Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Big Boy Beds = Crazy Town

Amelia never got out of her bed. Not her crib, and certainly not her "big girl bed."

The boys, on the other hand, will get out and bang their bedroom door closed. They will shove the beds around the room in a modified version of bumper cars. They will push the beds together and then leap over the bed rails from one to the other. They will visit a nearby bed to poke a sleeping or nearly-sleeping brother in the face.

And the whole time they scream and giggle wildly like a pack of mad apes.

It's yet another way that Amelia did not prepare us to parent these hooligans.

I honestly believe that the boys are ready for big boy beds. I also believe that the majority of the problems we are having come from the issue of multiple kids. If we take the boys individually, we have one who is a master staller, one who is an escapee, and one who is pretty complacent about bedtime. The last one in particular, I am sure would go down with no problems were it not for the other two.

Even our staller and our escapee would be more easily dealt with were it not for the rest of the tribe. 

I used to look forward to bedtime. Now? Not so much. We're on Day 10 of the transition, and at times I think we're making progress. Then we have a night like tonight and I'm pretty convinced they will never learn to lay quietly in their beds and go to sleep.

Oh I know they will, some day. The question is: Will they learn before their mother gets carted off to the loony bin or after?

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Love A Parade

Aunt Judy and her friend Scott came to visit this weekend. Since we were man-to-man on the kiddos, we decided to brave the crowds and take everyone to the parade this weekend.

They loved it.

Well, the first hour of it anyway. Then they were done. Fortunately, we had lots of snacks to keep them satisfied for the last of it. Food is the great pacifier around here!

Left to right: Aunt Judy, Alex, Amelia, Sam and Isaac

The Jamba Juice smoothies were the biggest hit of all.

Clockwise from left: Sam, Alex, Isaac

I'm finally convinced to spring for a blender and start making smoothies for breakfast. Anything to get some fruits (and maybe a sneaky veggie or two) into my kiddos. I insist they try their fruits and veggies at every meal, but being the Plate Police sure gets old. If you've got any great smoothies ideas or recipes, send them my way!

I'll try to get back to some regular posting this week, but the big boy beds are really cramping my blogging style these days. I have to police both the nap and bedtime, which has virtually eliminated all of my blogging time.

I'll share more details about the transition to big boy beds soon, so you can commiserate with me. Suffice it to say, if you are frustrated with getting your kids to stay in bed you are not alone. And you are not the first mom to think about using duct tape or a staple gun to solve the problem!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inside, Outside, Upside Downstairs

Does this time of year wreak havoc with anyone else's life?

I love being outside, but what with the yard and garden and weeds and all there's twice as much work to do! Since I've got so many helpers, you'd think the work would go faster, but you'd be wrong.

And then there's the increasingly neglected state of the inside of my house. Spending days at the park and out playing in the yard just doesn't lend itself to taking care of things inside, like laundry.

It's been a cool, rainy spring here, so we go outside every chance we get. We never know when our next nice day might be.

The rain has been great for the grass seed I sowed, and the garden has finally taken off now that we've had some warmer days and nights. The peas are flowering, and I even spotted a few pods tonight. The lettuce is about ready for a first harvest. I replanted my green beans and cucumbers. It was just too cold for them to take off when I planted them the first time. I haven't planted my tomatoes and peppers yet. It's just not been warm enough.

Last year I had a lot of trouble with deer and rabbits. This year the greatest threat is the two-year-olds. We picked radishes a few weeks ago and suddenly every plant in the garden was fair game for picking. Yikes! It was tough to explain that they should only pick what Mommy says they can pick.

On the other hand, my boys are also keeping the deer and rabbits away from the garden very nicely. I just empty the liquid contents of the little potty seat out around the garden every couple of nights. That takes care of the wild animals, and it's free!

Tonight I should be cleaning instead of blogging, but a serious storm has all of us downstairs, so I get to take a breather and blog instead. All the kiddos were asleep when we had to move them, and mercifully they stayed asleep, too! I hope that trend continues the rest of the night.

