, she asked the next logical question: "How does he do that?"

I paused to decide how to answer that in an age-appropriate way. Before I could answer she sat bolt upright and said in a shocked voice, "Does he use a machine?"

I laughed so hard I almost fell off the bed.

When I was finally able to talk again I almost told her "Yes," but I knew then she'd ask questions about the machine.

And I'm not going there!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

From My Kitchen: Salmon-Potato Cakes

Given all the troubles we've had lately with the sewer and the furnace, you'd think now would be the perfect time for the ultimate in comfort food recipe. But I've already posted a lot of my faves in that category: chicken pot pie, alfredo sauce, knephla soup, cookie dough brownies and oatmeal carmelitas.

So today's recipe is Salmon-Potato Cakes. It's a pretty good comfort food, since it's made with mashed potatoes, but it's a little bit lighter dish.

This time of year I like to serve them up with some cream of tomato soup or potato soup. In the warmer months Salmon-Potato Cakes are perfect with roasted asparagus or a nice salad.

I think this originally came from a Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Here's the recipe:

Salmon-Potato Cakes
14 oz. fresh skinless salmon fillets or canned salmon
2 C. refrigerated sour cream & chive masked potatoes
1/2 C. seasoned dry fine bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. dried of 1 1/2 TBSP. fresh dill

I occasionally make these with leftover salmon, but typically I use salmon straight out of the can. Be sure to drain it well and pick out any bones or cartilage.

If you are using fresh salmon, rinse and dry the fish. Place in a two-quart microwaveable dish; cover with vented plastic. Cook on high 2 1/2-3 1/3 minutes, until flaky. Or, prepare using your favorite cooking method.

Break cooked or canned salmon into pieces. Combine with potatoes, bread crumbs and dill.

Form into cakes that are roughly 3-4 inches in diameter. This recipe makes about 8 cakes. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook cakes over medium heat, 3-4 minutes on each side, until heated through and browned.

If you want a dipping sauce, serve these up with honey-dijon salad dressing.

Fast, delicious, and, if you start with canned salmon, a one-pan prep. Perfect for the cook who is busy battling overflowing toilets and a burned out furnace.


© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

*Sigh* First the Sewer and Now This!

I am having problems with my Internet connection and my furnace.

They both frustrate me, but I know which one is going to cost me.

Of course, it is the coldest day of winter here. One degree outside, and the furnace blower motor blows at about 4 p.m., filling my house with the smell of burning money rubber.

Naturally, it was too late to get an appointment today, so I had to call the "on-call technician." Read: "This guy charges overtime."

I warmed the boys' room with a space heater before I put them down and luckily Amelia's staying with Sarah tonight. The repairman is here now and fortunately has the right part. Now I'm just hoping the boys don't wake up from the noise of the repair.

I hate to pay the extra, but I'm on my own this week and I can't take the boys and their gear to a hotel tonight without an extra set of hands. The house is already 56 degrees, so I can only imagine how cold it would be by morning.

On the plus side, I finally have an excuse tonight to sit still and use the Snuggie my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You're Fired!

Today was one of those tough days. Very, very tough days. It actually started last night with a rough bedtime for one of the kids.

That was followed by another too-early morning. And the need to send more than one child back to bed for an attitude adjustment.

Things evened out for a while, and I tried. I really, really tried. But as the day went on, it went downhill.

There were time outs and yelling. Lots of time outs. Way too much yelling.

I kept taking a deep breath and trying to do better, but at every turn it seemed someone was doing something they'd already been reprimanded for. And I found myself yelling again.

Someone stuck stickers to the floor instead of the paper. Someone ate big chunks of Play-Doh. Someone colored on a wall. Someone knocked over all the pictures on the table. Someone took a large bottle of vinegar from the cupboard and spilled all over the floor. Someone threw food all over the floor AGAIN. And somehow one of the boys dug a steak knife out of the  very back of the highest drawer.

There were tears and fits. And a few of them were mine.

Quite simply, it was the kind of day that makes me feel like a failure as a mom. Because if anyone charged with caring for my children yelled at them as much as I did today, I'd fire them.

So tonight I'm firing me, at least for the next (hopefully) nine hours. I'm lecturing myself about shaking it off and having a better attitude. And I'm sending me straight to bed at 9 p.m.

