Monday, November 28, 2011

Liquid Nails To The Rescue

Today I had to get out the Liquid Nails to reattach the front of the false drawer in the top of the vanity in the kids' bathroom.

Now I've complained more than once about the damage my boys can do and have done, but this came courtesy of sweet Amelia.

I was on the phone, of course, and she came out of the bathroom and handed me the drawer front.

"Here," she said, matter-of-factly. "I forgot this wasn't a real drawer."

Then she turned around and walked away while I stood there dumbfounded. Really? You forgot it wasn't a drawer? And you pulled hard enough to break it?


I may be an expert handyperson by the time I get these kids raised!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today marks the beginning of Advent. It is a time of preparation for a celebration of the greatest Gift of all. This morning in his sermon, our priest reflected on the Advent hymn, "My Soul in Stillness Waits."

The song begins: "For you oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits. Truly, my hope is in you."

His comment was, "Really? In stillness? Is there any stillness in this season anymore?"

He presented a good question. How can we prepare ourselves for the true meaning of Christmas if there is no stillness? And how do we find that stillness?

So today, we started Advent here at home, and we will try to give the season its due instead of rushing toward Christmas.

I set out the Advent wreath and we read a prayer and lit the candles. We brought out the small manger and the pile of hay so the kids each can put one piece of hay a day in the manger to make a nice bed for the Baby Jesus.

Later I brought out their Christmas stockings and we talked about how Christmas was coming, but we had to get ready for the Baby Jesus. And yes, Santa came up, but that's OK, he's part of our Christmas celebration. My kids all know that we celebrate Jesus' birthday on Christmas, and Santa brings us gifts to help celebrate Jesus' birth.

The kids' soft nativity is out, and they are busy playing with it. I despair of ever being able to find all the pieces come Christmas, but that's OK, too. That's just how a house full of busy little people explores and understands this wondrous season.

Finally, we started our Advent tradition of unwrapping and reading a special Christmas book. Every year I wrap up all of our Christmas books, some of which are about Jesus and some of which are about Santa Claus and gingerbread houses. I save "Twas the Night Before Christmas" for Christmas Eve, marking it by wrapping it in special paper.

Every night of Advent the kids take turns choosing a book to unwrap, and we read it together. I have about 20 books now, and I will fill in the gaps by borrowing a few from the library. I just have to make sure we open those first in case they need to go back! (Note to self: Wrap ALL library books in the same kind of paper.) Tonight's book was "Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale" by Martin Waddell.

We'll get to the cookies and the tree and all the other pieces of Christmas eventually, but for now, we're trying to find a little stillness in which to prepare ourselves.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Too Many Cooks? No Way!

The kids told me they wanted to help make Thanksgiving dinner, so I let them. And we completely disproved the old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth.

First we stirred...
Sam, Isaac and Amelia help Mama stir the stuffing.

Then we mashed...
Alex concentrates on his task, with tongue out!

and tasted...

...and our meal got rave reviews all the way around!
 Sam gives Mama a high five!

Even our "owl" (as Alex kept calling the turkey) was a big hit. 
© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011


As we gathered around the table to enjoy the feast we ALL helped prepare, I asked everyone what they were grateful for.

Amelia: Our food and drink.

Isaac: Silverware

Sam: Stuffing

Alex: Mashed potatoes

Mom & Dad: Each of our children and each other.

It was a great day, and a far cry from last year's pukefest that eventually took all of us down. And, I even remembered to put sugar in the pie this time!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

It's the night before my favorite holiday of all time. My rolls are baked, my last pie just came out of the oven, and my squash is ready to be dressed up a bit before it's warmed up again.

My kids are excited to help tomorrow. Sam wants to make the stuffing, Amelia and Alex are all about the mashed potatoes, and Isaac just wants to help! I've tried to do enough prep work so we can all work together tomorrow, which I know will take more time than doing it myself. (I also know that it will be a lot more fun, at least until someone dumps 10 pounds of mashed potatoes on the floor.)

I want to enjoy Thanksgiving. I want to revel in my many, many blessings. I do NOT want to go shopping, and I resent the retailers who are trying to shove a consumeristic Christmas down our throats with ever earlier Black Friday hours -- now even infringing on Thanksgiving Day.

I love a bargain, but I don't love the idea that Thanksgiving is becoming another shopping day in the rush to get to Christmas.

So as you enjoy this Thanksgiving, I hope you are blessed with a chance to simply relax and give thanks for all you have, rather than rushing around to acquire more.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

He Chopped It!

