Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter's Last Hurrah

We got another four inches of snow last Friday.

I didn't think my spirit could take any more snow.

Luckily I have kids, and they were thrilled with the snow, which lifted my spirits immensely.

Friday after Amelia came home from school we all went out and played in the white stuff.

Saturday I took her to the sledding hill, hoping it was the last time for the season.

Once we got there, we had a lot of fun and a few wipeouts, too. I quickly forgot about the cold, the hassle of shoveling and driving in the snow, and what a pain it is to bundle everyone up every time we go out. We played for more than an hour before we packed it in. I think we both knew it was the last hurrah.

Sunday it rained. The rain took all the snow with it and left behind mud. Lots and lots of mud.

I'm glad we enjoyed the snow one last time, because you know what? I miss it already.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Is in Charge Here?

There's really no debate about who is in charge around here (Mommy!), but Sam and I had a little discussion about it a few weeks ago anyway.

Isaac's reaction to being told he's in charge cracks me up, and I love Sam's little sly boots smile when he tells me that he's in charge.

They are almost cute enough to make me give in. Almost...

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

From My Kitchen: Tortilla Soup

We got more snow again today, so it's still soup season here! Really, winter has gone on long enough. I'm ready for the seasons to change so I can change up my menus and get out of what's starting to feel like a food rut around here.

Today I pulled out this tortilla soup recipe I got from my sister Mary. I haven't made it in a while, and I was up for something a little zippy. You can vary the heat according to your taste. I usually use mild salsa and add a little red pepper or chipotle or even jalepeno if I want more heat. As a bonus, you can make this in the crockpot.

Here's the recipe:

Tortilla Soup
3 (15 oz.) cans chicken broth
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & chopped (You can use split breasts, which are cheaper than boneless.)
2 carrots, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can chunky salsa (I use mild, but spice it up if you want.)
2 green onions, sliced
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
soft flour tortillas or tortilla chips
fresh cilantro

Combine the chicken broth, cooked chicken (I like to poach mine, but you can bake it, too.), carrots, salsa and green onions in a large pot or your crockpot. Cook until carrots are soft, or about 6 hours on low. Just before serving stir in cheese.

Use a pizza cutter to slice tortillas into wide strips. Place them in bowls and ladle soup over. If you prefer a little crunch, skip the soft tortilla strips and garnish with tortilla chips. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped cilantro.

I often add a little cooked rice to this. Today I added about a cup of brown rice I had leftover from supper the other night. I generally don't use soft tortilla strips (which act like noodles when they soak up the soup) when I include rice. I also threw in a little garlic, which was delish. So don't be afraid to play around with this one.

If winter must continue to hang around, a nice bowl of steamy, hot tortilla soup makes it a little more bearable.


© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Writer's Workshop - Lesson Learned: A Memo to My Fellow Mamas

Dear Fellow Mamas:

I would like to commend you for taking your children on an outing that is fun, educational or both. Kudos to you for not plunking them in front of the TV while you read the lastest issue of "People."

That said, could one of you please explain why you must you carry the world's largest Gucci/Coach/Prada purse know to man on your shoulder at the park/zoo/children's museum? Seriously, some of your handbags are so big that a small child would actually fit inside of them. And I've seen more than one waist-high little person clock his head on the bag dangling from your arm and threatening to separate your shoulder.

You are endangering yourself and others with those things. Please, stop the madness. This is not a fashion show. I'm with you on the great jeans and cute top, but ditch the 42-pound bag and the spiky heels when you're here with your kids, OK?

While we're at it, would it be too much to ask for you to actually watch your children, or even interact with them while you're here? I know that's hard to do when you've got your latte in one hand and your smart phone in the other, but give it a try. Your tapping on that phone is annoying me almost as much as having to stop your kid from throwing sand because you're paying more attention to your phone than your child.

Facebook will still be there when you get home. But these moments with your kids won't last.

So take a lesson from the low-key moms out there: Stick a credit card and your driver's license in your pocket, put on some comfy shoes and get down on your knees next to your little people. They'll love you for it. And you'll be a whole lot less annoying to the rest of us.