Good night all. Here's to a better tomorrow.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Show and Tell

When Jeff and I built the kids a stage in the basement we finally moved a few things out that really didn't belong there now that it's a playroom.

One of them was this old wooden filing cabinet:

We bought it at a salvage shop about a dozen years ago. It is solid and still serviceable, but not the best looking piece of furniture. And it definitely didn't fit in with everything else we have.

So while Jeff was home around Christmas, I took on the transformation.

A little sandpaper, a little primer and paint, and some new hardware (67 cents each on clearance!) and check it out:

The total cost of the project was about $15. I had the primer on hand, and I only needed a quart of paint for such a small piece, although I did give it four coats.

As the picture shows, black isn't always black, but I think it turned out great and looks perfect!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Withdrawal Symptoms

Oh, my. Four days without a post?

I've been so caught up in sewage, sickness (lost my wing man for a couple days), and some deadlines for my paying gig(s) that something had to give.

But I know you are a kind and forgiving lot, and it doesn't surprise you that a mom of four small children might get a bit too snowed under to blog.

So, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let's catch up.

Speaking of coffee, perhaps part of the problem around here is that I have given up caffeine. Yes, you read that right. I gave up CAFFEINE.

I've never been a coffee drinker or much of a tea drinker, despite my time in England. My caffeine of choice has always been Coke. The real deal, baby, no Diet Coke for me. The aspartame is bad news. Gives me horrible headaches. Not unlike giving up caffeine, now that I think about it.

But I digress. Where was I?

Oh, yes. A Coke a day. I know, I know. All that sugar! But I have always figured sugar is less likely to kill me than that artificial stuff.

Anyway, I decided it was time to do my body a favor and ditch the sugar and caffeine. Because face it, having a Coke every day is like having a candy bar every day. It's not good for me, and it's not a good example for my kids.

After three days of headaches it's all good now.

Well, except for the fact that I occasionally doze off standing up.

But other than that I'm fine. Really.

I've got a bunch of stuff to share: my first conversation with Amelia about the birds and the bees, Sam's latest obsession, my reaction to a blog post that really bothered me, and pictures of a project I completed while Jeff was home on vacation around Christmas.

But before I sign off, how about a delicious cookie to go with that cup of coffee? The other day Amelia and I made a batch of Whitehouse Cookies. I made half of the cookies and then added a bag of Heath toffee bits to the remaining dough.

Oh. My. Goodness. A new favorite is born!

I've updated the recipe to include this variation. Make yourself some today. Then, if you're like me, you'll have to head directly to the gym to work off the half dozen you ate. Mmmm...but totally worth it!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: They Can Make Their Own Breakfast!

The other morning I was in the middle of making the boys breakfast when I had to answer the door.

When I came back, I found this:

No boys were to be found. They clearly heard me coming. Too bad they didn't clean up the evidence before they took off.

Let's take a closer look:

It seems the boys weren't willing to wait for me to finish making their cinnamon toast.

The downside to this was the mess, obviously. 

The upside? They can make their own breakfast now!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Happy Dance ... Over Laundry?

Today I was frighteningly happy because I was able to do laundry.

Don't worry. I haven't lost it completely.

It's just that the real crisis in the toilet backing up was that I have been unable to do laundry or run the dishwasher for two days.

That equaled about six sinks full of dishes and a tower of laundry that included the towels used to mop up the sewage. Gag! Those I bleached in the bathtub, but I don't have time to be doing dishes by hand and beating my laundry on a rock down by the river.

At least I still had flush toilets that worked.

The clog is finally gone. And I feel much better now that I've been able to run a few loads of laundry through the washing machine with hot water and bleach.

I'm not sure if that is cause for celebration or concern.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Peace and Quiet and Sewage

Ah. Peace and quiet.

We reveled in it this weekend, thanks to the best Christmas gift ever: a whole night of babysitting. (Thanks Sarah and Dustin. Glad the Lillputians didn't take you down.)

Jeff and I escaped yesterday afternoon to check into a hotel and soak in the hot tub before heading out for an evening of fun at our multiples club's holiday party. We stayed out well past our bedtime, knowing there would be no 6 a.m. (or earlier!) wakeup call from the kids. Then we slept soundly and much later than usual since there were no cries of "Paci!" in the wee hours.