Sweet, devilish Isaac.

As usual, he had trouble falling asleep the other night. As he often does, he got out and wandered into the living room where he usually finds his mommy and daddy. 

Only he didn't find us there. Jeff was in the shower. I was in the family room folding laundry and talking to Grandma Alice.

Instead, he found a pair of scissors.

Yep. You guessed it. He did a number on his hair.

Now, I must confess that I didn't actually notice his self-styled 'do until about noon the next day. Isaac was cursed with his mama's cowlicks and as I rarely brush the boys' hair it usually looks a little crazy.

(They are boys. I can get away without daily brushing, so I do! Something's gotta give around here.) 

Anyway, at first I thought Isaac had slept on his hair funny so the cowlicks were wilder than usual. Then I realized he had almost a bald spot on top of his head.

Since I had no idea he'd gotten his hands on a pair of scissors, I couldn't work out what had happened.

But it sure looked like a chop job.

So I asked Isaac if he had cut his hair. He said, "Yes."

I couldn't figure out when it had happened or how. When I let the boys have scissors I watch them like a hawk. If I didn't I would inevitably find curtains in tatters or a piece of furniture shredded beyond recognition.

Then suddenly I realized that he was in our kid-free zone unsupervised.

Aha! He fessed up that it happened in the front room the night before.

I fixed it up a bit today by cutting the front super short all the way across. I can't do much about the bald spot, but in two weeks it will be grown out enough to fix without a total buzz cut. I just couldn't bring myself to do that.

Against all odds this happened after our photo shoot and long enough before Christmas that it won't be obvious in any of those pictures either.

I followed the Mom Code and lectured him about how scissors are only for paper as I tried to fix the damage. When I was done he said, "THOSE scissors are for hair."

Then I had to start all over again by explaining that only Mommy and Miss Brooke use scissors on hair.

I think he got it. But just to be safe I moved my haircutting scissors to the top shelf of the linen closet.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Drowning In Kids' Stuff!

Is there a person out there with kids who doesn't have major organizational issues? I'm talking about managing the stuff, not the matter of trying to retain enough sanity to keep everything straight in my head. (That's a whole separate issue, and much harder to deal with!)
The outdoor toys have pushed Jeff's car out of the garage. Our closets and basement storage are stacked with bins of clothes that are outgrown and waiting to be sold or that don't fit yet, but will. And don't even get me started on the toys. I swear those things multiply, but only the crappy plastic ones.

The first solution to this problem is to watch what comes into the house. Check.

Next, purge ruthlessly. Check.

Still too much stuff? (i.e. a car that won't fit in the garage thanks to four bikes, a Coupe Car, a Choo-Choo wagon, a triplet stroller, a trike, two scooters and a bin full of balls, bats and Frisbees.) Check, check and check!

So, we had this built:

I'd call it a mini-barn, but it's pretty darn big. The kids call it The Barn, and they were so excited when it was being built. The minute it was done they took it over. I don't think they were too happy when they realized it wasn't a playhouse. 

As we watched them play, we briefly considered installing a few bunks and letting them have it.

Tempting as that was, we decided to keep them in the house and move our things out to The Barn. So I've spent a lot of the last week purging, repacking and moving things out of the house. Any day now I'll be able to create a craft area in the basement and Jeff will be able to put his car in the garage.

And that, my friends, will be a major victory.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Writer's Workshop: An Asymmetrical Fashion Statement

It was 1989, my junior prom. I was on the planning committee and our theme was "When I'm with You." I found myself a date, and that just left the dress.

Oh, the dress!

A LOT of planning went into that dress. My mom, who is a real seamstress, sewed it for me, and that meant it was sewn to order. I liked this skirt, those sleeves, that accent. She put them all together and it was awesome.

It was green satin, with green and black plaid satin accents. The skirt was asymmetrical, longer in back than in front, and we (by "we" I mean, my mom) lined it with the plaid fabric. What can I say? It was the late eighties. We were taking our fashion cues from the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna in her early days!

The off-the shoulder sleeves were plaid with bows, and a plaid bow also accented the drop waist. I wore it with fingerless black lace gloves. (Thank you Madonna for that small bit of atrociousness.)
My mom even made my date a bow tie and cummerbund to match. We were stylin'!

That dress was fun, it was original, and I loved wearing it. And because I love all of you so much, I'm sharing the official prom photo:

That guy next to me? Well I've been married to him for more than 17 years now. Honey, I sincerely apologize for sharing this photo. But wow, don't we look young!

