Thursday, April 28, 2011

April Showers

It has been so wet here this spring! It's driving us all a little crazy, because we can't get out of the house as much as we'd like.

Solution? Toss the kids outside during the first break in the rain on a semi-warm day and let 'em enjoy the mud puddles.

As you can see from this video, they "love getting wet" and had a blast.

The downside of this is that now all I hear when it's raining is "Please, we go play in the puddles?"

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Conquering Triplethood, Little by Little

A couple weeks ago I documented the end of an era. We took down our big configure gate and brought the  the couch back into our family room after a two-and-a-half year absence.

Bye-bye Baby Cage, hello Family Room!

True, we still don't have end tables or lamps, but it's a big step in the right direction around here.

We took another big step last week. Tuesday we had terrible storms that kept me from posting and had Jeff and me setting up the pack and plays in the basement just in case. We have used those pack and plays, one in our room and one in Amelia's room so the boys could nap separately. That was critical to success around here, because it kept one boy from interrupting everyone's nap. And it let me go into the troublemaker's room to rock and soothe and coax him to sleep.

On Wednesday morning I decided not to set them back up. I told the boys that they were big boys now and they could all nap in the same room. We talked about being quiet and going to sleep, and they surprised me by doing great. In fact, they did way better than they do at bedtime when they tend to chat a lot. The rest of the week went so well I never even considered setting a pack and play back up. Tonight I folded them up and stored them.

That means that I can go into my room or Amelia's room during naptime to put away clothes, make beds, clean, gather up laundry...ahhh, normalcy!

Now I want to confess that I haven't done those things, because for twoish years I have trained myself to not venture to the bedroom end of the house unless someone is crying during naptime. But I CAN!

Sometimes the little things ARE the big things.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Joy of Easter

This Easter was full of joy. Christ is risen, and we celebrated!

Enjoy the photos from our weekend, and listen to the lyrics to the song. They tell the story of our true joy, a gift that could only come from heaven.

The song is "Little Things" by Go Global Entertainment.
Hope your Easter was full of the joy!
© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Truths About Easter

Last Easter was pretty low key around here. That was NOT the case this year. Here are a few things we learned.

1. There's nothing like a little sugar to really get the morning started.
Next year the Easter bunny will bring less chocolate and more coins or toys or something. Anything. The kids were completely wired by 8:30 a.m., and the boys got up from their naps saying, "Now we can have more candy?"

Isaac kept saying the Easter bunny brought him "green beans" (jelly beans). Sam and Alex kept calling them "jumping beans." That was probably a little more on target!

Isaac and Amelia check out what the Easter bunny brought.

Tonight when the boys were in bed they were talking about how the candy was all gone. Glad they think so, because they aren't getting any tomorrow. I wonder how on earth my mother ever survived eight sugared up kids at Easter?

2. Easter grass is spring's answer to Christmas tree needles.
Next year, no Easter grass. That stuff is scattered from one end of my house to the other, and I tried to confiscate it all as soon as they pulled everything out of their Easter baskets.

And even though every child got an identical pair of these silly foam glasses, all day we heard, "Those are my glasses!"

 Sam and Isaac show off their specs.

3. Church with three 2 1/2 year-olds is an aerobic activity.
The nursery was closed for Easter Sunday, so we had to take all of the kids to church with us. I wished all day that the Easter bunny had brought me a body double to go to Easter mass. We went at 5:30 p.m. when it wasn't crowded.

It was raining when we got to church, so Jeff dropped us off at the door and I took the kids in by myself. First they used the handicapped button to open the door of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. I had all I could do to keep them from storming the chapel and interrupting the peace and quiet.

Then when we went into the church, without Jeff, Sam freaked out and started hollering to leave. Amelia was holding his hand and tried valiantly to keep him from taking off while I rushed Isaac and Alex into a pew and went back to grab Sam. Alex came running out of the pew crying as well, so I ended up carrying two crying boys into the pew. Talk about an entrance!

Jeff showed up just in time to save me. He kept stepping out with Sam who wailed on and off, saying "Can we get out of here now!" for the first third of the service. We think it was the noise that bothered him. Alex and Isaac liked the guitar ("bit-tar") music, so that helped keep them busy.

Every time the music stopped or there was a pause in the service, Alex would say loudly, "It's ober." By the end, the people around us were laughing every time he said it.