The boys are doing a little better settling down in their big boy beds as the novelty wears off. But tonight they discovered that they can hide under the bed, so we spent some significant time fishing them out and telling them that was a no-no at bedtime.

We did have to install bed rails after getting up four times the first night to put kids back in bed. Amelia never fell out, so I wasn't prepared for that problem! Isaac managed to fall out even after we added a bed rail. He pushed it out a bit when he rolled up against it and he's so dang skinny he managed to slip through the little crack. Then he fell off the end of the bed later that night.

We've got company coming this weekend, swimming lessons and Bible school starting soon, and more things to do than I can shake a stick at. So forgive me if I start to neglect the blog a bit. We've got memories to make around here, and when I have time I'll share them with all of you.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Things, They Are A-Changin'

She is officially five today.

They are spending their first night in big boy beds.

We are exhausted.

Enough said.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

From My Kitchen: Princess Tiara Cake & Summer Berry Medley

Tomorrow is Amelia's fifth birthday.

I can't believe that she's already five! Whoever said "The days are long but the years are short," was soooo right.

We had a birthday celebration today, complete with a homemade princess tiara cake. I called on my 4-H days and made a nifty cut-up cake. Here's how you do it.

First, you need a princess to help you make a 9x13 sheet cake.


Add a couple of eggs...


Here's the big tip on cut-up cakes: You MUST grease and flour your pan. Even though the box recipe says to grease the bottom only, I sprayed my whole pan with Pam for baking and the cake came out easy-peasy.

The cake won't raise as high if you grease the sides of the pan, since the batter can't cling to the sides as it bakes. That's actually a good thing here. Your cake will still be delicious, but it will be a little flatter and slightly more dense, which makes it easier to work with. Most importantly, it will pop right out of the pan.

Cool the cake completely, flip onto a cutting board and use a paper template to cut out your princess tiara.

I spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake while it was on my cutting board, let it dry a bit, and then carefully transferred it to my serving platter. Before I moved the cake, I covered my serving platter with strips of parchment paper so my platter would stay clean. Once I frosted the cake, I carefully pulled the parchment paper strips out and took the mess with it. Voila!

It wasn't a fancy cake with fondant and cake decorator touches, but I was proud of how it turned out. I used a small biscuit cutter to make the round "jewels." At Amelia's request, we frosted a couple blue for the boys who were going to be at the party.

In the interest of full disclosure, this was my second attempt. The first attempt crumbled as I tried to cut it and had to be declared a cake-tastrophe.

Which brings me to my second recipe. I hated to waste a whole 9x13 sheet cake, even though it was a sorry mess. So, I tore it into bite-sized pieces and served it with this yummy Summer Berry Medley and lightly sweetened real whipped cream. It was the perfect dessert for the grown-ups to enjoy while the kids ate birthday cake.

The original recipe, which calls for limoncello liqueur and fresh mint (and is amazing!), comes from Cooking Light via my friend Heather. I didn't have mint on hand, and left out the liqueur in deference to the kids, though none of them ate it anyway. You can make this with any combination of berries.

Here's the variation I made today.

Summer Berry Medley
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
2 cups hulled fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar (start with half and adjust according to taste)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
Juice of one lemon

Toss all ingredients gently and let stand for 15 minutes. Serve over cubed cake (yellow, white, angel food or pound cake would all be delicious) with slightly sweetened real whipped cream.

It's even more delicious if you happen to have a five-year-old princess around to eat it with you.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordful Wednesday: Meet Great Aunt Edna

It seems that Isaac is channeling someone's Great Aunt Edna.

The other day he picked up an old purse of mine, filled it up and started carrying it around.

When he started pulling things out I had to laugh.

Seems he's been klepping the silverware.

And that's not Great Aunt Edna's only secret either...

"Everyone needs a little nip now and then, dearie."

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nearly Defeated by Shapewear

Saturday morning I went to Pilates for an hour. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

Then I chased my kids around the park, enjoyed a picnic and went for a hike with them and Jeff. In the middle of the hike I realized that should it be necessary for me to carry my children out of the woods we were going to be in BIG trouble. I had all I could do to propel myself forward, let alone carry one (or more!) of the kids.