In fact, Amelia just came by as I was typing this. She examined the photo carefully before deciding with was Mom and Dad. Then she told me that I was really little in that picture. "And not so skinny now." Um, ouch.

Then she added, "What's up with Dad's hair? I guess he had more than he has now." Um, ouch again.

Thank you for your brutal honesty, Amelia. Now go clean your room while mama revisits the eighties for a while.
This post inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.
Mama’s Losin’ It

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Could Be A Holiday Annoyance

We had our family pictures taken the end of October. Not because I planned ahead, but because I got an email from a photographer who had taken our pictures before offering a deal for a photo shoot the end of October.

I got my photo CD the other day, and about that time I got a 40 percent off coupon for Christmas cards from Shutterfly. I love a bargain, so I hopped online, plunked a few photos in a card template, got the thumbs up from the hubs and ordered our cards. Again, this wasn't good planning on my part, more sheer dumb luck.

Today I got an email saying the cards will be here tomorrow, and it occurred to me that I could be one of those annoying people whose Christmas cards arrive in the mail the day after Thanksgiving.

I probably won't be, given the whole letter-writing, addressing and stamping tasks that would require in the next few days, but for the record, I could!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh, How Far We've Come!

Friday night I went to help a fellow triplet mom whose little ones are almost six months old. Another triplet mom and I helped with bathtime, the evening bottle and tucking them into their cribs.

I couldn't help but marvel at how far we've come. And at how much easier it seemed to deal with six-month-olds who didn't talk back, stomp their feet or scream about not wanting to go to bed.

Of course, I've slept a full night or two since our boys were six months old. When they were that little, sleep was still at a premium, so it certainly didn't seem easy at the time! Now it seems easier than the rambunctious chaos that reigns around here these days.
Here's my gang at 6 months old. Isaac, Sam and Alex.

The mama of the little ones is doing a great job. She just hasn't had a decent night's sleep or a chance to sit down in six months, and she was going a little crazy. We welcomed her to the club.

I do remember that one of the hardest things about the first year was that things changed so fast I could hardly keep up. Just when I thought I had things figured out, something changed. Time to move to a four-hour feeding schedule, time to start feeding solids, teething, crawling, WALKING!

These days the changes are fewer and further between. Still, I can hardly keep up with them -- the storm of questions, the testing of boundaries, the sheer physical energy.

I guess some things about this mom of multiples gig never change!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Challenge

"Your example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."

                               ~ Albert Schweitzer

Tonight I went to a philanthropy dinner in my role as board vice president for a non-profit. One of the speakers used this quote.

It is a challenge and a yardstick for all of us.

Especially as parents.

I often fail to be the example I would like to be for my children. Yes, I'm human and I will make mistakes, but I need to be much more cognizant that what I do influences my children.

I will be carrying this quote around with me for a while to remind me of that.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The House of Mouse (Again!)

If you've been reading for any length of time, you know I've had more than one run-in with rodents. There was the dust-bunny mouse, the "welcome to your cabin" mouse (a story I still need to tell), and last year's dead squirrel in the leaf pile. Oh, and the bat we caught in our first house. I need to share that story too, since I know you only come here for my epic battles with rodentia.

So yesterday when I found mouse poop in the basement, I immediately got the heebie jeebies. Jeff baited the traps and this morning I ventured down to throw some laundry in, prepared to see a mouse dead in one of the two traps.

Instead, both traps were missing.

Um...what the?

I texted Jeff: "Where did you set the mouse traps?"

He responded: "In the usual places."

I texted back: "They are both missing. Have I mentioned recently how glad I am that you're the boy?"

Hunting for a mouse half dead in a trap it has dragged into a corner is DEFINITELY a boy job.

When Jeff got home he informed me it wasn't a job he was too thrilled about either. I informed him that I gave birth to four children--girl job. Half dead mouse--boy job. That's tough to argue with.

He looked around a bit and found one empty trap. Then he came upstairs with the news that when he shined his flashlight between the boxes under the stairs he could hear the mouse rattling a trap.

"I birthed your children," I responded.

Then I started to wonder just how big this bleeping mouse was to get caught in the trap, drag it all the way under the stairs and still be alive?

Jeff took care of the bugger, and he was apparently pretty big, since he had his HEAD caught in the trap (and not a humane trap, sorry folks) and it didn't kill him.

More heebie jeebies.