We did a lot of shushing and telling the boys to whisper. They would say back, not in a whisper, "We whisker."

Sam, Isaac, Alex and Amelia in their Easter finery.

The only other incident was when Sam and Amelia found a piece of dried up chewing gum stuck under the pew. Amelia was trying to pull it off with her fingers, but Sam put his mouth on it. Ewww!

At the end of the service, the lady next to me told me we did a bang-up job of getting the kids through Mass. I appreciated that, because by the end Jeff and I were both sweating. I'm sure I burned off all the Easter candy AND the homemade carmel roll I ate.

4. Bedtime can't come soon enough on a sugar-filled holiday.
By the time we got home from church it was time for pajamas and bedtime was in sight. If only it were that easy. I think the last child finally gave up at 10 p.m. 

I repeat, there will be no sugar tomorrow.

But tonight there will be wine. Mom and Dad have earned it! 

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Yesterday we dyed Easter eggs, and I was ready to tell you all about how we survived it (more or less), but Blogger was apparently taking a little holiday, so I couldn't write up the post. And tonight the Easter bunny had some work to do, so now it's late and I must hop off to bed. Easter egg dyeing and today's Easter egg hunt will have to wait.

Just in case I must nap instead of blog after dealing with my over-sugared children tomorrow, happy Easter from all of us.

Sam, Alex, Amelia and Isaac ~ Easter 2011

Christ is risen, alleluia!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pteradactyl Hair!

What could be more fun than three pteradactyls in the tub?

Alex, Sam and Isaac show off their pteradactyl hair.

Well, four, of course, but everyone's getting so big that all of the kids hardly fit in the bathtub together anymore. I'm not sure what we'll do when we have to start splitting everyone up. Baths just won't be as much fun for kiddos or parents!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: A Couch Returns!

Before the boys were born two and a half years ago, we took the couch out of our family room to make way for two cribs and a changing table.
Their bedroom wasn't large enough for their cribs and people to do nighttime feedings, so rather than drag them back and forth, we just set up the family room as Baby Central. The family room was where all the action happened for the first four months. The boys played, ate and slept there, day and night.

Once the boys moved to the nursery for naps and nighttime, we removed one of the cribs. We left one crib for feeding, containing a troublemaker from time to time, and for serving as Exile Island for a baby who was not sleeping well at night and disturbing his brothers.

By the time the boys were six months old and crawling, we removed the floor lamps and added the world's largest baby gate. (OK, maybe not the largest, but still 14 feet across!) At eight months they started crawling onto and falling off of the chairs, so out they went.

In the end, we were left with basically a large playpen. A gated room, devoid of furniture, save the changing table, but full of toys and baby gear.

Alex, Isaac and Sam ~ June 2009, nine months old

A week ago we removed the changing table and brought the couch back in after almost two years! We took out a section of the baby gate and the room felt so nice and open. Since we rarely close the gate anymore and the boys can open the doors anyway, I decided to try no gate for a week and see how it went.

The lack of a gate isn't a problem. The couch is proving a little more challenging. The boys are gradually learning the rules of the couch, though, and I love having it back. The room seems so much bigger now, and it almost feels normal since we brought the couch back.

But the best part of having a couch back is...snuggles!

Alex, Mom, Isaac and Sam snuggle on the couch after bathtime.

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

From My Kitchen: Resurrection Rolls

Since I wasn't able to get this posted last Friday and this is a recipe you should make before Easter, I'm sharing today.

I'm sure many of you have heard of resurrection rolls or empty tomb rolls. I knew these as marshmallow puffs before I learned about using them to teach the lesson of the resurrection. If you haven't ever made them, try them out. Not only are they a great way to share the story of Jesus' death and resurrection with the little people in your life, they are delicious.

Amelia and I made a batch of resurrection rolls last week. The recipe is simple, and so is the lesson. (Well, at least it's simple until your four-year-old starts asking a million tough questions!) Here they are:

Resurrection Rolls (and lesson)
1/4 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 (8-oz.) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
16 large marshmallows
1/4 C. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon.

Separate dough into 16 triangles. 
The dough represents the cloth Jesus was wrapped in when He was laid in the tomb.

Take a marshmallow.
This represents Jesus and His purity.

Dip the marshmallow in butter.
This represents the oils of embalming.

Dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon sugar.
This represents the spices used to annoint the body of Jesus.

Wrap the coated marshmallow in the crescent roll dough, sealing all seams tightly.
This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death.