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

Mama's Losin' It

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: "Dinking" Party

The other day I heard a lot of chatter and laughter coming down the hallway.

Since it wasn't coming from the hallway and the bedroom doors were all closed, I went to investigate.

Someone (I suspect Sam), had opened the door to the master bedroom.

I could hear water running in the bathroom, and I came around the corner to find this:

When I asked what they were doing, Sam said happily, "We're having a party!"

Then Alex grinned at me and said, "We're dinking!"

Ahem, he means "drinking," but none of the boys can pronounce that yet.

Sure enough, one had a little medicine cup, one had a real cup and one had the cap from a bottle of hairspray. They were filling them at the sink and "dinking."

Sam wrapped it all up neatly, "We're having a dinking party!"

Great. They're two and already having drinking parties.

This, my friends, is why they invented the phrase, "If you can't beat them, join them."

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

They Lied to Me

Now that the boys are the same age Amelia was when we brought them home I look at them and wonder how we ever survived. I never had four in diapers, since Amelia was fully potty-trained when the boys were born, but she was not sleeping consistently through the night.

And she was two. TWO!

Now we're back at two again. Setting aside the fact that I can't believe the boys are in the thick of being two already, I have days when I wonder if we'll all survive to see three.

Before the boys were born many of my fellow moms of multiples said, "If you can just survive the first year it's all downhill from there."


Yes, the first year was tough. Brutal even. And honestly I have (mercifully) already forgotten much of it. But the pumping, feeding every three hours, sleeping in 45-minute increments, and never having time to shower or eat? I remember. The spoon feeding, diaper changing, baby bathing, bottle washing and laundry marathons? I remember those too.

But two years old? Times three? The velocity, the energy, the curiousity, the into-everythingness is AMAZING. Also, exhausting.

The other day we were playing with Play-doh, and I was breaking a sweat trying to keep up. One wanted help cutting out a circle. Another wanted to "quish" the orange Play-doh, not the yellow he had. A third wanted me to make balls to put in his cup. And no one wanted to wait patiently or play on his own while mommy helped someone else.  The faster I filled their requests, the faster the requests came at me.

It reminded me of spoon feeding them in the early days when they would open their mouths and squawk for more the second they swallowed. They made me sweat then, too!

I am continually trying to keep up with them. Their imaginations are in high gear and I spend a lot of time trying to understand what they are talking about and whether it is real or pretend. Then there are the special toys, cars and tiny pieces of things that must be found, sending Mommy on a treasure hunt all around the house.

Then there's the typical two-year-old behavior. You know, the less-than-accepting response when the answer is "no." The sudden changes in what they like and don't like that leave their mama completely confused. The physical acting out when they are mad or frustrated.

Some days you'd think there was a rule here that the time-out chair can never be empty. And I'm sure the neighbors sometimes think I'm beating the kids for all the wailing in anguish they do when they don't get exactly what they want. I promise I'm not, though sometimes they beat on each other. Just one of many reasons we need the time-out chair.

The early days were crazy, sure, but three two-year-olds raises the crazy stakes to a whole new level. At least in the beginning everyone needed pretty much the same thing at the same time. Three bottles, three diaper changes, three baths etc... Now, everyone needs different things at the same time. I thought the juggling was crazy when it was trying to get everyone fed at the same time and sleeping at the same time.

These days I'll often find myself playing race cars and eating a pretend lunch someone's whipped up in the play kitchen while singing "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" with the third boy. I try to grab every moment I can to do something one-on-one with each of the kids. Amelia gets the boys' nap time and the boys get whatever moments I can find when the others are busy. It's not easy, and I try not to obsess about those days when mommy time isn't very equitable.

One thing does make this age easier than the early days: I get to sleep at night. Let's hear an "Amen" for that!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rainy Days Were Made for PJs

Today was a cold, rainy day. Yuck. We've been able to get outside lately, so having to stay in again was doubly harsh.

We all coped in different ways.

I pulled a couple new things out of the craft/toy closet to keep the kids entertained.