We caught a second, smaller mouse tonight, and Jeff will be outside with the caulk tomorrow.

Here's hoping I won't have to play the birth card too many more times.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Blizzard of Toddlers

5:30 a.m. and three small boys are awake. I hate daylight savings time.

Misguided solution: Bring them to my bed.

If one toddler in the bed looks like this (so true!):

Photo credit: Pinterest

Then three toddlers in the bed is a blizzard of epic proportions.

I haven't been that uncomfortable since I was 36 weeks pregnant with triplets and had to walk around the bed and shove my hubby over if I wanted to lay on my other side.

A short night made for a long day. Long, as in at 11 a.m. I offered my children the option of an early nap or an early death. They wisely chose the former.

Here's hoping there are no little people in my bed before 7 a.m. tomorrow.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Traditions Will You Create?

This is the time of year when life suddenly seems to go on fast forward, doesn't it? I always feel like there's not enough time in the day, and with the Christmas ads already out and even some Christmas music in the air, it's hard not to feel the crunch.

But just like last year, I'm pledging to not let it all take me over. I want to keep things simple and enjoy the holidays with my family, starting with Thanksgiving.

Earlier this year Jeff and I went to a marriage retreat at our church. One of the lessons I took away was to be deliberate in creating memories and traditions with your family. The speaker's point was that most of what we do, we do without thinking. He encouraged us to be deliberate, to think about what was important to us as individuals, as a couple and as a family. Then choose to create traditions that reflect that.

This week we will be packing a couple bags with groceries for our church's Thanksgiving food drive. It's important to us to help others, and to teach our kids to be grateful for what they have. At five, Amelia already understands that not everyone has enough to eat, and she enjoys taking things to the food pantry to help others.

We are already talking about everyone helping make Thanksgiving dinner. The kids can't wait to help mash the potatoes. I know it would be easier for me to mash the potatoes myself, but I love the idea of everyone working together to make the feast. It's a little bit the idea that the journey is half the fun.

I also want to do a thankful tree or turkey craft where we write or draw what we are thankful for on the leaves or the feathers. I once read an article about the importance of teaching our children gratitude. It helps them be more compassionate and less self-absorbed. Those are great lessons in my book!

How about you? What traditions will you create this year? Share your ideas so we can all be inspired!

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

An Early Birthday Distraction

I got my birthday present a little early this year, and it is proving to be a distraction. Instead of blogging, I've got my head in the manual and my fingers on the buttons of this little beauty:


Oh, yes. I've upgraded to digital SLR, and I am loving it!

The gift was early because there was a good sale and because my birthday falls the week after Christmas. It would be a great gift anytime, but poor timing to open a new camera after all of the holiday pictures have been taken.

I figure I've taken more than 10,000 photos with my little Canon Elph point and shoot. It's a great little camera, but frankly, I've pretty much worn it out.
My goal now is to really learn the ins and outs of this camera so I can use it fully, and maybe even take a photography class or two in the coming year. It would be a great excuse to leave the house once in a while. And if I'm going to take 10,000 photos in three years, they should be the best I can take, right?

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Whiplash

It was the morning after Halloween.

Sam snuggled up on my lap before breakfast.

The sugar high hadn't even worn off yet, and I was still tired. Though we didn't know it, a whole day of fits and struggles thanks to too much sugar and not enough sleep lay ahead of us.

Sam looked up at me with a gleam in his eye.

"Mama," he said, "Now it's almost Christmas!"

Lord, help me.

At least he waited until Halloween was actually over before he moved on to Christmas, unlike the retailers.

© Trippin' Mama 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween Redux

We started the evening with four pirates.

Alex, Isaac, Sam and Amelia ~ Halloween 2011

But we wound up with three pirates and a "pirate princess."

Amelia, Isaac and some neighborhood kids

That girl's like Madonna -- lots of costume changes. The same thing happened last year.
The theme of the night was "Open this." I am amazed that no one puked before the evening was over. They all ate so much junk!

Bedtime was a little rough, and today was no treat either. Seems that not all the monsters come out on Halloween. Not all of them are pint-sized either!

Here are some of the fun decorations we made for Halloween. The ideas all came from Pinterest.

There were paper plate ghosts:

Milk jug ghosts that we used to line our walkway. I put battery-operated tea lights in them.

And my favorite, these footprint ghosts:

Here's a close up. So cute!

Halloween was fun, but I'm glad it's over!

© Trippin' Mama 2011