Dip bottoms of rolls in butter and place butter side down in ungreased muffin cups. Place in 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
The oven represents the tomb.

During baking the cresent roll will puff up and the marshmallow will melt, so like the tomb, it is EMPTY.

When the rolls have cooled slightly, break the rolls (cloths) open to discover that Jesus is no longer there. 

Note: Make sure your marshmallows are fresh, so they melt completely. And, be sure to seal the dough very tightly around the marshmallows so they don't leak out as they melt.

Amelia understood the lesson very well. So well, in fact, that she renamed the recipe. Check out her take on it along with her capable demonstration of how to make these delicious rolls.


© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Lesson of the Red Suit

I didn't post much last week because I was busy with one of my volunteer gigs, helping out on an event for 4-H. If you are a longtime reader, you know I grew up in 4-H and it is a program near and dear to my heart.

I had to speak at the event on Friday, and I shared this story of one of the life lessons I learned from 4-H.

The Lesson of the Red Suit

It was my last year in 4-H, and I was sewing a dress for the Fashion Revue. I use the term sewing loosely, because for me, garment construction was literally an exercise in blood, sweat and tears – mine and my mother’s! Two days before the Fashion Revue, I cut a hole in the dress and ruined it.

My mother and I headed to the store where we bought more fabric and God only knows why, a NEW pattern. For a double breasted suit no less.

I worked nearly around the clock to make that suit in two days. I even hemmed the skirt by hand in the car on the way to the Fashion Revue.

I don’t recall exactly how I did at the event, but I clearly recall the conversation I had with my mom when it was all over. I asked her why we didn’t make something simpler or just skip Fashion Revue instead of whipping up a double-breasted suit in two days. And she responded, “Because that’s not what 4-H teaches you.”

And she was right. There was a lesson in that suit. It wasn't a lesson about sewing. It was a lesson about keeping your commitments and challenging yourself to do what needs to be done, no matter how difficult. It’s a lesson that was so powerful, I still have that suit, some 20 years later.


That's right, I still have the suit, 80s shoulder pads and all. I worked so hard on it that I've never been able to part with it. I dug it out of the back of my closet so I could show it as I told my story.

I'm still amazed that I made that suit in two days. I'm even more amazed that the skirt has a 23-inch waist!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Twittering Out

If you stop by the blog (instead of reading this in a reader) you'll notice that I've dropped my Twitter feed. It was really languishing, and I don't have time to tweet. I'd like to, but I don't have a smart phone, so I must come to the computer to tweet.

That means I can only tweet at naptime and after the kids have gone to bed. Because we know that leaving my crew alone for the 30 seconds it takes for me to use the bathroom or swap out the laundry leads to disastrous messes and fires.

In place of my Twitter feed, you will find my gratitude list. I believe very much in the power of being grateful, and I have been blessed in so many, many ways. I was inspired to start my list and add it to my blog it by this post from Ann Voskamp, author of "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are." As I read through her list of all the positive effects of practicing gratitude and sharing that practice with your kids, I knew that while I try to be grateful, I could use a little more practice.

Instead of tweeting about our daily chaos, I will be stopping at the end of the day to reflect on those things for which I am grateful. Instead of harried twittering, quiet contemplation. Instead of shouting to the world, listening to my heart. Inviting grace. Sharing joy. 

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Dream of Sleep

The boys are passing around a little bug these days. They have all run a little fever. Well, except Isaac. He never runs a little fever. He's either at 102 or normal.

Anyway, it hasn't slowed them down much. As long as they get a little ibuprofen now and then, they are doing fine. They aren't eating as much as usual, but drinking tons of milk.

But, this sickness is wreaking havoc with our sleep. It's been about four nights now since we've been able to go to bed and sleep all night. It reminds me of the early days, though get up once or twice a night is a lot less brutal than getting up six to 12 times a night. Unfortunately we're even back in the land of the boys waking each other up with their crying.

And believe me, two upset infants haven't got anyting on two upset two-year-olds!

Here's hoping it passes quickly.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Calling Miss Clairol

Every night after I put the kids in bed I breathe a sigh of relief and say a prayer of thanksgiving that we made it through another day.

Every day these smart, curious children do something that makes my hair turn a little grayer, if not stand straight on end.