The boys spent some extra time running around the house naked. I don't understand why that makes them so happy, but I'll take it. Unfortunately, today that meant taking a couple accidents on the floor, too. Perhaps I should forget potty training and just paper train them instead?

Amelia coped by spending the entire day in her pajamas. When I finally wrestled the boys into their clothes about 10 a.m. I told her it was time to get dressed. She asked to get dressed later. Fine with me. Those jammies looked darn comfortable.

In the end, we just never got around to getting her dressed today.

As I put her in clean pjs for bedtime I decided that she had the right idea. Next time I'm going to join her.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Welcome to The Commune

The boys are on a "nakey" kick as of late. The other day we didn't have anywhere to go and they were in the buff until at least 10 a.m. And if they are crabby it's a surefire way to change their moods dramatically.

As an added bonus, I think running around here naked has helped one of the boys clear the final potty training hurdle: poop on the potty. He's ASKED and gone on the potty three days in a row now, much to his mother's great joy.

This morning we went to the YMCA, so nakey time came after nap and went on and on. In fact, Jeff came home to find three naked boys eating supper. Hey, what can I say? It sure saves on laundry.

All of this hanging out with lots of little people in the buff does concern me a bit. I'm afraid we're just a couple goats and a flock of chickens away from having to declare this place a commune.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Touch of Spring

The "Monster Storm" (the media's name for it, not mine) was just two weeks ago, and today it hit 60 degrees. No wonder everyone around here was smiling!

As soon as the boys got up from nap we headed outside to play in the driveway. They were pretty excited to play with the bikes, trikes and Coupe Car. I was just excited to get them outside.

Ahhh, freedom!

I suspected that they wouldn't stay on the relatively dry driveway, so we did wear boots. As it turned out, the lure of the sandbox was just too strong. Snow and sand do not make the best combination, but at least the snow helped clean their boots off on the trek to the door.

I'm sure that spring isn't truly here yet, but we sure welcomed the respite!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I took the boys to the library for story hour this morning. They used to love it and sit pretty well, until they turned about 22 months. Ever since then I just take them for the aerobic exercise of chasing them around the room and the mental challenge of trying to talk them into sitting and listening.

They did OK today, but not great. They wanted to sit in the "big boy" chairs instead of on the floor, which was fine. They didn't so much sit in the chairs, as fall off them dramatically, crawl under them, and push them around.

But, they were relatively quiet so the other kids could hear. And no one threw a major fit or ran around the room. I considered that a big win.

There was a coloring page afterward and we kept the crayons on the table and on the paper, and mostly out of our orficices. Another win.

So when I was putting them back in the van I told them they had done "OK, but not great."

Sam responded, "We do great!"

I corrected him and explained that "great" would mean sitting in their chairs for the 10 minutes of story time, but they did a good job of being quiet.

Isaac said, "We're GREAT!"

I didn't even try again since it would probably only encourage Alex to join the "great" chorus. I know when I'm outnumbered!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sometimes Randomness Makes Sense

I haven't been blogging. There's been both too much going on and not much going on all at the same time. Does that make sense?

I've had one of those weeks where there have been a million little things to take care of that somehow don't seem to add up to anything really getting done. I usually refer to that as "getting nibbled to death by ducks." So here's a rather miscellaneous update.

Sam's getting along pretty well on his cast now. He can even "wun" on it, and when he does he usually yells, "I'm wunning! I'm wunning!" I guess it's a little novel since he spent more than a week crawling before hesitantly standing on it and taking a few steps for a couple days. Once he realized it no longer hurt, he was off to the races.

Sam got mobile just in time, too. I don't know how much more toting a 30-pound toddler around my back could take. He still asks to be held and carried a lot, but he's no longer the barnacle he was in the first 10 days.

The cast situation is not entirely without woe, of course. We had to go in and have it replaced today after it got soaked in the bath last night. That wasn't really a bad thing, since Sam has sensitive skin and they were able to let his leg air out and put a little medicine on a couple pretty ugly spots before recasting it.

Outside of that, I've completed one consulting job and started another, and we went and looked at a house that's for sale in our neighborhood.

The job? A little writing, which is always fun for me.