At least until the late-morning call came that sewage was backing up through one of our toilets.

Hallmark doesn't make a card that says "Thanks for watching the kids. Sorry about the toilet."

But that's life, right?

Sometimes sewage happens.

You can get upset about it, or just mop it up and move on.

We chose the latter.

Though I did feel a little bit bad since the kids slept all night, but Sarah and Dustin were up tending an overflowing toilet.

That wasn't what I meant when I told them we were still doing a little potty training.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

From My Kitchen: Whitehouse Cookies

I know that the holidays are over, and many of us are regretting all those sweets we ate, but I have a houseful of kids and they still love cookies. (Amelia might even love baking cookies more than eating them!) So another cookie recipe it is!

We're stepping away from all the chocolate and nuts in our Christmas goodies to make simple, sweet, and slightly crunchy Whitehouse cookies. These cookies are a perfect treat for cold weather days. They are full of familiar flavors, and get a nice little crunch thanks to the Rice Krispies. Your family will love them.

These cookies freeze well, which is good, because this recipe makes a lot! Feel free to cut it in half. You'll still have plenty of cookies to go around.

Here's the recipe:

Whitehouse Cookies

1 1/2 C. margarine
1 1/2 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
5 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 C. Rice Krispies
1 1/2 C. regular or quick cooking oatmeal

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together the margarine, sugars, eggs and vegetable oil. Add the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. (Jeff once spent half an hour at the grocery store with a store employee trying to help him find cream of tartar in the dairy case. True story.) Mix well.

Fold in the Rice Krispies and oatmeal until well blended.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Deliciously sweet and crunchy and even a little bit addictive. Enjoy!

Edited 1/14/2011: OK, folks. I just made a batch of these and when I had half the dough left I added a bag of Heath toffee bits. Whitehouse Cookies with toffee are even sweeter, crunchier and more addictive than the originals. Try it. You'll like it, I promise. (Unless you don't like toffee, which I simply can't comprehend.)
© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: Life with Three Toddlers

Here's a snapshot of what life with triplet toddlers is really like.

Today I had Isaac on the potty after he finished his lunch. Sam and Alex were still eating, safely contained in their highchairs where they couldn't get into any trouble.

Or so I thought.

In the two minutes we were in the bathroom, Alex decorated himself with his applesauce.

He was WAY more pleased about it than his mama.

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Isaac The Daredevil

There is no shortage of hijinks in this house, but it seems that Isaac's still got the widest daredevil streak. He's forever climbing, turning somersaults, leaping off something, or pulling some other trick that either amuses or terrifies me.

Isaac is the only one of the boys to go to the emergency room, but ironically he earned his stitches when he tripped and fell while walking across the room. No great daredevil moves there!

Yesterday I had to call an end to the fort Amelia and I built in the basement. It was a classic kids' fort: a blanket thrown over four chairs. But Isaac kept climbing up on the chairs and bellyflopping into the middle of the blanket. The unsupported middle. Suspended over a concrete floor with a thin layer of flooring over it.

He found it amusing. I found it terrifying. Should I be worried that he did it more than once before I caught him and stopped it? Seriously, that had to hurt!

I figured I'd better catch a few of Isaac's tamer daredevil moves on video so I can show him later why Mommy's hair went gray at such a young age.

Check out his gymnastics moves with Daddy:

And then there's Isaac's own unique way of riding the pony in the basement. He's been pulling this kind of trick for months now. He used to do this on the riding toys in the driveway this summer, but they weren't as much fun because they didn't bounce!

I keep hoping to hear one of his brothers say, "Don't do that, Isaac." No luck so far.

Add another line in the budget for hair color, honey!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

One of the Best Birthday Presents

On December 30, I celebrated a birthday. The WBH helped Amelia make cupcakes, and the boys enthusiastically went along with the singing and blowing out of candles once they realized that stood between them and cake.

I have to say, this was one of the best birthday presents ever:

I love it when Sam demands cupcakes in the middle of the singing. I think he speaks for all the boys at the end: "Now we all ready to get cupcakes!"