Here are a few things from the last week that have me calling for Miss Clairol (and praying, a LOT):

1. Sam: "Please we see the fire again."

2. Isaac from the top of the swingset: "This isn't very high. I can jump."

3. Alex, handing me the toilet brush holder: "I drink water from that cup!"

4. Amelia: "I need a prince to kiss me."

5.The boys upon watching workers on scaffolding around a multi-story building: "We need helmets."
Me: "So you can build?"
Boys: "So we can climb!"

6. Jeff: "I'll be home late from work on Monday."

While I'm busy covering the gray, maybe I should take a cue from Sam and become a redhead!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

From My Kitchen: Biscuit Stuffing Atop Chops

This recipe came from the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook. The biscuit "stuffing" helps keep the pork chops nice and moist. This dish does take a little time in the oven, but you can prep ahead by doing everything except mixing the biscuit pieces into the rest of the topping ingredients. Then it just takes a couple minutes to get it ready to pop in the oven.

Here's the recipe:

Biscuit Stuffing Atop Chops
6 pork chops (1/2-inch thick)
1 Tbsp. oil
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (I use low sodium)
1 C. chopped celery
1 C. chopped onions
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage (If you really like sage, increase to 1/4 tsp.)
1 egg
1 can refrigerated biscuits

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil. Place in ungreased 13x9 pan. In medium bowl, combine soup, celery, onions, pepper, poutry seasoning and egg. Mix well. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each into 8 pieces. Stir biscuit pieces into soup mixture. Spoon over pork chops. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until biscuit pieces are golden brown.


© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: Bedtime Stories with Multiples

When we first found out we were pregnant with our triplets, one of the first things I worried about what we would do at bedtime. (I know there were lots of better things to worry about, but I was hormonal, freaked out, and not thinking straight.)

Anyway, my concern centered around the bedtime routine. From the time Amelia was old enough to sit up and look at a book, we always sat in the rocking chair and read a few books before bed.

How in the world would we do that with three? Would we ever get a chance to enjoy bedtime stories when we had a whole troop on our hands?

The answer to that looks like this:

It took us a while to get to this solution. First we read while they were in their cribs, but showing the book around the room was awkward and no one got snuggles. Then we tried reading while they had their bedtime snack, but again, no snuggling. Then we sat on the floor of their room, which was far from comfortable.

Finally, we hit upon this. Piling on Mom and Dad's bed for bedtime stories works for us. There's plenty of room for everyone and it's comfortable for the big people. And since bedtime is the only time we really ever allow the boys in our room, it's a special time every night.

Like everything in thias crazy life with multiples (or even just life with multiple kids), it just takes a little creativity and flexibility to find a solution.

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learning To Go With The Flow

I have realized that a little flexibility and acceptance go a long way toward making life around here easier on all of us.

I'm not talking about giving in to fits or demands from the children. I'm talking about letting things be what they are and not worrying about the way they are "supposed" to be.

In particular, I'm talking about bedtime.

You see, bedtime in our house is not a calm, peaceful time that eases the children gently into their beds and off to dreamland. Bedtime at our house, like most other times of day, is full of playing, laughing, and NOISE!

Recently we had friends watch the kids for us and I warned them that bedtime was not a quiet affair. In fact, it's more akin to a riot than anything else.

On bath nights there's splashing in the tub. Other nights there's nakey time, which generally involves the children chasing each other up and down the hallway, screaming. OK, it often involves me and Jeff chasing them up and down the hallway while they scream, too. Still other nights we dance in the kitchen or have a ticklefest in the family room. In short, it's playtime, and it's a ton of fun.

We downshift a little for a bedtime snack and books, though inevitably, the kids jump around during the stories. Then it's off to bed with a book for the boys. We rock each child while the others wait in the cribs, quietly looking at their books. HA! Usually they are jumping up and down, playing "Lasso!" with their little blankies or entertaining each other with some other crazy antics.

After rockabyes, it's lights out time. We generally have about 30 minutes of talking, laughing, meowing, shouting, giggling, storytelling, chatting and more out of the gang in the nursery before they start to settle down and go to sleep.

Once the boys are in their beds, Amelia gets a little time with Mom and Dad to herself. Bedtime is a little calmer with her than with the boys. (It's a crowd control issue.) Again, after books and prayers, it's into bed with a few snuggles and a quick story or two from us.

The happy chaos before bedtime doesn't really bother me. I let go of the idea of the peaceful, gentle bedtime long ago. The kids all fall asleep on their own and generally sleep pretty well these days, so our crazy routine seems to be working for us.