After our hike I bought flowers to plant and heaved two 50-pound bags of new sand for the sandbox onto my cart and then into the van.

Um. Ouch. On top of ouch.

Saturday evening Jeff and I went out on a date. (Yay!) I decided to wear a shapewear tank. It takes care of the little bulges that Pilates hasn't conquered yet, and I wanted to look nice.

Oh, the price of vanity!

The tank is quite comfortable, but I paid the price when I tried to take it off.

I could barely lift my arms over my head, let alone stretch the tank enough to get it over my shoulders and head and off my body. This, unfortunately, became apparent when I had the tank about halfway off. In other words, about the time it was wrapped around my head and had neatly pinned my arms overhead.

To pull the tank up or down required that I stretch it with my arms. My arms that had suffered through a few too many similar stretch and pull motions in Pilates class early that morning.

Just about the time I thought I was going to have to cave and ask Jeff to extricate me from the results of my vanity, I managed to wiggle my way out. I may have possibly dislocated a shoulder in the process, but at least I didn't have to WAKE my husband and give him a story to tell for all eternity.

Who knew that working out and shapewear could be such a dangerous combination? Consider yourself warned. 

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ah, Summer!

Summer weather is here! It's been gorgeous all week. Finally some sunshine and warmth. It has been a long, long winter and a rainy, rainy spring around here.
We took full advantage, spending all week at the park or outside in the yard, and it's a good thing, because next week looks like it will be cool and rainy again.
As much as I am glad to leave the days of noses pressed against the window and pleas to go out and play in the rain (at 40 degrees), I now remember that summer has its challenges too.
First there's the fact that it's the season of shorts and sweat. Which means I can't hide hairy legs under jeans. (Oh come on, we all do it. Only showgirls and models shave regularly in winter.) And I have to figure out when to grab a shower without risking destruction of the whole house. I wish I were kidding about that, but I'm not.

Then there's the whole outside thing. I love to be outside. I love to work in the yard. I love to explore new parks and hike. Unfortunately, while we're outside having fun, the inside work is piling up. And we're making more of it, what with all the sand we drag in the house and all of the playing in the dirt.

What the heck. I'll take a dirty house and happy worn-out kids over a clean house full of crazy people who can't wait to go out any day!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Escapee Alert!

The escaping from the cribs has begun in earnest. Yesterday nap time was full of little footsteps running across the floor, the boys' bedroom door opening and closing and ultimately, I caught Isaac in Sam's crib--twice!

I finally had to sit in the boys' room and police the nap time so they'd stay in their cribs. Fortunately, they didn't repeat the hijinks at bedtime.

We've been pretty lucky that it's taken the boys this long to start climbing out of their cribs since they've been climbing since they were 11 months old. Isaac was the first to climb out of his crib, but he fell doing it and it scared him and Alex badly enough to keep them in place for quite a while. Alex made the next attempt, and he belly flopped to the floor. That only left Sam, and every time he'd try to climb out, Alex would sound the alarm by screaming at him, "Only Mommy and Daddy get us out!"

Sam climbed out last week when he was in time out, and now they've all figured out how to do it without getting hurt, so the glory days of trapping them in their cribs are pretty much over.

Since one of my mantras when it comes to parenting multiples is "Containment is key," this is tough news to take!

We've been talking about moving the boys to big kid beds, but there's a big difference between talking and doing.

Sure, it makes sense to move them and get them adjusted to big boy beds before we travel this summer. Just think, no pack and plays to lug along!

But actually moving the boys? Taking down the cribs and replacing them with beds that they can jump on, climb in and out of, and generally do anything but sleep in?


I figure that things are so bad right now when it comes to partying at nap time that we may as well make the change and just plan to police them for a while until they settle in. At least we'll minimize the risk of them getting hurt as they carry on with each other. I'm already playing nap police, and I can police big boy beds as well as cribs.

They'll have to move to big boy beds at sometime, so I'm relying on another of my mantras to get through this: "Be brave."