What good is a birthday if you can't enjoy the cake, right?

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

All Good Things Must Come To An End

I am bracing myself for tomorrow, when Jeff goes back to work after being home with us for almost two full weeks. We've really enjoyed our holiday break, and I expect re-entry to reality will be a little rough for all of us.

We made the best of his vacation. We took the kids to do some of the fun things we didn't get to do during Thanksgiving, thanks to the plague that visited our house. And we spent some days at home doing some projects that I'll show off later, and organizing and cleaning out. It was a pretty good balance.

We are nowhere near organized or cleaned out around here, but we sure got a good start. It takes a while to get everything back in order when you've been a little busy with babies for three years! And the kids add to the chaos and the stuff in the house exponentially, so we've got some catching up to do.

Post-Christmas I kicked back one evening with the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, which had an article about organizing your home. I laughed out loud at the suggestion that, in order to maintain a cluttter-free home, you should fold and put away one load of laundry before starting the next.

In two days we'd be going naked around here.

I have no trouble getting the laundry done and folded. I usually fold after the kids are in bed while I catch up with Jeff. But getting it all put away is another matter entirely.

If I try to put the clothes away when the kids are up, I inevitably have to run to the playroom multiple times to break up a fight or see what the screaming is about. While that's good exercise, it's just not worth the effort. And I can't put it away when they are asleep or at least trying to sleep in their rooms, which is a decent chunk of the day and evening.

My laundry baskets do double-duty as storage bins. They are the first place I look for kids' clothes and pajamas. As a rule, I'm shocked if I can't find what I need in the laundry basket. Besides, isn't it much more efficient to pull clean clothes straight out of the laundry basket instead of putting it all away only to pull it out of the drawer less than 24 hours later?

Efficiency. It's all about efficiency. Let's just go with that.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

To kick off the new year, I've been taking a look back through 2010. I can't believe how much the kids have grown! We've survived a year of sleeplessness, t-ball and potty training, just to name a few milestones.

If you want to take a trip down memory lane, here are some of my favorite posts and moments from 2010.

Grandma's test cookie turns out to be a good life strategy.
I started a club for parents whose kids don't sleep.
The boys demonstrate "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." Nothing a little therapy can't fix.

10 Things I Never Knew Until I Became Mom
"Dear Today: You suck." Really, it's self-explanatory.
A classic Amelia story about baptizing.
I shared a story from my past about the time Stumpy "lost another finger."

Another classic Amelia story: Snow White and the seven what?
The boys put on a dinner show with their bedtime bottles. Get ready for the giggles!

The boys show each other some brotherly love.
Amelia gets upset about being a singleton.
Read about the day Sam, Isaac and Alex ruined my reputation.
Sam went on a sleep strike.

Amelia asks a few too many questions about the chicken leg she's eating.
The night Mom ran out of answers.
How my triplets cured me of my procrastination habit...mostly.

The start of potty training was...messy.
Boogeroni and sneeze. This is a guest post by Jeff. It's funny and worth a read!
Before I was a mom...
If Martha Stewart did potty training.
Check out the video evidence of the night Dad lost control of the kiddos.

Goodbye kisses from Isaac.
Amelia's request for a sister, or three.
My rant about designer diapers.

We got brave and let the kids try out the fingerpaints.
The recipe post where I force you to view slides from our St. Louis vacation.
Sam's language skills do his mama proud. Or not.

Amelia puts another rude person in her place.
There was a little storm during our boat tour on the annual girls' weekend.
Who told the kids they could grow up?
Apple picking!
Alex shows off his Houdini skills at getting undressed.
We got rid of our "Exile Island" crib.
The boys brought lots of laughs by feeding each other.
The boys celebrated their birthday in an unusual fashion.
Definitive proof that Amelia is mine.

Halloween recap with photos of the homemade costumes!
An ode to vomit.
Then there was a spate of rodent posts: past and present.
Then I quit complaining about the rodents when the coyote hung out in my yard.
My bah humbug came early in this post.

Helmets are definitely required!
Amelia made Christmas special for me.
Being handed a poopy diaper during a business call: One of the challenges of working from home.
A new Christmas tradition for us.
Sam and Amelia perform on the new stage in the playroom.

© Trippin' Mama 2011