But, I have been banging my head against the wall with the idea that the boys should be in bed at 7:30 p.m. and Amelia by 8.

It just doesn't work for us.

Jeff often gets home at 6, so if I try to force the 7:30 bedtime, he hardly gets in the door and we have to start doing pajamas and the rest of the bedtime chores. He gets almost no time with the boys. We get almost no time as a family.

I finally realized that since the boys don't have to get up in the morning and aren't crabby and ready for bed at 7:30, a half hour doesn't make that much difference. Having a little more time to play also helps give Amelia time with her brothers, as well as with Mom and Dad.

Accepting an 8 p.m. bedtime has made my evenings much more pleasant. And you know the saying, "Happy Mommy, happy family."

Just one more thing my kids are teaching me: Let go and relax. Everything really will be all right.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sure Sign of Spring

We had a little taste of spring, then some light flurries, then warm weather and horrible winds, and now we're back to cold and rainy and trapped inside again.

But we sure took advantage of the first nice days of spring!

"Flying" is the boys' favorite way to play on the swings these days. They usually sing some version of "London Bridge is Falling Down" or just "Falling down! Falling down!" You can hear a little of it in the video.

Can't wait until we can get back outside and "fly" again.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

OK, Maybe We Did Start The Fire

Whew! I didn't mean to keep you in suspense about our fire for nearly two days, but sometimes (OK, most of the time) things are a little crazy around here.

So about that fire...

Usually my stove looks like this:

See? No knobs at all. That's because the knob locks make it easy for little hands to pull the knobs completely off the stove. Ever since the day Jeff had to bring home pizza for supper after I spent more than an hour hunting unsuccessfully for a stove knob, I just keep the knobs in a drawer.

But the night before the fire, I made supper for the adults after the kids were in bed. I left a knob, in its lock, on the stove. 

It was a typical morning around here. I had gotten the newspaper and was standing at the stove, which is on a peninsula overlooking our kitchen table. I was reading the newspaper and chatting with the boys while they ate their breakfast.

Then I made the mistake of being human and having to pee.

I left the newspaper on the stove, and went to the half bath less than 10 feet away.

I heard the boys running around the kitchen jabbering. Then I heard them say, "Fire! Fire!"

I didn't think much about it. We're in a big imagination phase around here, and the boys are always talking about monsters, volcanos, flying robots and the like. And no one was screaming or sounded panicked.

Then I thought I smelled smoke. Honestly, I was sure I was imagining it, but I opened the door of the bathroom to check. I saw two-foot high flames on the stove. The burner was red hot and my newspaper was on fire.

I almost killed myself trying to get off the toilet and extricate myself from my pants.

Then I raced, bare-bottomed, to the cabinet with the fire extinguisher while yelling at the boys to move back and sit down.

Unfortunately, like every cabinet in my house, the cabinet with the kitchen fire extinguisher is locked. Those magnetic Tot Locks really work! I nearly tore the door off the hinges before I spied the kitchen tongs. I grabbed the tongs, picked up the flaming paper and threw it into the kitchen sink where I doused the fire with water.

News flambe, anyone?

The I turned around and said to my three very wide-eyed boys, "That is why we never EVER touch the stove."
The boys were all quick to tell me what happened. As it turns out, Alex can now open the stove knob locks. He happily demonstrated his new skill and told me, "I make fire, Mommy!"

That's great honey, but this isn't the Boy Scouts. We don't give badges for that.

Alex had a small blister on one of his fingers, so we headed to the hall bathroom for a stern lecture and a Band-Aid. As I was tending to his injury I suddenly heard sirens.

I panicked, thinking one of my neighbors had seen smoke and called the fire department, and I was about to greet them sans pants.

I scrambled out of the bathroom in a desperate bid to retrieve my pants before the firefighters arrived only to find Isaac and Sam playing with their very realistic-sounding toy ambulance and police car.

Since there was no harm to property or children, this story is one we can chuckle about, but I am very,very aware how lucky we were that no one was hurt. Though I may be traumatized for life. I even put all the boys in their cribs later that day when I had to use the bathroom again.
Alex, Sam and Isaac
I told Jeff later that the whole thing never would have happened if I were a man.

Because if I were a man, I would have taken the newspaper to the bathroom with me.

© Trippin' Mama 2011