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

Not to brag, but I got the best Mother's Day present ever today.


Not jewelry. (Though Amelia helped choose a beautiful necklace for me.)

Not flowers. (Though I got a gorgeous yellow bouquet.)

Not cards. (Though I got some very sweet cards.)

Not breakfast in bed. (Though we had a yummy breakfast casserole for brunch.)

So what, you ask, could this best gift be?

Wait for it...wait for it...

Two of the boys pooped in the potty!!!

Color me so excited. Could this possibly be the beginning of the end of the very worst part of potty training? I certainly hope so.

I'll take that over breakfast in bed any day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmas, and special aunties and friends who help mother so many kids. I hope you all got to celebrate with the people you love.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Royal Recipe

Last Friday I wanted to post a special recipe in honor of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but I couldn't come up with anything.

True, we lived in England for more than a year, but I cooked, and I cooked American style. Also, I was a poor grad student so I didn't have the time or the inclination to try new recipes and cook like I do now.

So, in lieu of a recipe, a story from those long-ago days:

I remember one of the first meals I made after we moved to Canterbury. I was no novice cook, thanks to my mom and my time in 4-H, and I am relatively sharp, but I was baffled that the oven only went to 260 degrees. I figured everything would just take longer so I cranked it up, put my meal in and walked away.

About 20 minutes later it hit me: The English use the Celsius scale. I was cooking at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.


In my defense the oven was oddly small and the kitchen (which we shared with another couple) also had a dorm-sized refrigerator. So I think it was an understandable mistake.

I realized my error in time to rescue the meal, and Jeff and I had a good laugh about it.

I learned all the foibles of that little gas oven and the art of getting half a dozen meals out of a five-pound chicken while I was getting my Master's degree.

Luckily for our appetites, I also learned how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Struggling to Just Be

Recently I got a call from a head hunter who wanted to talk with me about a job opportunity. I was outside in the yard watching the boys play when my cell rang. I didn't hesitate at all before I told her that now was not the time for me to be going back to work, especially as a senior-level executive.

I haven't had any doubts since, either.

And yet, sometimes I struggle so much with this job of parenting. I struggle to just be with my kids all day. Not physically, but mentally. I am here, but not here. I find myself mentally checking out, counting down to nap time so I can do some other things, yearning for time to do something creative or challenging. All the while I'm missing out on what's right in front of me. I know that, which is why it is such a struggle.

My patience wears thin as my kids act up, although I know that they are acting up to get my attention, to bring me back to the here and now to be with them, instead of rolling through my to-do list in my head.

I know some day I will look back and regret the times when I was here and yet missed out because my head was elsewhere.

Seems the work-life balance issues still exist, even for a stay-at-home mommy. So, I'll continue to fight the good fight on this one and try to do my best to just be with my kids every day.

One thing I do know: My head may be elsewhere from time to time, but never my heart.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Did You "Bote"?

It was Primary Election Day today. Did you "bote"?

I took the boys with me to the polls. We sure livened up the day for the poll workers!

Because the boys have been so good lately and such big boys about holding hands, we walked in together. (Note: I hold two boys' hands in one of mine and one in the other. I can't yet trust them not to drop each other's hands and bolt.)

Now no stroller is still a risk for us. If more than one boy melts down or someone takes off on me or they start to get destructive, I have no lockdown and no way to make a speedy escape. And let's face it, part of successfully parenting multiples is containment, and there are times when a quick getaway is critical.

I figured we'd be able to handle it because I knew there would be no line and "I voted" stickers.

As it turned out, one of the poll workers was a twin herself and one had twins who are 26, so we had a very understanding crowd. The boys got stickers and lollipops and far too much attention. I cast my ballot and gave us all a little pat on the back for conquering yet another milestone in the journey from triplet insanity to normalcy. 

Sometimes the little things are the big things.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Green Beans?

I shared before that the Easter Bunny brought "green beans" to our house. Here's the video of the boys with their "green beans."

This past week was a bit crazy, but things are settling down so I should be back to a more regular posting schedule this week.

© Trippin' Mama 2011