The house? Great space and flow, but in need of some updates and priced more than we want to spend. Maybe it will come down in price given the soft market. We'll see.

We could use a little more space, but we love, love, love our neighborhood so we've been doing some homework on a remodel. When this four-bedroom plus den came on the market we had to go look at it, even though it's priced a little high.

I'm also working on replacing our old furnace before something else goes wrong. Who knew there was so darn much to know about furnaces? I've had a couple sales guys out here filling my head with SEER numbers and discussions about variable speed blowers, when they aren't getting quizzed by my children.

In other news, we had a nice Valentine's Day here. Amelia saw to it that I got flowers, and on a whim I made a two-layer cake frosted (pink, for Amelia!)  for dessert tonight. It was partly an excuse to use the footed cake stand that my mom always used for birthday cakes and special occasions when I was growing up. And it was partly a way to avoid more mundane tasks like laundry and dusting.

And now I think I'll continue my trend of avoiding housework by going to bed. Night all!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: A Study in Color

Amelia has always loved to paint, but it's only fairly recently that we've let the boys have at it.

Of course they love it: It's messy!



We usually reserve the paints for right before bath time. You can see why!

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two Years and Four Months Old

Today Sam, Isaac and Alex are two years and four months old. Amelia was just a couple weeks older than that when they boys were born. We forget just how little she was!

Two years ago the boys were just rolling over and starting to sleep through the night. (Although sadly that didn't become consistent for quite a while!) Amelia decided that she wanted to move to the big girl bed, and the boys were all still sleeping in the same crib, though that came to an end pretty quickly once they started to roll over on each other.

Here's a reminder of what life was like in our house two years ago.

It's hard to believe how much things have changed!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

When Life Gives You Snow...Make Snowmen!

Mother Nature treated us to four inches of snow on top of the ice over the weekend. That wreaked a little havoc with our Internet service Saturday, but left us with perfect packing snow to play in.

So Sunday afternoon we all went out to play. Well, Jeff shoveled the driveway for a lot of the time we were outside, but the kids played.

Amelia made a snow horse (with a little help from Mom & Dad).

Check out the sticks for the mane and tail. Her idea, and a pretty good one!

Even Sam got in on the action, though as we were getting ready to go out he cried for us to take his cast off and put his boot on. We wrapped his cast in fleece and a plastic bag, then added a warm sock on top. It worked pretty well. He was outside for an hour. The cast was dry and the toes were still warm and pink when he came in. Sam loves to be outside, and really loves the snow so we didn't want him to miss out.

As much as we're all looking forward to warmer weather, it's still fun to play in the snow!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Professor Isaac

Last week, before The Monster Storm, I had a couple different sales guys out to give me estimates on replacing our furnace. We got it fixed, but it's nearing the end of its life cycle and I'd rather shop around for a good deal than have to buy something because the house is freezing. 

I warned them all as they came into my house that this would be an exercise in focus and concentration. Of course I made them all come when the boys were awake. I'm looking for a little pity discount here!

Anyway, when one of the furnace guys was here Isaac was sitting at the table with us playing with some shapes. Alex and Sam were downstairs in the playroom. When the boys in the basement started screaming I excused myself to go down and see what the problem was.

As I came back up I heard Isaac quizzing the furnace guy:

Isaac: "What shape is this?"
FG: "Circle."
Isaac: "Right. It's a circle."

By now I was part way up the stairs and could see Isaac holding up one finger and lecturing to the furnace guy. Then he held up a foam picture of a jewel.

Isaac: "What shape is this?"
FG: "It's a diamond."
Isaac: "No. It's a pentagon."

In the furnace guy's defense, the jewel does look like a diamond, but the shape is five-sided, so Isaac was right, it is a pentagon.

Isaac held up the same shape again as I reached the top of the stairs and could see amused look on the furnace guy's face.

"What shape is this?"

The furnace guy dutifully answered, "It's a pentagon."

"Good. A pentagon," said Professor Isaac.

The furnace guy looked at me and said, "I think I just got schooled by your two-year-old."

I had to agree.

I can only imagine the story that guy told when he got back to the office!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pardon Moi: The "Monster Storm"

I finally tuned in to the national news today to find that this had been dubbed the "Monster Storm." My apologies to the creative genius who thought that one up for merely calling it the Storm of the Century.

Mercifully, we did not lose power last night, thanks to a sudden warmup for about three hours that helped take some of the ice off the trees and power lines. It was a good thing, too, because shortly after that the winds were gusting in excess of 45 miles an hour. That likely would have done us in if there had been any more ice on the lines.

After determining that the storm was mostly past us, I gave the go ahead to eat the crockpot full of white chicken chili that's been cooking and/or staying hot since Monday evening. I made it with the plan that we'd at least get one hot meal after the power went out, so every mealtime that we had power we ate something else. I learned two things: 1) A crockpot full of white chicken chili is apparently pretty good insurance against power outages and 2) that stuff is just as yummy after slow cooking for three days as it is on day one.

The wind blew lots of little branches off the trees in our yard and enough ice into our bedroom window to keep us awake and wondering if a window was going to break. But thank heavens the power stayed on.

The streets and our driveway are a sheet of glass still today, and then Mother Nature kicked a little snow in our faces just to make sure that we got the message she's in charge.

We heard you, Mama, loud and clear!

Jeff and I have been shoveling the drive ourselves this year, but today we called the plow guy. You saw in yesterday's video that it was almost impossible to chip even a little hole in the ice with a shovel. Turns out you couldn't chip a hole in it with a snowplow either. Poor guy's wheels were spinning and he was getting nowhere. He dumped a little salt and left without charging us. We'll see what that looks like tomorrow.

I suspect we'll either have to wait for the spring thaw to clear it or set up the nets and teach the kids to play hockey. I'm sure Sam can play goalie even with his broken leg.

On the plus side, Phil says that spring's right around the corner. I'm pretty sure even that groundhog is bright enough to know that any other prediction may have cost him his life this year!

Now that the danger's passed I've turned the heat down. I was keeping it fairly tropical on the theory that the warmer it was in here the longer it would take to really get cold if we lost power. I was perfectly comfortable. The children, on the other hand, were begging to wear shorts and summer jammies!

Since I've been posting video updates of this storm, here's today's video of the aftermath.

All in all, we got off pretty easy. And since we prepared for the worst, I've got lots of meals packed up and in the freezer.

That should be a big help now that I'm spending 80 percent of my day with Sam on my hip or on my back. It's pretty hard to say no to picking him up when he crawls across the floor then holds up his arms and says, "Mama, can you carry me?"

Sam took a few tentative steps on his cast today, so for the sake of my back I'm hoping he can walk on it pretty well by next week. Although it is kind of nice to have one of the triplets slowed down a little bit!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Storm of the Century

I am happy to report that we still have power, even though Round Two of this icy mess started about 2:00 this afternoon. We got sleet, which I have learned, is preferable to freezing rain because it doesn't coat the trees and power lines as much.

The sleet sounds like popcorn as it pings off the layer of ice we've already got packed down. You can hear it in the video below.

Looks like we've got freezing rain on the way for Round Three overnight plus high winds, so keep sending warm, keep-the-power-on thoughts our way!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

The Storm of The Century?

Don't you love how the news and weather people always rush to call every big storm "the Storm of the Century" or "Snowmageddon" or something else overly dramatic?

Yes, the weather here is not nice. It's going to get worse. But it's not apocalyptic just yet, so let's save a few superlatives for later, shall we?

The first round came through and left a nice layer of ice, but there's more on the way. The power is on so far, but by all accounts, we shouldn't expect it to remain on when we get the next two inches of ice, snow, freezing rain, sleet...whatever. All the reports are starting to run together in my head.

I just want the power to stay on. Cold, nasty weather is so much more survivable if you can make cookies. Amelia, however, is very excited by the possibility of losing power and camping out by the fire. Her parents? Decidedly less so.

Here's a video so you can see Round One for yourself.

Tomorrow I may decide that the superlatives apply to this storm, but not just yet!

© Trippin' Mama 2011